Frank Merrill (actor)
Otto Adolph Poll|
March 21, 1893
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
February 12, 1966 (aged 72)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
Frank Merrill (born Otto Adolph Poll; March 21, 1893 in Newark, New Jersey – February 12, 1966) was a Southern California and national title-winning gymnast (with over 58 titles to his credit), police officer, stuntman, and actor, most famous for being the fifth actor to portray Tarzan on film.
Merrill had doubled for the screen's first Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln, in the 1921 movie serial The Adventures of Tarzan, and was cast in the role himself in the 1928 movie serial Tarzan the Mighty. A year later, he starred in the movie serial Tarzan the Tiger, which, though shot as a silent feature, was partially dubbed into sound. Merrill was thus the first actor to voice Tarzan's "victory cry" on film.
With the coming of sound films, it was decided that Merrill's voice was unsuitable for the "talkies," and he was not asked back in the role. This suited Merrill fine, as he had so enjoyed meeting youngsters via his tenure as Tarzan that he devoted the rest of his life to working with children in the Los Angeles city administration, the Los Angeles Parks Commission, as a recreation director and as a volunteer gymnastics instructor with the YMCA.
- Essoe, Gabe, Tarzan of the Movies, 1968, Citadel Press
- Griffin, Scott Tracy, Tarzan on Film, 2016, Titan Books
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