Frank Merrill

Active - 1921 - 1946  |   Born - Mar 21, 1892   |   Died - Feb 12, 1966   |   Genres - Adventure, Drama

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

A national gymnastic champion from 1916-1918 and a stunt double for the first Tarzan, Elmo Lincoln, in The Adventures of Tarzan (1921), Frank Merrill later starred in his own right in the serial Perils of the Jungle (1927), an ersatz Tarzan adventure from low-budget Artclass. When strongman Joe Bonomo broke a leg, Merrill was cast as Tarzan himself in Universal's Tarzan the Mighty (1928) and Tarzan the Tiger (1929), both 15-chapter serials. Reportedly, it was Merrill who began the tradition of swinging through the jungle from vines. Sound ultimately destroyed Merrill's chances for longevity, but footage from his serials was recycled into The White Gorilla, a hodgepodge feature film dumped on the States Rights; market in 1946. Leaving films after his second Tarzan serial, Merrill later became Park Commissioner for the city of Los Angeles.