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Joe Lara, the star of TV’s Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, died Saturday with his wife and five others in the crash of a small jet near Nashville, authorities said. He was 58.
A Cessna C501 plunged into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna, Tennessee, after taking off from Smyrna Rutherford County Airport at about 11 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. Authorities did not release registration information for the plane, which was headed to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida.
Rutherford County rescue crews were at the scene of the crash late Saturday and planned to work through the night, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. Joshua Sanders said at a news conference. He indicated that there were no survivors.
“Our efforts have transitioned from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort. … We are no longer … looking for live victims at this point,” he said.
Among those on board with Lara was his wife, author and diet guru Gwen Lara, who founded the faith-based Weigh Down Workshop and, in 1999, the Remnant Fellowship Church. They married in 2018.
Born in San Diego on Oct. 2, 1962, William Joseph Lara started out as a model before he landed the lead in the 1989 CBS telefilm Tarzan in Manhattan, which found the King of the Jungle in New York trying to rescue his chimp, Cheetah.
He then played the Edgar Rice Burroughs character on the 1996-97 first-run syndicated series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, filmed in South Africa. He produced that series as well.
Lara also appeared in such action movies as Sunset Heat (1992), American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993), Final Equinox (1995) and Doomsdayer (2000) and series including Baywatch and Conan.
He played guitar and released an album, Joe Lara: The Cry of Freedom, in 2009.
Lara and his wife lived in Brentwood, Tennessee. Survivors also include his daughter, Liana.
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