About Joe Lara

William Joseph Lara was an American Actor best known in the role of Tarzan in the American TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures. In addition, he starred in over 20 film/movies, shot on location all over the world.

Early Years

Joe Lara was born in San Diego, California, and grew up in New Port Beach, California. He surfed, played sand volleyball and soccer, but later was voted as the most valuable player in high school as a wide receiver in Football. At the age of 19, he was approached by a modeling agency which influenced him turning down a number of college scouts from various California universities in order to pursue work as a professional print and runway model in Paris, Geneva, and Milan.

He then decided to go to L.A. to start scene study workshops to pursue an acting career. It was shortly after being cast in a Jordache Jeans campaign that Lara was given the opportunity to audition for the role of Tarzan in the CBS movie of the week, "Tarzan in Manhattan" in 1989. This appearance later lead to his being cast in the same role for the ensuing TV Series, "Tarzan: The Epic Adventures" from 1996-1997. Joe went on to star in and assist in the production of 22 episodes (working as the producer on many of these episodes) that were filmed on location in South Africa. In total, he has been a leading man in almost 20 Tarzan films and made another 20 additional lead roles in movies, in film and television through 2002, working on locations all over the world, including The United States, the Philippines, Bulgaria, Russia, Czech Republic, Africa, and Mexico.

In his personal life, he was a licensed falconer, licensed pilot flying since 16 years of age, an advanced open-water diver, surfer, an accomplished boxer, and a highly trained marksman. He has a deep passion and love for animals, specifically horses.

He lived outside of L.A. for years before moving to Tennessee in 2011. He was married in 2018 to Gwen Shamblin, national best-selling author and founder of Weigh Down, an international ministry, and resided in Brentwood, TN with his wife and his daughter, Liana, until his unexpected passing in May 2021.

Regardless of the various activities, adventures, hobbies, and works of Joe Lara, one constant in his life was music. Joe was in junior high when his Uncle Danny presented him with his first drum set. In ninth grade, Joe signed up for a guitar class, picked up his first guitar, and hasn’t put it down since. With a hectic international work schedule and long hours on sets and in hotel rooms, Joe’s constant companion was always his guitar. Joe played guitar, performed lead vocals, composed his own music and wrote his own songs. During his two decades of acting, many of his fans heard about his love of music and would ask to hear what he had composed. In early 2009, Joe Lara produced and released his first album, "Joe Lara: The Cry of Freedom." He also worked with A Soldier's Child Foundation that helps children who have lost their parents while serving in the military.



Professional work as a model, actor, producer, and country music artist.

For a more comprehensive list, please see Joe's Internet Movie Database page.