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Gordon Scott
Gordon Scott Hercules 1965
As Hercules for a 1965 ABC Television special
Gordon Merrill Werschkul

(1926-08-03)August 3, 1926
DiedApril 30, 2007(2007-04-30) (aged 80)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.[1]
Resting placeKensico Cemetery
Valhalla, New York
Years active1955–1967
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Janice Mae Wynkoop
(m. 1948; div. 1949)

(m. 1956; div. 1960)

Gordon Scott (born Gordon Merrill Werschkul; August 3, 1926[1] – April 30, 2007[1]) was an American film and television actor known for his portrayal of the fictional character Tarzan in five films (and one compilation of three made-as-a-pilot television episodes) of the Tarzan film series from 1955 to 1960. Gordon Scott was the eleventh Tarzan, starting with Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle (1955). He was "discovered" poolside, and offered "a seven-year contract, a loin cloth, and a new last name."[2]

Early life, education and military service

Scott was born Gordon Merrill Werschkul in Portland, Oregon, one of nine children of advertising man Stanley Werschkul and his wife Alice.[3] He was raised in Oregon and attended the University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon, for one semester.

Upon leaving school, he was drafted into the United States Army in 1944. He served as a drill sergeant and military policeman until he was honorably discharged in 1947. He then worked at a variety of jobs until 1953 when he was spotted by a talent agent while working as a lifeguard at the Sahara Hotel and Casino, located on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.


"Due in part to his muscular frame and 6-foot-3-inch [1.91-metre] height, he was quickly signed to replace Lex Barker as Tarzan"[4] by producer Sol Lesser. Lesser had Gordon change his name because "Werschkul" sounded too much like "Weismueller".[5]

Scott's Tarzan movies ranged from rather cheap re-edited television pilots to large-scale action films with high-production values shot on location in Africa. In his early Tarzan films, he played the character as unworldly and inarticulate, in the mold of Johnny Weissmuller, an earlier Tarzan portrayer. In Scott's later films, after a change in producers, he played a Tarzan who was educated and spoke perfect English, as in the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels.[6] Scott was the only actor to play Tarzan in both styles.[citation needed]

Fearing he would become typecast as Tarzan, Scott moved to Italy and became a popular star in epics of the péplum genre (known in the United States as sword-and-sandal), featuring handsome bodybuilders as various characters from Greek and Roman myth. Scott was a friend of Steve Reeves, and collaborated with him as Remus to Reeves's Romulus in Duel of the Titans (1961). Scott also played Hercules in a couple of international co-productions during the mid-1960s. As the péplum genre faded, Scott starred in Spaghetti Westerns and Eurospy films. His final film appearance was in The Tramplers (filmed in 1966; released in the United States in 1968).

Personal life

Scott was married two times. His first marriage was with Janice Mae Wynkoop of Oakland, California. They met when he was a lifeguard at Lake Temescal, located in Oakland, California. The couple married in Reno, Nevada, in 1948, and had one child, Karen Judith Werschkul (born August 26, 1948), before divorcing in 1949. He was married to actress Vera Miles, his Tarzan co-star, from 1956 to 1960. He had one son with Miles – Michael, born 1957 – and possibly several other children.[7][8]

For the last two decades of his life, Scott was a popular guest at film conventions and autograph shows.[7]

Gordon Scott with a fan in 1995
Gordon Scott with a fan in 1995


Scott died, aged 80, in Baltimore, Maryland of lingering complications from multiple heart surgeries earlier in the year.[9][8] He is buried in the Kensico Cemetery, located in Valhalla, New York.


Tarzan films

Year Title Roles Notes
1955 Tarzan's Hidden Jungle Tarzan Scott married co-star Vera Miles
1957 Tarzan and the Lost Safari Tarzan the first Tarzan film successfully shot and released in color
1958 Tarzan's Fight for Life Tarzan Scott's only Tarzan film to include the character Jane
1958 Tarzan and the Trappers Tarzan failed television pilot; not aired until 1966
1959 Tarzan's Greatest Adventure Tarzan Sean Connery co-starred as a villain
1960 Tarzan the Magnificent Tarzan Scott's successor in the Tarzan role, Jock Mahoney, played the villain

Other roles

Year Title Genre Role Notes
1961 Maciste contro il vampiro
(also known as Goliath and the Vampires)
peplum Maciste / Goliath
1961 Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World
(also known as Maciste alla corte del Gran Khan
sword and sandal Maciste / Samson
1961 Duel of the Titans
(also known as Romolo e Remo)
sword and sandal Remus
1962 Kerim, Son of the Sheik adventure film Kerim
1962 Gladiator of Rome
(also known as Il gladiatore di Roma)
adventure film Marcus
1962 A Queen for Caesar
(also known as Una regina per Cesare)
historical drama film Julius Caesar
1963 Zorro and the Three Musketeers swashbuckler Zorro
1963 The Shortest Day comedy Soldato Uncredited
1963 L'eroe di Babilonia
(also known as The Beast of Babylon Against the Son of Hercules)
adventure film Nippur
1963 Goliath and the Rebel Slave peplum Goliath / Gordian
1963 The Lion of St. Mark adventure film Manrico Venier
1963 Hercules Against Moloch
(also known as The Conquest of Mycene)
sword and sandal Glaucus ('Hercules')
1964 Coriolanus: Hero without a Country historical drama film Coriolanus
1964 Hero of Rome
(also known as Il colosso di Roma)
historical drama film Gaius Mucius Scaevola
1964 Karim ibn el sheikh
(also known as Karim, the Sheikh's Son)
1964 Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West
(also known as Buffalo Bill, l'eroe del far west)
Spaghetti Western Colonel William "Buffalo Bill" Cody
1965 Hercules and the Princess of Troy fantasy film Hercules television pilot
1965 The Tramplers
(also known as Gli uomini dal passo pesante)
Spaghetti Western Lon Cordeen
1967 Danger!! Death Ray spy film Bart Fargo
1967 Top Secret Eurospy film John Sutton (final film role)

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Gordon Scott". ERBzine. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  2. ^ Joi. "Tarzan Star Gordon Scott Dies". Archived from the original on 22 September 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  3. ^ 1930 U.S. Census, Concord, Oregon.
  4. ^ "gordon scott (1926-2007)". Brian's Drive-In Theater. July 18, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Gordon Scott". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Vagg, Stephen (17 November 2020). "John Guillermin: Action Man". Filmink.
  7. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (May 4, 2007). "Gordon Scott; Him Tarzan In '50s, Only Better". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ a b "Jungle Drums". Tarzan.CC.
  9. ^ Bergan, Ronald (8 June 2007). "Gordon Scott". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2015.

External links

Preceded by Tarzan
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 5 July 2022, at 21:38
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