Tarzan big screen star Gordon Scott dies

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Actor Gordon Scott, who was best known for playing Tarzan in the 1950s, has died at the age of 80.

The star passed away following complications from heart surgery, according to a spokesman for St Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Scott, who was a lifeguard when he was spotted by a Hollywood producer, went on to make 24 films.

Actress Betty Thomas, who visited him before his death, said: "He opened one eye for a moment and gave me a wink."

Scott spent the last few years of his life living in a house belonging to Thomas and her husband, Roger.

"My husband has been a fan of his since he was a child. When we were in Hollywood about eight years ago, we looked him up. We invited him for a visit. He came and never left," she said.

Speaking to The Baltimore Sun, Danton Burroughs, grandson of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice, said: "He was an absolutely wonderful Tarzan, who played the character as an intelligent and nice man who carried himself well, much as my grandfather had originally written it."

During the 1954 production of his first film, Tarzan's Hidden Jungle, Scott fell in love with co-star Vera Miles.

The couple married that year but divorced four years later. After the Tarzan movies, he appeared in Westerns and gladiator films.