October 20, 2010 07:16:53 GMT
The actor, who played Boy in eight 'Tarzan' movies, died at 79 at his home in Chula Vista, California after suffering a heart attack following a fall from a ladder while he pruned a palm tree.
Johnny Sheffield, the actor who played Tarzan's son in the late 1930s and early 1940s, has died. He was 79. Sheffield portrayed swimming champion-turned-movie star Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan's orphaned child, Boy, in films like "Tarzan Finds A Son!" and "Tarzan & The Amazons".
He died at his home in Chula Vista, California on Friday, October 15 after suffering a heart attack, according to the Los Angeles Times. His wife Patty tells the publication he fell from a ladder while pruning a palm tree.
The son of British actor Reginald Sheffield was seven when he first auditioned as Boy and beat 300 other kids to land the role of Weissmuller's son, rescued from a jungle plane wreck in which his biological parents are killed. Sheffield had to take swimming lessons from Olympian Weissmuller after studio bosses learned the youngster couldn't swim.
He played Boy in eight "Tarzan" films between 1939 and 1947, and later starred in the "Bomba", the Jungle Boy film series. Sheffield went on to earn a business degree and worked in farming, construction and real estate.