Lisa Weissmuller, Daughter Of Johnny,
Dies In Los Angeles At 66
by David Fury
Lisa Weissmuller-Gallagher, the adopted daughter of Tarzan actor Johnny
Weissmuller, died in Los Angeles on May 14, 2007. After breaking a hip
in December, her health declined while convalescing in a Los Angeles nursing
home. She is survived by her husband Ed Gallagher, son Richard Salb of
Los Angeles, daughter Lisa Maria Salb of New York, and step-sister Wendy
Weissmuller of California. She was preceded in death by her mother Maria,
who died in 2004, and step-brother John Weissmuller, Jr., who died in 2006.
Born in 1940 in Germany, her father, a pilot in the German military,
was killed in action before Lisa was one-year-old.
At the conclusion of World War II, Lisa came to the United States with
her mother Maria Bauman, who re-married. After graduating from high school,
Lisa did some acting in motion pictures, modeling, and also was a Las Vegas
In 1961, Lisa married Richard Salb, a prominent criminal judge, who
became the father of her two children. Lisa’s mother Maria Bauman met Johnny
Weissmuller around 1960, after both had several unsuccessful marriages.
They soon realized they were soulmates, and married in 1963. Johnny
also had a daughter Heidi, who was about the same age as Lisa. Heidi was
killed in an auto accident in 1962, and Lisa gradually became the daughter
that Johnny had lost.
Johnny loved Lisa like his own, and made it official in 1971. He legally
adopted her and gave her his name, and Johnny became the father Lisa had
never known. In a 1973 entry in his journal, Johnny noted how much he loved
Lisa and appreciated the visits of Lisa and her children.
After her divorce from Salb, Lisa married Ed Gallagher in 1970. They
lived in Las Vegas during the early years of their marriage, and for the
past 20 years the couple resided in Beverly Hills. Ed was employed at the
Beverly Hills Courier for many years until his recent retirement.
Lisa was a huge supporter of swimming in the United States, and in 2005
she was asked to present the medals at the National Championships that
were held in Irvine, California. One of her proudest moments was meeting
Michael Phelps, and presenting him with his gold medals. Phelps is the
greatest swimmer of this era, just as Johnny Weissmuller was the world’s
greatest swimmer of the 1920s.
Lisa loved to watch old movies, including the Tarzan pictures that starred
Johnny and Maureen O'Sullivan. Before her death, Lisa Weissmuller was planning
to publish a photo-biography of her father, who was the hero of 12 Tarzan
pictures based on the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. After breaking her
hip, she discovered she had talent as a water-color artist during her period
There was a private funeral service for Lisa Weissmuller-Gallagher in
Los Angeles, and, after cremation, she will be buried in the grave shared
by Johnny Weissmuller and his wife Maria in the Valley of the Light cemetery,