year 1932 was ushered in with a scream, as MGM released the first sound
Tarzan movie, "Tarzan the Ape Man" with the now legendary Johnny Weissmuller.
Hollywood did not show a great deal of fidelity to Burroughs' original
story this time around, but the movie's success meant that the Tarzan books
were selling better than ever. But financial success was overshadowed by
the problems in Burroughs' personal life, as he and Emma divorced in 1934.
He married Florence Dearholt the following year and in 1940, with war raging
in Europe, the couple decided to head further west to Hawaii.
Even though he was entering
the last decade of his life Burroughs continued to be physically active,
and still wrote stories for the pulp magazines and his own company. Hulbert
Burroughs came out to Hawaii to visit his father in late 1941, and on the
morning of December 7th, as the two played tennis, the Japanese bombed
nearby Pearl Harbor. Thus began the last adventure of Edgar Rice Burroughs'
Edgar Rice Burroughs was
too old to see active service in World War II ~ he was 66 at the time of
the Pearl Harbor attack ~ but as an established writer he served the war
effort by becoming a war correspondent. He was the oldest war correspondent
to serve in the Pacific theater, flying from island to island (even bumping
into his son Hulbert, who was serving as a war photographer), reporting
on troop activities, even going out on bombing runs with the 7th Air Force.
Burroughs came through this period of life unscathed, although he would
send Tarzan out on a more danger-filled mission in Tarzan and the "Foreign
With the war's end Burroughs returned to California and settled into a
small home near Tarzana. He and Florence had divorced in 1942, so Ed devoted
his final years to his children. He died on March 19, 1950. His writings
and characters had entertained three generations of readers and moviegoers.
In the 1960s, thanks to a paperback boom, a new generation discovered the
writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs. And now, at the beginning of a new millennium,
another generation has rediscovered Burroughs through Disney's animated
The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
will endure as classic tales of adventure, romance and wonder. Tarzan remains
one of the best-known literary characters in the entire world. But there
is more to Burroughs than just Tarzan. Take a look around the rest of our
website ~ we're sure you'll discover some surprises here or there! If you
wish to learn more about Burroughs, the best source remains Irwin Porges'
1975 biography Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan.
While the book is out of print you can still find it in libraries and through
used book dealers.