Justin Tarr was a popular actor in the 1960s, best known for his role as Pvt. Tully Pettigrew on the action-adventure series The Rat Patrol. He also appeared in movies such as Bullitt and Massacre Harbor. But his life was cut short in 2012, when he died at the age of 72 in Hawaii. What was the cause of his death? And what happened to his career and personal life after The Rat Patrol? Here are some facts you may not know about Justin Tarr.
A Jeep Accident on Set Led to a Heart Attack 16 Years Later
One of the most shocking facts about Justin Tarr’s death is that it was linked to an accident that happened on the set of The Rat Patrol in 1967. According to H&I, Tarr was involved in a frightening incident with fellow cast members Justin Tarr and Gary Raymond. Their Jeep rolled over while making a sharp turn in a dry lakebed. Tarr suffered tissue tears, neck injuries and damage elsewhere, including his heart. When he suddenly died of a heart attack in 1983, it was believed to have been a result of chest injuries sustained years earlier filming the war series.
He Was Born as Howard Kenneth Barnes
Justin Tarr was not his real name. He was born as Howard Kenneth Barnes on April 14, 1940 in Amarillo, Texas, USA. He changed his name to Justin Tarr when he started his acting career, presumably to sound more appealing and memorable. He also had a nickname, “Tully”, which was also the name of his character on The Rat Patrol.
He Was a Hairdresser Before Becoming an Actor
Before he became famous for his acting skills, Justin Tarr had a different profession. He was a hairdresser in Colorado Springs. He even cut the hair of his co-stars on The Rat Patrol, such as George Peppard, Raymond Burr and Hans Gudegast (who later changed his name to Eric Braeden). Tarr also had a talent for singing and playing guitar.
He Had Four Children and Eight Grandchildren
Justin Tarr was married twice in his life. His first wife was actress Joan Blackman, whom he married in 1961 and divorced in 1967. They had one son together, John D.A. Barnes. His second wife was actress Barbara Luna, whom he married in 1970 and divorced in 1972. They had no children together. Tarr also had two daughters from other relationships, Teira A. and Hera J. He had a long-term companion, Colleen Sugerman, who survived him along with his four children and eight grandchildren.
He Retired from Acting in the Early 1970s
Justin Tarr’s acting career peaked in the late 1960s, when he starred in The Rat Patrol and several movies. However, he did not pursue acting much after that. His last credited role was in a TV movie called The Last Day in 1975. He retired from acting and moved to Hawaii, where he lived until his death. According to IMDb, he also worked as a real estate agent and a tour guide.