Born Otto Elmo Linkenhelt, the barrel-chested actor is best known in his silent movie role as the first Tarzan in 1918's Tarzan of the Apes as an adult -- (Gordon Griffith played him as a child in the same movie). He portrayed the character twice more-in The Romance of Tarzan (also 1918) and in the 1921 serial The Adventures of Tarzan.
Following the end of the silent movie era, Elmo left Hollywood and tried his hand at mining. In the late 1930s, he returned to the film industry, most often employed as an extra. He appeared, uncredited, in two Tarzan films in the 1940s-as a circus roustabout in Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942), and as a fisherman repairing his net in Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949).
His final work saw him also playing a brief, uncredited role in Carrie, starring Laurence Olivier. According to Tarzan of the Movies, by Gabe Essoe, Lincoln was quite proud of his work in this film, as he was an admirer of Olivier.
Lincoln died of a heart attack in 1952, aged 63, and was interred in the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7042 Hollywood Boulevard.
In 2001, his daughter Marci'a Lincoln Rudolph told his story in her book, My Father, Elmo Lincoln: The Original Tarzan (ISBN 1-58690-000-5).