Jane Porter (Tarzan)

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Jane Porter
Jane Porter.jpg
Early depiction by J. Allen St. John from
The Beasts of Tarzan (1st edition, 1916)
First appearance Tarzan of the Apes
Last appearance Tarzan's Quest
Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Aliases Jane Clayton, Lady Greystoke
Species Human
Gender Female
Spouse(s) Tarzan (husband)
Children Korak (son)
Relatives Prof. Archimedes Q. Porter (father)
Meriem (daughter-in-law)
Nationality American/English

Jane Porter (later Jane Clayton, Lady Greystoke) is a major character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Tarzan novels and in adaptations of the saga to other media, particularly film.

In the novels[edit]

Jane, an American from Baltimore, Maryland, is the daughter of professor Archimedes Q. Porter. She becomes the love interest and later the wife of Tarzan, and subsequently the mother of their son Korak. She develops over the course of the series from a conventional damsel in distress, who must be rescued from various perils, to an educated, competent and capable adventuress in her own right, fully capable of defending herself and surviving on her own in the jungles of Africa.

She first appeared in the initial Tarzan novel, Tarzan of the Apes (1912), then later reappeared in:

Jane also appeared in a minor role in the non-Tarzan novel The Eternal Lover (1925).

Additionally, Porter is the narrator-protagonist in Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell, a 2011 novel duly authorized by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. to commemorate the centennial celebration of Tarzan.

In other media[edit]


Early Tarzan films portrayed Jane Porter and (occasionally) her father faithfully to the portrayal in the novels. The 1932 sound film Tarzan the Ape Man and its sequels changed the character's name to Jane Parker, portraying her as English rather than American and making her and Tarzan the adoptive parents of an orphan they named "Boy". In addition, the name of Jane's father in the first film is James Parker. Remakes of the 1932 film, (Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) and Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)) reprised this portrayal as well as that of her father. Maureen O'Sullivan, who portrayed Jane Parker opposite Johnny Weissmuller in the 1932 film and its first few sequels, was the most famous screen Jane. In more recent Tarzan films, starting with Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), the character is once again Jane Porter, and her father Archimedes Q. Porter.

Actresses who portrayed Jane on film include:

The Jane character is absent in:

Jane in all but name[edit]

Three Tarzan films presented female leads who became the partner of Tarzan, but who were not named Jane, for one reason or another.

Others Films[edit]

  • Tarzan and the Brown Prince (1972), starring Steve Sipek. Kitty Swan portrays Irula, his mate, basically similar to Jane. During the filming of a torture scene, Sipek and Swan were tied to stakes when gasoline-soaked leaves ignited and both were seriously burned.


The Jane character has appeared sporadically in the seven (to date) television series featuring Tarzan, occasionally in offbeat portrayals when she does appear. She was omitted from the first Tarzan television series, Tarzan (1966-68). In the Filmation animated series Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1976-80) she only appeared once, in the episode "Tarzan and Jane," in which she and her father were part of an archaeological expedition looking for the lost city of Cowloon; she was voiced by Linda Gary in that episode. In the made-for-TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan (1989) the character was reimagined as a New York cab driver, played by Kim Crosby, and in the French-Canadian-Mexican series Tarzán (1991-94) as a French ecologist, played by Lydie Denier. Jane was again absent from Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996-97), although Lydie Denier returned in the role of Olga de Coude; Jane herself was slated to appear in the unproduced second season, with Julie St. Claire cast in the role. Olivia d'Abo took the role in the Disney animated series The Legend of Tarzan (2000-2003), a follow-up to Disney's animated Tarzan film and its direct-to-video sequel Tarzan & Jane (2002). The 2003 series Tarzan, set like Tarzan in Manhattan in New York City, casts Sarah Wayne Callies as NYPD detective Jane Porter.

Actresses who portrayed Jane on television include:



Audio cassette[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • Naia Kelly 2001-2002 (voice – Tarzan Untamed and Kingdom Hearts) (Tony Goldwyn as the voice of Tarzan)


Essoe, Gabe, Tarzan of the Movies, 1968, Citadel Press