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Jane Porter (Tarzan)

Jane Porter
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
Information
Aliases Jane Clayton, Lady Greystoke
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

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, Jane 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.

On film

The most famous screen Jane was Maureen O'Sullivan, playing opposite Johnny Weissmuller in the sound film Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), and its sequels, which changed the character's name to Jane Parker, portrayed her as English rather than American, and made her and Tarzan the adoptive parents of an orphan they named "Boy". Remakes of the 1932 film (Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) and Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)) reprised this portrayal.

She is absent in:

Portrayals

Film/Television

Radio

Stage

Audio cassette

Video games

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

Jane in all but name

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

  • Tarzan's Revenge (1938), starring Glenn Morris. Eleanor Holm portrays Eleanor Reed, who becomes Tarzan's mate at film's end. Producer Sol Lesser nixed calling the character Jane as he felt Miss Holm was so popular for her swimming exploits that audiences would not accept her playing a character not named Eleanor.

Unauthorized Films

  • 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.

References

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

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