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The Best Actors Who Played Tarzan

Updated November 5, 2019 4.3k votes 511 voters 19.8k views25 items

Since the first silent films adapting the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels, the King of the Jungle has swung across screens big and small. Several famous actors have played Tarzan in dramas and comedies, from film serials to TV shows. Many of the best Tarzan characters were portrayed by elite athletes or actors who had to train hard to get that "raised in a jungle" look. Even though Tarzan films and shows are often synonymous with pulp, the work of actors who've played Tarzan has even earned their movies Academy Award nominations.

Tarzan actors have to look the part and that often means they're retired athletes or very dedicated gym-goers. Alexander Skarsgard played the title character in the 2016 film, The Legend of Tarzan. The actor reportedly put on 24lbs of muscle for the role. Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan in more than 10 films from 1932's Tarzan the Ape Man to 1948's Tarzan and the Mermaids.

Tony Goldwyn provided the voice of Tarzan in the 1999 Disney animated film. Other famous actors who played Tarzan include Kellan Lutz, Christopher Lambert, and Travis Fimmel.

Vote up the Tarzan actors you think best embodied the King of the Jungle.

  • Johnny Weissmuller is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors Who Played Tarzan
    Photo: Tarzan the Ape Man / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Loew's Inc.

    Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan in more than 10 films from 1932's Tarzan the Ape Man to 1948's Tarzan and the Mermaids. Prior to playing Tarzan, Weissmuller was an Olympian winning five gold medals for swimming.

    • Age: Dec. at 80 (1904-1984)
    • Birthplace: Freidorf, Romania
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  • Ron Ely is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors Who Played Tarzan
    Photo: Tarzan / Banner Productions/National General Television Distribution/Warner Bros. Television Distribution

    Ron Ely starred in the NBC series Tarzan from 1966 to 1968. Tarzan's traditional love interest, Jane, did not appear in the show.

    • Age: 82
    • Birthplace: Hereford, Texas, USA
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  • Gordon Scott is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors Who Played Tarzan
    Photo: Tarzan's Hidden Jungle / RKO Radio Pictures

    Gordon Scott played Tarzan in several projects including Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955), Tarzan's Fight for Life (1958), and Tarzan the Magnificent (1960).

    • Age: Dec. at 81 (1926-2007)
    • Birthplace: Oregon, USA, Portland
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  • Alexander Skarsgård is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors Who Played Tarzan
    Photo: The Legend of Tarzan / Village Roadshow Pictures/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Jerry Weintraub Productions/Riche/Ludwig Productions/Beaglepug Productions/Warner Bros. Pictures

    Alexander Skarsgard played the title character in the 2016 film, The Legend of Tarzan. The actor reportedly put on 24lbs of muscle for the role.

    • Age: 44
    • Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
    208
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    Is he a great King of the Jungle?

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