Hollywood’s 15 Hottest Tarzans, Ranked

But does he swing both ways?

In 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs published Tarzan of the Apes, which was adapted into a silent film six years later. In the century since, dozens of actors have donned the loincloth on both the big and small screen.

In honor of The Legend of Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgard as the Lord of the Jungle, we’ve ranked our 15 favorite Tarzans.

  1. Glenn Morris

    American actor Glenn Morris (1912 - 1974) assumes a hero's pose in a scene from the film 'Tarzan's Revenge,' directed by D. Ross Lederman, 1938. Morris, as the title character, rests his hand on the head of a lion, and is dressed in matching leopard print shorts and shoes. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Courtesy of Getty Images)
    20th Century Fox/Courtesy of Getty Images

    Morris won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1936 Olympics, then two years later made his only outing as Tarzan in Tarzan’s Revenge.

  2. Christopher Lambert

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    The Highlander actor traded his kilt for a loincloth in 1984’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, the only Tarzan movie ever nominated for an Academy Award.

  3. Jock Mahoney

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    At 44, Mahoney is the oldest actor to ever play Tarzan, which he did twice—in Tarzan Goes to India (1962) and Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963).

  4. Mike Henry

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    A former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Henry portrayed Lord Greystoke in three films: Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), Tarzan and the Great River (1967), and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968).

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    He turned down the lead in the subsequent Tarzan television series, which then went to actor Ron Ely.

  5. Casper Van Dien

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    Van Dien’s turn as the jungle king in 1988’s Tarzan and the Lost City currently has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But he sure is pretty to look at.

  6. Lex Barker

    Lex Barker (1919-1973), US actor, posing with a chimpanzee, which has its arm over Barker's shoulder, who poses bare-chested, in a studio portrait, circa 1950. Barker played Tarzan in five films featuring the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
    Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

    Barker was the tenth actor to play Tarzan, starring in a string of movies in the 1940s and 50s—including 1949’s Tarzan’s Magic Fountain (1949) and 1953’s Tarzan and the She-Devil. You might recognize him from his role in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

  7. Ron Ely

    NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    Ely is one of the best-known Tarzans, playing the character for 57 episodes in the CBS series, Tarzan, which ran from 1966 to 1968. He did virtually all of his stunts, suffering dozens of injuries including two broken shoulders and various lion bites.

    NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    We also have it on good authority he was responsible for more than a few gay teens’ sexual awakenings.

  8. Wolf Larson

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    Tarzan received the ’90s action film treatment in this syndication staple. The Lord of the Jungle was transformed into a environmentalist in the syndicated 1990s series, Tarzán, with Jane (Lydie Denier) turned into a French ecologist.

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    Larson wasn’t hard on the eyes, but we’re not sure where Tarzan would find a salon in the jungle to give him those luscious blond highlights.

  9. Joe Lara

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    Lara appeared in the popular 1989 TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan which spawned a series, Tarzan: The Epic Adventures.

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    It remains one of the more faithful adaptations of Burroughs’ books, but only lasted one season.

  10. Denny Miller

    Denny Miller, US actor, wearing a loin cloth and calling out with a cupped hand to the side of his mouth in a publicity portrait issued for the film, 'Tarzan, the Ape Man', 1959. The action-adevnture film, directed by Joseph M. Newman (1909–2006), starred Miller as 'Tarzan'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
    Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

    Aside from starring in 1959’s Tarzan the Ape Man, Miller also guest starred on Gilligan’s Island—twice. Once as an actor playing Tongo the Ape Man and again as a surfer who makes the girls swoon.

  11. Josh Strickland

    josh strickland tarzan
    Tarzan broadway
    A critical and commercial flop, Disney’s Tarzan musical still gave us Strickland in a loincloth for 14 months before it closed. He now appears in Vegas! The Show in Las Vegas.

  12. Travis Fimmel

    travis fimmel tarzan

    Before he swung a battleax on Vikings, this Calvin Klein model made his television debut in a 2003 Tarzan series for the CW. It lasted just eight episodes.

  13. Miles O’Keeffe

    miles o'keefe tarzan

    O’Keeffe got his big break in 1981’s Tarzan, the Ape Man, co-starring Bo Derek. His impressive physique was the result of playing football in college and as a pro rugby player before Hollywood called.

  14. Alexander Skarsgard

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    Jonathan Olley
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    Already a serious babe, Skarsgard bulked up majorly for The Legend of Tarzan. The True Blood star claims he ate nothing but broccoli and chicken breast for nine months to develop his physique. Job well done!

  15. Disney’s Tarzan

    tarzan disney
    Disney

    Millennial gays might have felt a little uneasy lusting after an animated character, but he was literally drawn with the perfect body.

    Tarzan stands on a tree limb in a scene from the new animated Walt Disney Co. film
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    His action figure didn’t help things, either.     If it makes you feel better, though, you can focus on Tony Goldwyn, who did Tarzan’s voice in the 1999 movie.

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I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
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