Brenda Joyce (February 25, 1917 – July 4, 2009) was an American film actress. She was born Betty Graftina Leabo in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, although family and friends referred to her as Graftina.
Although she appeared in many B-movies of the 1940s, she had a prominent supporting role in the major 1939 film The Rains Came opposite George Brent (above) and Myrna Loy, and was cast as Maris Hanover in the 1942 film, Little Tokyo, U.S.A.. She is best-remembered as the seventh actress to play Jane in the Tarzan series of films. She succeeded Maureen O'Sullivan in the series and appeared in the role five times.
Her first four appearances as Jane were opposite Johnny Weissmuller. However, her last performance as Jane, in Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949), was with Lex Barker as Tarzan. Joyce and Karla Schramm, from the silent era, were the only two actresses to play Jane opposite two different actors playing Tarzan.
Brenda Joyce retired from acting in 1949. She was married to Owen Ward from 1941 until their divorce in 1949; they had three children, Pamela Ann, Timothy Owen and Beth Victoria.
Joyce died on July 4, 2009 in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California. Her ashes are at Westwood Village Cemetery.
Public Deb No. 1 (1940)
Thumbs Up (1943)
1. "Brenda Joyce Brenda Joyce, who died on July 4 aged 97, swung to fame opposite Johnny Weissmuller and then Lex Barker as the seventh actress to play Jane in the durable Tarzan series of films.". The Daily Telegraph (London). July 24, 2009.
3. Other sources indicate 1912 or 1915 as her year of birth. A friend of Joyce's confirmed after her death that she was 92, making 1917 the most likely date of birth.
4. Barnes, Mike (July 17, 2009). "'Tarzan' actress Brenda Joyce dies". Hollywood Reporter.