See Jane Write
Lydie Denier, star of the "Tarzan" television series
in the 1990s,
takes up writing with her new book, 'Me, Jane... Not
~ September 21, 2010 ~ by Sarah Mosqueda
could say Lydie Denier was born to play the role of Jane, love interest
of the fictional feral child-turned-jungle man Tarzan.
“I was a Tarzan fan my whole life,” says the French-born
Denier, who moved to Laguna Beach seven months ago, after 25 years in West
Hollywood. She spent her childhood in France climbing trees and playing
in the tree house her uncle built for her.
“And who hasn’t dreamed of being kidnapped by a handsome
jungle man?” she adds with a laugh.
Besides identifying with the fantasy and adventure of
Tarzan, her exotic blue eyes and tan skin look as if they belong against
the backdrop of a thick green jungle. Looking at her on a bright morning
sitting at the rooftop bar of La Casa del Camino in Laguna Beach, it’s
easy to see why Aaron Spelling handpicked her for the role on the "Tarzan"
television series in 1991.
Opposite Wolf Larson as Tarzan, she filmed the series
in Mexico over the following three years. The show was successful, syndicated
in 87 countries, making Denier the record-holder for most screen time of
any actress who has played Jane in both TV and film. The part led to more
roles on the small screen, including spots on "Melrose Place," "Baywatch,"
"Spin City," and "Gilmore Girls." And she never dreamed the role she was
meant to play would lead to a career as a writer – but her agent encouraged
her to keep a diary, saying she might some day like to write a memoir.
“At the time I thought it was crazy,” says Denier. “I
thought, ‘I’m an actress and model, not a writer.’ ”
But she dutifully kept the journal and when the show ended,
she had a lot of material. It wasn’t until 2006 that she revisited the
notes, finally turning them into a book. The result – Me, Jane...
Not You! – available electronically through Magellan Books, recounts
her childhood in France, early modeling career, her eventual move to Hollywood,
and what it was like being Jane.
“It’s about surviving in Hollywood. And never giving up
on your dream.”
It wasn’t easy turning pages of notes from nearly 10 years
ago into a book, so she enlisted the help of a writing coach.
“He really kicked my butt,” she laughs. “'Lazy writing!
You can do better than that!'” she says, recalling his critique.
But it wasn’t the writing that Denier found most difficult.
Nor was it the language barrier (ever the quick learner, Denier mastered
English in six months early in her acting career).
“Some things were tough to remember,” she says. “It was
Particularly the death of Sean Roberge, who played Roger
Taft, Jr., Jane’s assistant on the show.
“He was like a little brother,” she says of Roberge, who
was just 17 years old when he joined the cast of "Tarzan." “During the
first season, he was shorter than me, the second season he was as tall
as me and by the third season he was taller than me.”
When Roberge was killed in a car accident in 1996, Denier
found it too painful to watch old "Tarzan" episodes, but revisited them
for her book. She also connected with his family members, spending time
with Roberge’s mother, who requested that she make copies of the pictures
of her son Denier gathered as part of her research.
Although the process was long and hard, Denier is happy
with the result and declares it a unique story only she can tell, as one
might gather from the title.
“I was Jane,” she laughs. “Not you. This book, it’s me.
Pure creation from page one to the last.”