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He was an explorer first portrayed by Neil Hamilton in the first of the Tarzan films starring Johnny Weissmuller: Tarzan the Ape Man. In that 1932 film, Holt is co-leader of the expedition with James Parker, the father of Jane Parker. He is portrayed as a well-meaning but ineffectual person who has a romantic interest in Jane. Hamilton reprised this role in the 1934 sequel Tarzan and His Mate, in which Holt dies during an attack by lions.
As the initial romantic interest of Jane, Harry can be considered a replacement for Tarzan's paternal cousin, William Cecil Clayton, who was Jane Porter's initial love interest in the novels. However, Harry is neither related to Tarzan nor antagonistic to the ape man as was the case for William.