Jane Green


Mrs. Jane Green is an entitled Southern belle and a staunch supporter of the Confederacy, which causes an increasing rift in her marriage to James Green Sr. Jane’s world is quickly spinning out of control as she struggles to cope with her three rebellious teenagers while striving to keep up appearances in a house overrun by Union officers.  

Donna on Jane:

My two daughters are just coming out of their teens and my son James, Jr.  is 22. He has a big chip on his shoulder for a variety of reasons. Jane runs the household. And while James, Sr. is a very strong man and he makes a lot of the big decisions for the family, you get the sense that there are not a lot of decisions made without some kind of conversations between them. And when that doesn’t happen, she’s not a happy camper.

I like her strength. I like that she’s trying to hold onto something that’s really important that she doesn’t want to lose. But I also like that she is — she’s hearing and seeing what’s going on around her and she’s trying to respect her husband’s point of view. She’s challenging her daughters, but she also can’t help but hear the truth of what each of them is saying at different moments, which is very difficult. I’m getting goose bumps talking about this. It’s painful for her because for her to let that in means that she’s going to have to give up what she’s holding onto.

In addition to giving them up as being little girls, they're becoming independent women at a time that is really hard. But she has a line where she says to Emma, “You know, a parent can be both angry and proud of a child, towards a child, for the very same thing.” And it’s so true.

Actor bio

Donna Murphy is an award-winning star of stage and screen who has captivated audiences with her rich, nuanced performances. She won Tony Awards for her work as Fosca in Stephen Sondheim’s "Passion" and as Anna in "The King and I." More recently, she played The Witch in The Public Theater’s acclaimed production of "Into the Woods" at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.

Murphy was most recently seen on TV in “Royal Pains” and “The Good Wife,” and in recurring arcs on the ABC series “Resurrection” and VH1’s “Hindsight.” Other memorable television performances include roles on “The Mentalist,” “Made in Jersey,” “Ugly Betty,” “Trust Me,” “Damages” and “CSI.”

On the big screen, Murphy was last seen in "The Bourne Legacy," the independent feature films "Dark Horse" and "Higher Ground," opposite Vera Farmiga, and could be heard as the voice of Mother Goethel in Disney’s hit animated feature, "Tangled." Other notable films include "The Nanny Diaries," "The Fountain," "Ira & Abby," "Center Stage" and "Spiderman 2."

Meet the Green family, whose luxury hotel in Virginia has been converted to a hospital.
James Green, Sr.

James Green, Sr.

James Green, Sr. is the patriarch of the Green family and keeper of its fortune. He is the husband of Jane Green and a father of three.

Support your local PBS station
PBS Learning Media