Jane Fonda famous (original name Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda), is an American actress and political activist best known for her comedic roles. Later, however, she developed into a serious actress; winning Academy Awards for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978).
Jane Fonda (original name Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda), is an American actress and political activist best known for her comedic roles. However, in later years she developed into a serious actress; winning Academy Awards for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978).
Jane Fonda was the daughter of actor Henry Fonda and left Vassar College after two years, moving to New York City where she worked as a model while studying acting under Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio in 1958. She made appearances in Broadway plays There Was a Little Girl (1960) and Tall Story (1960), followed by numerous comedic films in the 1960s such as Cat Ballou (1965) and Barefoot in the Park (1967).
Fonda’s later roles included socially conscious films such as They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), Klute (1971), Coming Home (1978) and The China Syndrome (1979). She earned Academy Awards for her performances as a call girl in Klute and as the wife of a Vietnam War soldier in Coming Home; this earned her two Academy Award nominations.
Fonda then joined Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin in Nine to Five (1980), an action comedy featuring three women banding together against their cruel misogynistic boss; in 1981 she costarred alongside her dad Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond along with other films including Agnes of God (1985) and The Morning After (1986).
Following her role as a struggling widow in Stanley & Iris (1990), Fonda took an extended break from acting and didn’t return until 2005 when she starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in Monster-in-Law. Other films include Georgia Rule (2007), Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (2011), Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013) and This Is Where I Leave You (2014). In 2009 Fonda returned to Broadway after 46 years to portray a dying musicologist in 33 Variations; additionally she had recurring roles on television drama The Newsroom (2012-14).
Fonda then costarred alongside Lily Tomlin in the Netflix television comedy Grace and Frankie (2015-22), about two women whose husbands leave them for each other. In 2017 she played a widow who befriends her longtime neighbour (Robert Redford) in Our Souls at Night on Netflix.
Book Club (2018) followed, featuring four old friends adding spice to their club–and lives–by reading E.L. James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Finally, Fonda joined Tomlin, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno as fans of the New England Patriots; receiving a Cecil B. DeMille Award (a Golden Globe for lifetime achievement) in 2021).
From the 1970s on, Fonda became an activist for left-wing political causes. She was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War and made a pilgrimage to Hanoi in 1972 to protest U.S. bombing campaigns there. On that trip, Fonda visited with the crew of a North Vietnamese air defense battery and photographs featuring her sitting in an antiaircraft gun were widely shared. Her actions led to her being labeled “Hanoi Jane” (similar to World War II’s Tokyo Rose).
In 1988, she apologized to American veterans of the Vietnam War in a television interview with Barbara Walters, admitting some of her behavior in Hanoi had been “thoughtless and careless.”
Fonda’s involvement with Campaign for Economic Democracy, founded by American politician Tom Hayden (her husband from 1973 to 1990), continued during the 1980s. She also actively participated in women’s rights issues and cofounded the Women’s Media Center in 2005; furthering her mission of raising awareness regarding climate change.
Fonda was married twice, to French film director Roger Vadim (1965-73) and American broadcasting entrepreneur Ted Turner (1991-2001). Her books included My Life So Far (2005); Prime Time (2011), an inspirational volume on aging; and What Can I Do?: My Path from Climate Despair to Action (2020). Additionally, Jane Fonda in Five Acts (2018) documented her life and career.