name Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda
Born December 21, 1937 (age 68)
New York City, New York (born December 21, 1937) is an American actress,
writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru.
1960s Fonda has appeared in movies, many of which have contained political
messages. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other
awards and nominations. She initially announced her retirement from
acting in 1991, and said for many years that she would never act again,
but she returned to film in 2005 with Monster in Law. She also produced
and starred in several exercise videos released between 1982 and 1995.
served as an activist for various political causes, one of the most
notable of which was her opposition to the Vietnam War. She has also
protested the Iraq War and violence against women. She describes herself
as a liberal and a feminist.
Fonda has considered herself a Christian. She published an autobiography
in 2005 and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ancestry and family
in New York City to actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Ford Seymour,
and named Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda. When Jane was twelve years old,
her mother committed suicide after voluntarily seeking treatment at
a psychiatric hospital.
had distant Dutch ancestry, and the surname Fonda originates from Holland.
The "Lady" part of Jane Fonda's name was apparently inspired
by Lady Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII of England,
who she is distantly related to on her mother's side. The "Jayne"
comes from her father's middle name Jaynes.
Peter Fonda (born 1939), and his daughter Bridget Fonda (born 1964),
are also actors. She has an older half-sister, Frances Brokaw, as well
as an adopted sister, Amy, who was born in 1953.
suicide, Henry Fonda married Susan Blanchard, who was only 10 years
older than Jane. Although all of Henry's children seemed to like Blanchard,
Blanchard and Henry Fonda divorced before Jane turned 20.
Before starting her acting career, Fonda was a fashion model, gracing
the cover of Vogue magazine twice. Fonda became interested in acting
in 1954, while appearing with her father in a charity performance of
The Country Girl, at the Omaha Community Theatre. After attending Vassar
College in New York, she was introduced by her father to renowned drama
teacher Lee Strasberg in 1958, and subsequently joined his Actors Studio.
Fonda in 1968's Barbarella, the role that made her into an universal
sex symbolHer stage work in the late 1950s laid the foundation for her
film career in the 1960s. She averaged almost two movies a year throughout
the decade, starting in 1960 with Tall Story, in which she recreated
one of her Broadway roles as a college cheerleader pursuing a basketball
star, played by Anthony Perkins. Period of Adjustment and Walk on the
Wild Side followed in 1962. In Walk on the Wild Side, Fonda played a
prostitute, and earned a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.
she appeared in Sunday in New York. Newsday called her "the loveliest
and most gifted of all our new young actresses". However, she also
had her detractors—in the same year, the Harvard Lampoon named
her the "Year's Worst Actress". Fonda's career breakthrough
came with Cat Ballou (1965), in which she played a schoolmarm turned
outlaw. This comedy Western received five Oscar nominations and was
one of the year's top ten films at the box office. It was considered
by many to have been the film that brought Fonda to stardom at the age
of twenty-eight. After this came the comedies Any Wednesday (1966) and
Barefoot in the Park (1967), the latter co-starring Robert Redford.
she played the lead role in the science fiction spoof Barbarella, which
established her status as a sex symbol. In contrast, the tragedy They
Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) won her critical acclaim, and she earned
her first Oscar nomination for the role. Fonda was very selective by
the end of the 1960s, turning down lead roles in Rosemary's Baby and
Bonnie and Clyde, films widely praised by critics and considered box-office
in KluteFonda won her first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1971,
again playing a prostitute, the gamine Bree Daniel, in the detective
murder mystery Klute. It is generally acknowledged that her finest moment
onscreen is the extraordinary scene towards the end of Klute where she
is confronted by her potential killer. Her second Award was in 1978
for Coming Home, the story of a disabled Vietnam War veteran's difficulty
in re-entering civilian life.
in 1971 and Fun With Dick and Jane in 1977, Fonda spent most of the
first half of the decade without a major film success, even though she
appeared in films such as A Doll's House (1973) and The Blue Bird (1976).
From comments ascribed to her in interviews, some have inferred that
she personally blamed the situation on anger at her outspoken political
views - "I can't say I was blacklisted, but I was greylisted."
However in her 2005 autobiography, My Life So Far it would appear that
she categorically rejects such simplification. "The suggestion
is that because of my actions against the war my career had been destroyed
... But the truth is that my career, far from being destroyed after
the war, flourished with a vigor it had not previously enjoyed."
From her own point of view it would appear that her absence from the
silver screen was related more to the fact that her political activism
provided a new focus in her life. By the same token her return to acting
with a series of 'issue-driven' films was a reflection of this new focus.
"When I hear admonitions ... warning outspoken actors to remember
'what happened to Jane Fonda back in the seventies', this has me scratching
my head: And that what would be...?"
production company, IPC Films, she produced films that helped return
her to star status. The 1977 comedy film Fun With Dick and Jane is generally
considered her "comeback" picture. She also received very
positive reviews and an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of playwright
Lillian Hellman in the 1977 film, Julia. During this period Fonda announced
that she would make films only that focused on important issues, and
she generally stuck to her word. She turned down An Unmarried Woman
because she felt the part was not relevant. She followed with popular
and successful films such as The China Syndrome (1979), about a coverup
of an accident in a nuclear power plant; and The Electric Horseman (1979)
with her previous co-star, Robert Redford.
In 1980, Fonda starred in the office-politics comedy Nine to Five with
Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Her character was re-entering the workforce,
after a divorce had devastated both her finances and self-confidence.
The film was one of Fonda's greatest financial successes, contributing
significantly to her wealth.
She had long
wanted to work with her father, hoping it would help their strained
relationship. She achieved this goal when she was cast as a supporting
actress alongside Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond
(1981). This film brought Henry Fonda his first Academy Award for Best
Actor, which Jane accepted on his behalf, as he was ill and home bound.
He died five months later.
appearing in feature films throughout the 1980s, most notably her role
of Dr. Martha Livingston in Agnes of God.
For many years, Fonda was a ballet enthusiast, but after fracturing
her foot while filming The China Syndrome, she was no longer able to
participate. To compensate, she began actively participating in aerobics
and strengthening exercises. This became a second career for her, which
continued for many years.
Fonda released her first exercise video, titled Jane Fonda's Workout,
which sold 17 million copies, the most of any home video ever. The video's
release led many people to buy the then-new VCR, in order to watch and
perform the workout in the privacy and convenience of their own homes.
Fonda subsequently released 23 more workout videos, five workout books,
and thirteen audio tapes. Her most recent original workout video was
released in 1995.
Retirement and return
In April 1991, after three decades in film, Fonda announced her retirement
from the film industry. In May 2005, however, she returned to the screen,
after a fourteen-year absence, with the box-office success Monster-in-Law,
a comedy in which she played the manipulative prospective mother-in-law
of Jennifer Lopez's character .
In July 2005,
the British tabloid The Sun reported that when Fonda was asked if she
would appear in a sequel to her 1980 hit Nine to Five, she replied "I'd
project is the Garry Marshall-directed, Georgia Rule, which began shooting
in July 2006. Fonda stars along with Felicity Huffman, and Lindsay Lohan.
In the course
of her career, Fonda has received seven Oscar nominations, winning twice.
On orders from Washington DC, customs officials arrested Fonda
on November 3, 1970 at the Cleveland airport for disturbing the peace,
and charged her with “smuggling unidentified pills.” All
charges were dropped when the "pills" turned out to be vitamins.During
the 1960s, Fonda engaged in political activism in support of the Civil
Rights Movement and in opposition to the Vietnam War.
other celebrities, she supported the Alcatraz Island occupation in 1969,
which was intended to call attention to Native American issues. (In
the 1990s, she was criticized by Native American activists for making
the perceived racist, sports-fan celebration gesture, "The Tomahawk
Chop", at Atlanta Braves baseball games with her then-husband Ted
supported Huey Newton and the Black Panthers in the early 1970s, stating
"Revolution is an act of love; we are the children of revolution,
born to be rebels. It runs in our blood." She called the Black
Panthers "our revolutionary vanguard", and said "we must
support them with love, money, propaganda and risk." In a 1979
appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, she was asked
about her past praise for Huey Newton and won laughter and applause
for her response: "I've said a lot of off-the-wall things in my
life. All I can say about that is I was naive and utterly wrong."
also been involved in the feminist movement since the 1970s, which dovetails
with her activism in support of civil rights.
to the Vietnam War
Main article: Opposition to the Vietnam War
In April 1970, Fred Gardner, Fonda and Donald Sutherland formed the
FTA tour ("Free The Army", a play on the troop expression
"Fuck The Army"), an anti-war road show designed as an answer
to Bob Hope's USO tour. The tour, referred to as "political vaudeville"
by Fonda, visited military towns along the West Coast, with the goal
of establishing a dialogue with soldiers about their upcoming deployments
to Vietnam. The dialogue was made into a movie (F.T.A.) that contained
strong, frank criticism of the war by service men and women. It was
released in 1972.
In the same
year, Fonda spoke out against the war at a rally organized by Vietnam
Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She offered
to help raise funds for VVAW, and, for her efforts, was rewarded with
the title of Honorary National Coordinator. On November 3, 1970,
Fonda started a tour of college campuses on which she raised funds for
the organization. As noted by the New York Times, Fonda was a "major
patron" of the VVAW.
1971, Fonda traveled to Paris to meet with National Liberation Front
(NLF) foreign minister Madam Nguyen Thi Binh. According to a transcript
that was translated into Vietnamese and back to English, Fonda told
Binh at one point: "Many of us have seen evidence proving the Nixon
administration has escalated the war, causing death and destruction,
perhaps as serious as the bombing of Hiroshima." Afterwards, Fonda
traveled to London, where she again came under fire for making a speech
that discussed the use of torture by US troops in Vietnam. Her financial
support to VVAW at this time was apparently not significant, as the
organization ran out of money within a month, and one of its prominent
leaders, John Kerry, was called upon to raise the necessary funds.
on the NVA anti-aircraft gunFonda visited Hanoi in July 1972. She is
credited with publicly exposing Richard Nixon's potential strategy of
bombing the dikes in Vietnam. At the time, she was called a liar by
United Nations ambassador George H. W. Bush. Bush was intending to provide
evidence of US innocence, but cancelled the press conference after Fonda
released filmed evidence, with Bush saying, "I think that the best
thing I can do on the subject is to shut up." In 2004, her former
husband Tom Hayden renewed claims that "Fonda was right and Bush
Fonda was photographed seated on an anti-aircraft battery used against
American aircrews. She also participated in several radio broadcasts
on behalf of the Communist regime, asking US aircrews to consider the
consequences of their actions. In her 2005 autobiography, she states
that she was manipulated into sitting on the battery, and claims to
have been immediately horrified at the implications of the pictures.
Fonda says that it was not what was in her heart at all, and wasn't
the reason why she was even there. She was there to film evidence of
the Nixon Administration's plan to blow up the dikes, (a plan that Fonda
says "Johnson, to his credit decided not to do"), and the
lie the administration had been giving to the public, that troop returns
were imminent. She expressed regret for her actions many times over
the years, but some Americans remain hostile to her. "I've learned
that a picture does not capture what was actually in your heart."
visit she also visited American prisoners of war (POWs); and brought
back messages from them to their families. When cases of torture began
to emerge among POWs returning to the United States, Fonda called the
returning POWs "hypocrites and liars". She added, "These
were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been
starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed." On the subject
of torture in general, Fonda told the New York Times in 1973, "I'm
quite sure that there were incidents of torture... but the pilots who
were saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic,
I believe that's a lie." Several American POWs and other eyewitnesses,
including former POW and current US Senator John McCain, disagree with
The POW camp
visits also lead to persistent stories - widely circulated on the Internet
and via email - that the POWs she met had reviled her or attempted to
sneak notes to her, which she had reported to the North Vietnamese,
leading to further abuse. These false accounts have been discredited
by the former prisoners who are directly mentioned in the accounts.
Fonda's actions in July 1972 did not receive widespread coverage at
the time (The New York Times, for example, ran only a brief UPI story
and no photograph), her trip was perceived by many as an unpatriotic
display of aid and comfort to the enemy, with some characterizing it
as treason; the Nixon Administration, however, dismissed calls for legal
action against her. Years later, she was labeled as Hanoi Jane by her
critics and compared to war propagandists Tokyo Rose and Hanoi Hannah.
(The first recorded use of the phrase is in a 1979 Washington Post article,
citing picket signs by KKK and American Nazi demonstrators, not Vietnam
veterans, at a Fonda speech.) She has often been accused of contributing
to a perceived anti-soldier sentiment (despite the fact that she got
involved in the anti-war movement by working with active-duty anti-war
soldiers and veterans). Because of her actions, actor John Wayne cut
off all contact with her, despite his close ties to her father.
Fonda funded and organized the Indochina Peace Campaign. It continued
to mobilize antiwar activists across the nation after the 1973 Paris
Peace Agreement, when most other antiwar organizations closed down.
In 1988, Fonda admitted to former American POWs and their families that
she had some regrets, stating:
like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England,
but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to
deepen because of things that I said or did. I was trying to help end
the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless
and careless about it and I'm very sorry that I hurt them. And I want
to apologize to them and their families. [...] I will go to my grave
regretting the photograph of me in an anti-aircraft gun, which looks
like I was trying to shoot at American planes. It hurt so many soldiers.
It galvanized such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could
possibly have done. It was just thoughtless."
On the Charlie
Rose program, Fonda noted that her regrets were limited to the photo
appearance with the anti-aircraft gun, and that she was "proud"
of her activism against "the bombing of the dikes".
In a 60 Minutes
interview on March 31, 2005, Fonda reiterated that she had no regrets
about her trip to North Vietnam in 1972, with the exception of the anti-aircraft
gun photo. She stated that the incident was a "betrayal" of
American forces and of the "country that gave me privilege".
Fonda said, "The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda's
daughter ... sitting on an enemy aircraft gun was a betrayal ... the
largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine." She later distinguished
between regret over the use of her image as propaganda and pride for
her anti-war activism: "There are hundreds of American delegations
that had met with the POWs. Both sides were using the POWs for propaganda...
It's not something that I will apologize for." Fonda said she had
no regrets about the broadcasts she made on Radio Hanoi, something she
asked the North Vietnamese to do: "Our government was lying to
us and men were dying because of it, and I felt I had to do anything
that I could to expose the lies and help end the war."
in the lobby of the theater immediately after the conclusion of the
telecast of the 62nd Academy Awards (Jane is holding Ted Turner's arm),
March 26, 1990, photo by Alan LightFonda has been a longtime supporter
of feminist causes, including V-Day, a movement to stop violence against
women, inspired by the off-Broadway hit The Vagina Monologues, of which
she is an honorary chairperson. She was present at their first summit
in 2002, bringing together founder Eve Ensler, Afghan women oppressed
by the Taliban, and a Kenyan activist campaigning to save girls from
Fonda established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive
Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia; the goal of the center
is to prevent adolescent pregnancy, and to promote women's reproductive
16 2004, Fonda led a march through Ciudad Juárez, with Sally
Field, Eve Ensler, and other women, urging Mexico to provide sufficient
resources to newly appointed officials helping investigate the murders
of hundreds of women in the rough border city.
feels that many gender stereotypes are damaging to individuals of both
genders. In 2004, she served as a mentor to the first ever all-transsexual
cast of The Vagina Monologues.
In the days
before the Swedish election on September 17, 2006, Fonda came to Sweden
to support the new political party Feministiskt initiativ in their election
In My Life
So Far, Fonda says that she considers patriarchy to be harmful to men
as well as women. She also states that for many years, she feared to
call herself a feminist, because she believed that all feminists were
"anti-male". But now, with her increased understanding of
patriarchy, she feels that feminism is beneficial to both men and women,
and states that she "still loves men". She states that when
she divorced Ted Turner, she felt like she had also divorced the world
of patriarchy, and was very happy to have done so. On October 5, 2006,
Fonda was invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame on "Feminization
of Poverty", however the lecture dealt more with the subject of
patriarchy. Nonetheless she was granted a standing ovation by both students
and faculty, following her 50 minute address.
Fonda continues to participate in political activism, particularly in
connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During a trip to Jerusalem
in 2002 (billed as a promotion of "world peace"), Fonda was
criticized by right wing Israelis, and heckled as she arrived for a
meeting with leading Israeli feminists. Three hecklers, members of Women
in Green, criticized her controversial stance during the Vietnam War,
her stance toward Israel, and said that she "came to Israel as
a guest of Peace Now, Israeli traitors".
to the Iraq War
Main article: Popular opposition to the 2003 Iraq War
Fonda has argued that the military campaign in Iraq will turn people
all over the world against America, and has asserted that a global hatred
of America will result in more terrorist attacks in the aftermath of
the war. In July 2005, Fonda said that some of the war veterans she
had met while on her book tour had urged her to speak out against the
2005, Fonda and George Galloway postponed their anti-war bus tour due
to the slow start to the relief operation now underway in the Gulf Coast,
which had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Fonda then planned
to take a bus tour in March 2006 with her daughter and several families
of military veterans but later scrapped her plans, mostly because she
felt like she would distract attention from Cindy Sheehan's activism.
She remains opposed to the Iraq War and to President George W. Bush
Protestors in Waterbury, Connecticut, lead by a Republican political
activist who was a WW2 veteran, threatened to disrupt filming of Fonda's
1990 picture Stanley and Iris, but when filming began she was well received
by the community and the city's Board of Aldermen decisively defeated
a resolution saying she was not welcome in the city.
In the U.S.
presidential election, 2004, her name was used as a disparaging epithet
against John Kerry, the former VVAW leader, who was then the Democratic
Party presidential candidate. Republican National Committee Chairman
Ed Gillespie called Kerry a "Jane Fonda Democrat". In addition,
Kerry's opponents circulated a photograph showing Fonda and Kerry in
the same large crowd at a 1970 anti-war rally, although they were sitting
several rows apart. A faked composite photograph, which gave the
false impression that the two had shared a speaker's platform, was also
circulated. Fonda appeared on CNN to defend Kerry against these
2005, a man named Michael A. Smith from Kansas City, Missouri took advantage
of one of Jane Fonda's book signings to spit tobacco juice in her face.
Minutes later, Smith was caught by police and charged with disorderly
conduct. He went to court on May 27, 2005, and stated that he spat in
Fonda's face because he believed her to be a "traitor", adding
that his actions were "absolutely worth it". After he was
led away, Fonda carried on signing books. It was the only incident during
her national book tour.
In 2001, Fonda publicly announced that she had become a Christian. She
considers herself a Biblical Christian and strongly opposes bigotry,
discrimination, and dogma, which she believes are promoted by a small
minority of Christians. Her announcement came shortly after her divorce
from Ted Turner. Some believe that Fonda's Christianity led to the divorce
as Turner had allegedly criticized religion.
In 2005, Fonda released her autobiography, My Life So Far. The book
describes her life as a series of three acts, each thirty years long,
and declares that her third "act" will be her most significant,
due in part to her commitment to the Christian religion, and that it
will determine the things she will be remembered for. Fonda also claims
that her autobiography shows that "she is so much more than what
we as America knows her as".
was praised by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and several other
newspapers. Fonda has held book-signing events all over the United States
since publishing her book.
Born in New York City to legendary screen star Henry Fonda and New York
socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, Jane Seymour Fonda was destined early
to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially
showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was prompted
by Joshua Logan to appear with her father in the 1954 Omaha Community
Theatre production of "The Country Girl". Her interest in
acting grew after meeting Lee Strasberg in 1958 and joining the Actors
Studio. Her screen debut in Tall Story (1960) (directed by Logan) marked
the beginning of a highly successful and respected acting career highlighted
by two Academy Awards (for her performances in Klute (1971) and Coming
Home (1978)) and five Oscar nominations (for Best Actress in They Shoot
Horses, Don't They? (1969), Julia (1977), The Morning After (1986) and
On Golden Pond (1981), which was the only film she made with her father).
Her professional success contrasted with her personal life, which was
often laden with scandal and controversy. Her appearance in several
risqué movies (including Barbarella (1968), directed by her then-husband
Roger Vadim) was followed by what was to become her most debated and
controversial period: her espousal of anti-establishment causes and
especially her anti-war activities during the Vietnam War. Her political
involvement continued with fellow activist and husband Tom Hayden in
the 1970s and early 1980s. In the 1980s she started the aerobic exercise
craze with the publication of the "Jane Fonda's Workout Book".
She and Hayden divorced, and she married broadcasting mogul Ted Turner
Ted Turner (21 December 1991 - 22 May 2001) (divorced)
Tom Hayden (21 January 1973 - 1990) (divorced) 1 child
Roger Vadim (14 August 1965 - 16 January 1973) (divorced) 1 child
Born at 9:14
her divorce from Ted Turner, she announced she had become a born-again
Christian. Speculations are that this may have played a part in their
seperation, since Ted Turner has expressed highly critical opinions
on religion in general.
of her socialite mother Frances Seymour Brokaw was kept from her as
a teenager, and she was told that she'd died of heart failure. Household
newspaper and magazine subscriptions were canceled, and the staff and
student body of Fonda's high school were instructed not to discuss the
incident. Fonda learned the truth months later while leafing through
a movie magazine in art class.