"The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda's daughter...sitting on an enemy aircraft gun (in North Vietnam) was a betrayal. The largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine." Jane Fonda
Two-time Oscar winner for Best Actress, Jane Fonda received critical acclaim after radiantly starring in Alan Pakula's Klute (1972) and Hal Ashby's Coming Home (1978). First hurled toward the spotlight for portraying the titular role of sex kitten Barbarella (1968) in Roger Vadim's version of Jean-Claude Forest's popular comic strip with the same title, Jane Fonda later garnered more praise for acting in such films as They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1970), Julia (1977), The China Syndrome (1980), On Golden Pond (1982) and The Dollmaker (1983, TV). In the 1980s, she was widely recognized for starting an aerobics trend after she launched her aerobic exercise video and a book titled "Jane Fonda's Workout Book."
A celebrated actress since the 1960s, Fonda announced her retirement in 1992 after filming her last movie, Stanley & Iris (1990). Now, after 15 years of hiatus, she returned to the silver screen in Robert Luketic's Monster-In-Law (opposite Jennifer Lopez).
As for her private life, Jane has been married three times: once to director Roger Vadim, politician Tom Hayden and CNN founder Ted Turner. She was also sweetly linked to Klute costar, actor Donald Sutherland (born on July 17, 1935), actor and director Alexander "Sandy" Whitelaw, Italian soccer player Lorenzo Caccialanza and hairdresser Barry Matalon.
Behind the screen, Jane raised public eyebrows for her political views. She traveled to North Vietnam to speak about her opposition to the Vietnam War and earned the nickname "Hanoi Jane." She also co-produced, co-wrote and starred in the controversial film, FTA, in 1972. The award-winning actress later apologized in 1988 by stating, "I would 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." She added, "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."
Jane Fonda was also widely known as a spokesperson for civil and women's rights issues. Additionally, she is a member of America's Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the founder of the charity organization "Georgia Campaign On Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention."
Childhood and Family:
"How in hell would you like to have been in this business as long as I and have one of your kids win an Oscar before you do?" Father Henry Fonda on Jane Fonda.
Daughter of Hollywood legend Henry Fonda (actor, producer and stage director, born on May 16, 1905; died on August 12, 1982) and his second wife, New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw (committed suicide on October 14, 1950), Jane Seymour Fonda was born on December 21, 1937, in New York City, New York. Her brother is actor Peter Seymour Fonda (also a director and producer, born on February 23, 1939) and her cousin is actor Justin Fonda (born in 1969). Actress Bridget Jane Fonda (born on January 27, 1964) is her niece from brother Peter Fonda.
Jane Fonda, whose childhood nickname was Lady Jane, graduated from Vassar College, New York, in 1960 and received an honorary degree from Emerson College in May 2000. She also studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York.
On August 14, 1965, Jane Fonda wed French director and producer Roger Vadim (born in 1928; died on February 11, 2000), but they divorced on January 16, 1973. In the same year, she married author and politician Tom Hayden (born on December 11, 1939), but they separated in 1989 and divorced in 1990. On December 21, 1991, Jane tied the knot with media magnate Ted Turner (born on November 19, 1938), but they separated in January of 2000 and filed for divorce on April 16, 2001. Along with Roger Vadim, Jane has one daughter, Vanessa Vadim (born on September 28, 1968). With Tom Hayden, Jane has a son, Troy Garity (actor; born on July 7, 1973) and foster daughter Mary Luana Williams, who is an activist born to members of the Black Panthers.
"Working in Hollywood does give one a certain expertise in the field of prostitution." Jane Fonda
Growing up in a family fully loaded with fame, Jane Fonda originally had no desire for acting until she performed with her father in a charity performance of The Country Girl, at the Omaha Community Theatre in 1954. Four years later, her father introduced her to legend acting coach Lee Strasberg and she worked on her acting skills at his Actors Studio. Meanwhile, she was also a model and has posed for the covers of Esquire, Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, Glamour and McCall's. After finishing college, Jane flew to Paris to study painting and languages.
Jane relocated to hometown New York in 1960 to make her Broadway debut in a production of "There Was a Little Girl," for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actress (Dramatic). In the same year, she scored her first motion picture role, that of college coed June Ryder in Joshua Logan's adaptation of Russel Crouse's play, Tall Story (opposite Anthony Perkins).
After making her TV movie debut as Gloria Winters in the ABC special A String of Beads (1961), and winning roles in such 1962 films as Period of Adjustment, The Chapman Report and Walk on the Wild Side, Jane also acted in films like Sunday in New York, In the Cool of the Day (both in 1963), Circle of Love (a.k.a. Ronde, La, helmed by future husband Roger Vadim) and Joy House (both in 1964).
The titular role of revengeful woman Cat Ballou in Elliot Silverstein's western comedy film based on Roy Chanslor's novel with the same name, brought Jane her first taste of fame. Soon, more distinguished roles arrived: that of Robert Redford's cheating wife in Arthur Penn's version of Horton Foote's novel, The Chase, as a neglected, unfaithful wife who falls in love with her stepson, in then husband Roger Vadim's The Game is Over, and played Jason Robards' affair partner in Robert Ellis Miller's film Any Wednesday, inspired by Muriel Resnik and Julius J. Epstein's play (all in 1966). She played roles in Otto Preminger's Hurry Sundown (1967) and Gene Saks' film, based on Neil Simon's play, Barefoot in the Park (also in 1967, as Robert Redford's spontaneous wife). Jane played spoiled, vicious Frederique in directors Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini's adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's work, Spirits of the Dead (1968).
Barbarella (1968), a sexy, innocent, space-age heroine, was Jane's first breakout role in then husband Roger Vadim's movie version of Jean-Claude Forest's popular comic strip with the same title. Despite the mixed-reception of the film, Jane's portrayal received notice. She subsequently scored a starring role, one that gave her a first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, as a girl bent on self-destruction, Gloria, in Sydney Pollack's dark and impassioned adaptation of Horace McCoy's novel, They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1969, costarring Oscar winner Gig Young).
The first Academy Award for Best Actress eventually arrived after Jane portrayed a Manhattan call girl named Bree Daniels in Alan J. Pakula's suspense thriller Klute (1971, opposite then boyfriend Donald Sutherland). Afterwards, she flew to Europe to star with Yves Montand in All's Well (1972) and reunite with Donald Sutherland in Alan Myerson's crime comedy Steelyard Blues (1973). She also played controversial liberated woman Nora Helmer in Joseph Losey's version of Henrik Ibsen's play, in A Doll's House (1973, with Trevor Howard) and played a role opposite Elizabeth Taylor in George Cukor's fantasy, The Blue Bird (1976). Behind the screen, Jane set up a film company named I.P.C. (Indo China Peace Campaign) alongside Tom Hayden and Bruce Gilbert in 1974. 1977 handed Fonda her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of playwright Lillian Hellman in Fred Zinnemann's novel-based film, the Oscar nominated Julia (alongside Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Robards). In that same year, Jane teamed with George Segal to play an upscale Los Angeles couple in Ted Kotcheff's comedy Fun with Dick and Jane.
Playing Sally Hyde, Bruce Dern's unfaithful wife who falls in love with a man suffering from a paralyzing combat injury (played by Jon Voight), in Hal Ashby's war drama Coming Home (1978), nabbed Jane her second Academy Award for Best Actress. Meanwhile, she was seen as stubborn rancher Ella Connors in Alan J. Pakula's Comes a Horseman (with James Caan and Jason Robards) and teamed with Alan Alda as an angry divorced duo in Herbert Ross' California Suite (1978).
At the end of the 1970s, Jane was highly praised at the British Academy Awards for starring as ambitious TV reporter Kimberly Wells in James Bridges' drama thriller The China Syndrome (alongside Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas). She also rejoined Robert Redford to play savvy broadcast journalist Alice "Hallie" Martin in Sydney Pollack's The Electric Horseman, and branched out in her own business ventures with aerobics. She established her first fitness company, named Workout Inc., and opened her first aerobics studio.
Entering the 1980s, Jane joined Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton in Colin Higgins' warmly received comedy Nine to Five. She also teamed with father Henry Fonda and legend Katharine Hepburn to play their daughter in Mark Rydell's adaptation of Ernest Thompson's play, the acclaimed family's summer tale On Golden Pond (father Henry's last film appearance and he won an Oscar for Best Actor). Afterwards, she portrayed a former film star who inherits an oil corporation in Alan J. Pakula's political-romantic thriller Rollover. Meanwhile, Jane also launched her debut exercise video titled Workout and started an aerobic exercise trend with the publication of her book titled Jane Fonda's Workout Book.
The ABC TV movie The Dollmaker (1984), delivered Jane an Emmy for her dazzling portrayal of self-reliant and resourceful mother of five, Gertie Nevels, in Daniel Petrie's film based on Harriet Arnow's best-selling novel. During the next years, Jane became psychiatrist Dr. Martha Livingston in Norman Jewison's version of John Pielmeier's play, the Oscar nominated Agnes of God (1985, alongside Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly ), an alcoholic Alex Sternbergen in Sidney Lumet's jarring thriller The Morning After (1986) and played herself in Paul Weiland's comedy Leonard Part 6 (1987, starring Bill Cosby). She also portrayed schoolteacher Harriet Winslow in Luis Puenzo's film, based on Carlos Fuentes' novel, the Mexican Revolution era Old Gringo (1989).
Martin Ritt's romantic drama, inspired by Pat Barker's novel, the flop Stanley & Irish (1990, opposite Robert De Niro), would be Jane's last film for quite a while. After establishing her own production company named Fonda Films in the late 1980s, Jane announced she was retiring from acting (1992). Being asked about her decision, she explained, "It had become agony. I was not happy inside as a woman and I was kind of in denial about it and sort of cut off from my emotions. I was living on willpower and it's very hard to be creative when you're living on willpower."
Recently, after 15 years hiatus from the big screen, Jane came back to star as Charlotte 'Charlie' Cantilini, Michael Vartan's mother and Jennifer Lopez's future mother-in-law, in Robert Luketic's newly released romantic comedy, Monster-in-Law (2005). In the same year, Jane also published her memoirs titled My Life, So Far, in which she frankly examines her controversial life.
"I would have given up acting in a minute. I didn't like how it set me apart from other people." Jane Fonda