Jane Fonda (born Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda, December 21, 1937) is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awardsand received several other awards and nominations. After 15 years of retirement, she returned to film in 2005 with Monster in Law followed by Georgia Rule two years later. She also produced and starred in over 20 exercise videos released between 1982 and 1995, and once again in 2010.
Fonda has been an activist for many political causes, one of the most notable and controversial 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. In 2005, Fonda worked alongside Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to co-found the Women's Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. Fonda currently serves on the board of the organizati
Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda was born in New York City, the daughter of actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Ford Seymour Brokaw. The Fondas had distant Dutch ancestry. She was named after the third wife of English king Henry VIII, Lady Jane Seymour, to whom she is distantly related on her mother's side. Her brother Peter Fonda (born 1940), and his daughter Bridget Fonda, are also actors. Fonda had a half sister, Frances, who died in 2008.
In 1950, when Fonda was 12, her mother committed suicide, while under treatment at a psychiatric hospital. Later that year, Fonda's father married Susan Blanchard; this marriage ended in divorce.
At 15, Fonda taught dance at Fire Island Pines, New York. She attended The Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, but dropped out to become a fashion model, appearing twice on the cover of Vogue.
Fonda became interested in acting in 1954, while appearing with her father in a charity performance of The Country Girl, at the Omaha Community Playhouse. She recalled that at the age of five, she and her brother Peter acted out Western stories similar to those their father played in the movies. While at Vassar she went to Paris for two years to study art. Upon returning, she met Lee Strasberg and the meeting changed the course of her life, Fonda saying, "I went to the Actors Studio and Lee Strasberg told me I had talent. Real talent. It was the first time that anyone, except my father—who had to say so—told me I was good. At anything. It was a turning point in my life. I went to bed thinking about acting. I woke up thinking about acting. It was like the roof had come off my life!"
Her 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.
In 1963, 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.
In 1968, she played the lead role in the science fiction spoof Barbarella, directed by her French film director husband Roger Vadim, 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.
Fonda won her first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1971, again playing a prostitute, the gamine Bree Daniels, in the murder mystery Klute. She won her second Oscar in 1978 forComing Home, the story of a disabled Vietnam War veteran's difficulty in re-entering civilian life.
Between Klute in 1971 and Fun With Dick and Jane in 1977, Fonda did not have a major film success, even though she appeared in films such as A Doll's House (1973), Steelyard Blues 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
In 1972, Fonda starred as a reporter alongside Yves Montand in Jean-Luc Godard's and Jean-Pierre Gorin's film Tout va bien. The film's directors then made Letter to Jane, in which the two spent nearly an hour discussing a news photograph of Fonda.
Through her 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 positive reviews, BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress, 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 cover-up of an accident in anuclear power plant; and The Electric Horseman (1979) with her previous co-star, Robert Redford.
In 1980, Fonda starred in Nine to Five with Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. The film was a critical and box office success. Fonda had long wanted to work with her father, hoping it would help their strained relationship. She achieved this goal when she purchased the screen rights to the play On Golden Pond specifically for her father and herself. On Golden Pond, which also starred Katharine Hepburn, brought Henry Fonda his only Academy Award for Best Actor, which Jane accepted on his behalf, as he was ill and home bound. He died five months later.
Fonda continued appearing in feature films throughout the 1980s, most notably in the role of Dr. Martha Livingston in Agnes of God. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of an alcoholic murder suspect in the 1986 thriller The Morning After. She ended the decade by appearing in Old Gringo. This was followed by the romantic drama Stanley & Iris (1990), which would be her final film for 15 years.
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 under the direction of Leni Cazden. The Leni Workout became the Jane Fonda Workout and thus began a second career for her, which continued for many years. This was considered one of the influences that started the fitness craze among baby boomers who were then approaching middle age.
In 1982, Fonda released her first exercise video, titled Jane Fonda's Workout, inspired by her best-selling book, Jane Fonda's Workout Book. The Jane Fonda's Workout video eventually sold 17 million copies: more than any other home video. 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 workout videos, five workout books and thirteen audio programs, through 1995. After a fifteen year hiatus, she released two new fitness videos on DVD in 2010, aiming at an older audience.]
Retirement and return
In 1991, after three decades in film, Fonda announced her retirement from the film industry. In May 2005, she returned to the screen with the box office success Monster-in-Law. In July 2005, the British tabloid The Sun reported that when asked if she would appear in a sequel to her 1980 hit Nine to Five, Fonda replied "I'd love to". Fonda appeared in the 2007Garry Marshall-directed Georgia Rule, starring along with Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan.
In 2009, Fonda returned to theater with her first Broadway performance since the 1963 play, Strange Interlude, playing Katherine Brandt in Moisés Kaufman's 33 Variations. The role earned her a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.
She will star alongside Catherine Keener in the upcoming indie film, Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding, expected to be released in 2011.She also made a return to French cinema, shooting Et Si On Vivait Tous Ensemble (And If We All Lived Together) mid-2010.
Fonda 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 Kenyanactivist campaigning to save girls from genital mutilation.
On February 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.In 2001, 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 through training and program development.
Fonda strongly feels that many gender stereotypes are damaging to individuals of both genders and thus, 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 went to Sweden to support the new political party Feministiskt initiativin their election campaign.
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.
In 2001, Fonda publicly announced that she had become a Christian. She stated that she strongly opposed 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. Fonda stated publicly on Charlie Rose in April 2006 that her Christianity may have played a part in the divorce, as Turner was known to be critical of religion.