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Jane Fonda

Jane FondaAKA Jane Seymour Fonda

Born: 21-Dec-1937
Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Female
Religion: Born-Again Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor, Activist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Barbarella

Jane Fonda was 12 years old when her mother checked into an asylum and killed herself there, slashing her own throat. Her father, actor Henry Fonda, quickly remarried, and a woman who was only 10 years older than Jane became her stepmother. Yet by all accounts this stepmother, Susan Blanchard, grew marvelously into her motherly role, and within a few years the Fonda children were calling her "Mom-2". Their father divorced Blanchard when Jane was in her late teens.

At 17, Jane and her father co-starred in The Country Girl, a play staged for charity in Omaha. Though showing little interest beforehand, after the performance she decided upon acting as a career. Her father paid for her lessons, under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg. After several stage appearances she made her Broadway debut in 1960 in There Was a Little Girl, with Gary Lockwood and Joey Heatherton. She was the leading lady in her first film, Tall Story, a romantic comedy co-starring Anthony Perkins.

After Ann-Margret turned down the role, Fonda was offered the lead in Cat Ballou, a comedic western that was one of 1965's biggest hits. For several years, she was a top star in light comedies including Barefoot in the Park with Robert Redford, and the sexy sci-fi schlock classic Barbarella for husband Roger Vadim. While she was married to Vadim, Fonda says he often sought other women, and brought them home for three-ways with Fonda. She participated, she says, because Vadim played on her insecurities, making her feel "less than perfect."

She won her first Oscar for Klute in 1971, and her father was quoted as saying, "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?"

She was a star before she was political, but after meeting numerous Vietnam veterans who had changed their minds about the war, Fonda began wondering why American soldiers were killing and dying in a tiny country's civil war half a world away. She became an anti-war activist, then worked for almost any leftist cause, including desegregation, women's rights, and environmental issues, until eventually she was known as much for her political stands as for her films. She visited Alcatraz during its siege by Native Americans in 1969, and thought Rev. Jim Jones was doing good work. She supported Huey Newton's campaign for Congress, and said the Black Panthers were "our revolutionary vanguard. We must support them with love, money, propaganda and risk". During the Vietnam war, Fonda toured America with her Klute co-star and real-life lover Donald Sutherland, staging a "guerilla theater" piece called FTA (for "Fuck the Army" or, when speaking with mainstream reporters, "Free the Army"). "If you understood what communism was", she said, "you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist".

She took a two-week tour of Vietnam, but not like stars usually do during wars, visiting American troops to bolster their morale. Instead Fonda stayed with natives, visited the enemy's capital city, and famously posed for several photos at an inactive Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery, as if she were shooting at incoming American planes. She met with eight pre-screened Americans who were being held as prisoners of war, and with cameras clicking and their guards watching, the prisoners unsurprisingly said they were being treated very well. When Fonda returned to America, she rather naïvely announced that the Vietnamese were treating all their American prisoners humanely. Years later, several of those American prisoners said they had been forced by their captors to meet with Fonda, for the propaganda value.

A few Americans who were held prisoner by the North Vietnamese have said they were tortured when they refused to meet her; Fonda has referred to this as "myth making about my being responsible for POW torture." Beginning in the late 1990s, two letters have been widely publicized on the internet, painting Fonda's actions in an even more harsh light. Purportedly written by a Vietnam veteran, one letter claims that Fonda was furtively handed notes by prisoners to be delivered to their families in America, but that she instead turned these notes over to their captors, leading to beatings for the prisoners who wrote the notes. Another letter claims that the author, an imprisoned Air Force pilot, spat on Fonda during her visit, and that he was subsequently tortured as punishment. The claimed authors of these letters, Larry Carrigan and Jerry Driscoll, are both actual Vietnam veterans — but each of them has repeatedly denied both writing the letters and the incidents the letters describe.

For her politics and for her ill-intentioned trip to Vietnam, Fonda was and still is despised by many, but what actually happened has sometimes been wildly exaggerated. Decades after the Vietnam war, many Americans still abhor Jane Fonda as a traitor -- "Hanoi Jane". Fonda has never apologized for her opposition to the Vietnam war, and has stated she never will. She still asks why the US killed millions of Vietnamese people, and what more than 50,000 American soldiers died for. She has, however, apologized for those famous photos. "I will go to my grave", Fonda has said, "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."

Her politics hurt her career, but not for long. In the late 1970s she played Lillian Hellman in Julia, won a second Oscar for the Vietnam war-themed Coming Home, and her political yet entertaining statement against nuclear power The China Syndrome became a huge hit when Three Mile Island had its little accident mere days after the movie opened. In 1980, Fonda bought the rights to On Golden Pond, hoping her father would play the lead, and she would play his daughter. When he won his Oscar for that role, he was not healthy enough to attend, but his daughter accepted the statuette on his behalf. The elder Fonda said it was "the happiest night of my life."

Fonda had continued success as an actress through the 1980s, and made a series of wildly popular exercise videos in the late 1980s. Her father's last wife, Shirley, appeared in two of Fonda's Workout videos. Fonda now says she no longer exercises. In the early 1990s, she married cable mogul Ted Turner and retired from show business. For years, she said she would never return to acting, but after divorcing Turner she appeared in a New York production of The Vagina Monologues, and returned to film with Monster-In-Law starring Jennifer Lopez and Wanda Sykes.

She now describes herself as a born-again Christian, and continues speaking her mind on political issues. She has criticized America's occupation of Iraq, marched in Mexico with activists demanding an investigation of the murders of hundreds of women there, and been involved with a campaign to protect Kenyan girls from genital mutilation.

Father: Henry Fonda (actor)
Mother: Frances Ford Seymour (socialite, m. 1936, d. 14-Apr-1950, suicide)
Brother: Peter Fonda (actor)
Sister: Frances de Villers "Pan" Brokaw (b. 10-Oct-1931, d. 10-Mar-2008, stepsister from mother's first marriage)
Mother: Susan Blanchard (actress, stepmother)
Mother: Afdera Franchetti (Italian countess, stepmother)
Mother: Shirley Adams (stewardess, stepmother)
Boyfriend: Alexander Whitelaw (film director, dated in early 1960s)
Husband: Roger Vadim (m. 14-Aug-1965, div. 16-Jan-1973)
Daughter: Vanessa Vadim (needle-exchange activist, b. 1968, with Vadim)
Daughter: Natalie Vadim (stepdaughter from Vadim's previous marriage)
Boyfriend: Donald Sutherland (actor, dated 1970s)
Husband: Tom Hayden (activist-politician, m. 1973, div. 1989)
Son: Troy Garity (actor, b. 7-Jul-1973, with Tom Hayden)
Daughter: Mary Williams (activist, "LuLu", adopted 1970s, founder of Lost Boys Foundation)
Boyfriend: Barry Matalon (hairdresser, dated in 1990)
Husband: Ted Turner (dated 1990-91, m. 21-Dec-1991, div. 22-May-2001)
Boyfriend: Robert Scheer (columnist, reportedly dated)
Boyfriend: Lorenzo Caccialanza (Italian soccer player, actor)

    High School: Emma Willard School, Troy, NY (1955)
    University: Vassar College (1960)
    University: Art Students League of New York

    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    Ducks Unlimited
    Friends of Hillary
    Hollywood Women's Political Committee
    NARAL contributed $5,000 (18-Dec-2001)
    New Leadership for America PAC
    Progressive Majority
    Endorsement of L'Oreal 2006
    Oscar for Best Actress 1972 for Klute
    Oscar for Best Actress 1979 for Coming Home
    Emmy 1984 for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Special, The Dollmaker
    Golden Globe 1962 Most Promising Newcomer, Female
    Golden Globe 1972 Best Actress for Klute
    Golden Globe 1973 World Film Favorite, Female
    Golden Globe 1978 Best Actress for Julia
    Golden Globe 1979 Best Actress for Coming Home
    Golden Globe 1980 World Film Favorite, Female
    Margaret Sanger Award 2003
    Born-Again Christian
    Breast Augmentation Surgery
    Appendectomy 3-Apr-1996
    Hip Replacement Surgery
    Drug Smuggling Nov-1970
    Assisted by the ACLU lawsuit filed against Richard M. Nixon (18-Oct-1973)
    Risk Factors: Smoking, Marijuana, Bulimia, Anorexia, Appendicitis, Yoga

    Book Club (17-May-2018)
    Jane Fonda in Five Acts (20-Jan-2018) · Herself
    Our Souls at Night (1-Sep-2017)
    Fathers & Daughters (1-Oct-2015)
    Youth (20-May-2015)
    This Is Where I Leave You (7-Sep-2014)
    Better Living Through Chemistry (14-Mar-2014)
    Lee Daniels' The Butler (5-Aug-2013)
    Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (13-Sep-2011) · Grace
    All Together (13-Aug-2011)
    Miss Representation (20-Jan-2011) · Herself
    Georgia Rule (10-May-2007)
    Sir! No Sir! (19-Jun-2005) · Herself
    Monster-in-Law (6-May-2005)
    Tell Them Who You Are (11-Sep-2004) · Herself
    Searching for Debra Winger (16-May-2002) · Herself
    Stanley & Iris (9-Feb-1990)
    Old Gringo (8-Sep-1989) · Harriet Winslow
    The Morning After (25-Dec-1986) · Alex Sternbergen
    Agnes of God (21-Aug-1985)
    We Are the World (28-Jan-1985) · Herself
    The Dollmaker (13-May-1984)
    Rollover (11-Dec-1981)
    On Golden Pond (4-Dec-1981) · Chelsea Thayer Wayne
    Nine to Five (19-Dec-1980) · Judy Bernly
    No Nukes (18-Jul-1980) · Herself
    The Electric Horseman (21-Dec-1979) · Hallie
    The China Syndrome (16-Mar-1979) · Kimberly Wells
    California Suite (15-Dec-1978) · Hannah Warren
    Comes a Horseman (25-Oct-1978) · Ella
    Coming Home (15-Feb-1978)
    Julia (2-Oct-1977) · Lillian
    Fun with Dick and Jane (9-Feb-1977)
    The Blue Bird (5-Apr-1976)
    A Doll's House (24-Aug-1973)
    Steelyard Blues (9-Feb-1973)
    FTA (21-Jul-1972) · Herself
    All's Well (28-Apr-1972)
    Klute (23-Jun-1971)
    They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (10-Dec-1969)
    Barbarella (10-Oct-1968)
    Spirits of the Dead (17-May-1968) · Contessa Frederique de Metzengerstein
    Barefoot in the Park (25-May-1967) · Corie Bratter
    Hurry Sundown (6-Feb-1967)
    Any Wednesday (13-Oct-1966) · Ellen Gordon
    The Game Is Over (22-Jun-1966)
    The Chase (19-Feb-1966)
    Cat Ballou (24-Jun-1965) · Cat Ballou
    La Ronde (16-Oct-1964)
    Joy House (12-Jun-1964)
    Sunday in New York (13-Nov-1963) · Eileen Tyler
    In the Cool of the Day (Mar-1963) · Christine Bonner
    Period of Adjustment (31-Oct-1962) · Isabel Haverstick
    The Chapman Report (5-Oct-1962) · Kathleen Barclay
    Walk on the Wild Side (21-Feb-1962) · Kitty Twist
    Tall Story (6-Apr-1960) · June Ryder

Official Website:

Rotten Library Page:
Jane Fonda

Author of books:
Jane Fonda's Workout Book (1981, self-help)
Jane Fonda's Workout Book For Pregnancy, Birth and Recovery (1982, self-help)
Women Coming of Age (1984, self-help)
Jane Fonda's New Workout and Weight-Loss Program (1986, self-help)
Cooking for Healthy Living (1996, cookbook)
My Life So Far (2005)
Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit: Making the Most of All of Your Life (2011, self-help)

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