|Jane Fonda Biography|
Fonda has been an activist for many political causes; her opposition to the Vietnam War and associated activities were controversial. 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 organization. Since 2001, Fonda has been a Christian. She published an autobiography in 2005, and in 2011, she published a second memoir, Prime Time.
|Jane Fonda Biography|
Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda was born in New York City, the daughter of actor Henry Fonda and the Canadian-born socialite Frances Ford Seymour Brokaw. Fonda's surname originates from her patrilineal Dutch ancestry; she is also of English descent. 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, also are actors. Fonda had a maternal 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 socialite Susan Blanchard (born 1928), only nine years his daughter's senior; this marriage would end in divorce.
At age 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. She was twice featured 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. When she was five, she and her brother, Peter, used to act 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 to the states, in 1958 she met Lee Strasberg, and started studying acting with him. Fonda said, "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, playing a high-class call girl, Bree Daniels, in the murder mystery Klute. She won her second Oscar in 1978 for Coming Home, as a Marine officer's wife who volunteers at a veterans' hospital and becomes involved with a disabled Vietnam War veteran (played by Jon Voight).
Between Klute in 1971 and Fun With Dick and Jane in 1977, Fonda did not have a major film success. She appeared in A Doll's House (1973), Steelyard Blues and The Blue Bird (1976). At one point, she suggested her politics had worked against her: "I can't say I was blacklisted, but I was greylisted." However, in her 2005 autobiography, My Life So Far, she rejected 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." She reduced acting because of her political activism providing a new focus in her life. Her return to acting in a series of 'issue-driven' films reflected this new focus.
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 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 the playwright Lillian Hellman in the 1977 film Julia. During this period, Fonda announced that she would make only films 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 a nuclear 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 her. 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 could not leave home. 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 was her final film for 15 years.
For many years Fonda took ballet class to keep fit, but after fracturing her foot while filming The China Syndrome, she was no longer able to participate. To compensate, she began participating in aerobics and strengthening exercises under the direction of Leni Cazden. The Leni Workout became the Jane Fonda Workout, which 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, 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 at home. 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.
Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Fonda