Two-time Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda was born to legendary actor Henry Fonda and Frances Ford Seymour in 1937. Since then, she has prospered in her own career through her acting and political activism. Jane will be at the Winspear Opera House on Monday, July 8 discussing her life and career, and you can get tickets here.
In the ‘60s Jane Fonda got her first starring role in Tall Story as June Ryder. However, most people say she made her career breakthrough in Cat Ballou playing the title character beside Oscar winner Lee Marvin. She started to make a name for herself with great reviews and became a sex symbol as she played the title role in Barbaella. Renowned film critic Pauline Kael noted, “Fonda goes all the way with it, as screen actresses rarely do once they become stars.” By the end of the decade, she was having to turn down many roles including leading characters in Bonnie and Clyde and Rosemary’s Baby. During this decade, she also performed in four Broadway shows.
It was in this decade that she declared she’d only be starring in films that focused on important issues, for which she generally kept her word. Fonda won her two Oscars in the ‘70s (Klute in 1971 and Coming Home in 1978). She also began supporting feminist and anti-war movements during this era. After following a college speaking tour, she was arrested in the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on suspicion of drug trafficking. “I told them what [the vitamins] were, but they said they were getting orders from the White House,” Jane wrote in an essay titled Mug Shot. One of her most famous photos includes her raising a fist in her mugshot in protest of the arrest. The pills were found to be vitamins and her charges were dropped.
In the ‘80s, Fonda starred in the popular 9 to 5, alongside Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, which became the second highest grossing film of 1980. Fonda wanted to work with her father in a film so she purchased the screen rights for On Golden Pond for which both her and her father received an Oscar nomination. For many years, Jane Fonda took ballet lessons to keep fit; but after fracturing her foot from filming, she turned to aerobics. As the fitness craze ascended, she became a prominent figure in the home exercise video genre. Jane Fonda’s Workout became the highest selling home video of the next few years, selling more than a million copies.
In 1991, Fonda announced her retirement from the film industry. In this time, she continued to make home workout videos. From 1982-1995, Fonda released 22 separate workout videos. 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 chair. In this decade, she also founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP), which helps adolescent teens make smart life choices, and the Fonda Family Foundation. In 1994, the United Nations Population Fund made Fonda a Goodwill Ambassador.
In May 2005, she returned to the screen with the box office success Monster-in-Law. In 2009, Fonda returned to Broadway for the first time since 1963, playing Katherine Brandt in Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations. In 2001, she established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, which aims to help prevent teen pregnancy. In 2007, Fonda was awarded an Honorary Palme d’Or by Cannes Film Festival President Gilles Jacob for career achievement. (She is one of four people to ever receive this honor.) In December 2008, Fonda was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.
2010s – Present
She is known today as a feminist icon and has supported many other causes including Native American rights, rape victims, LGBTQ rights, and anti-war movements. In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting, where she and many others honored the victims. More recently, she has starred in Grace and Frankie (2015-present) where she plays Grace, Book Club (2018) where she played Vivian, and Elena of Avalor (2016-present) where she plays the main villain, Shuriki. You can also catch her on July 8 at the Winspear Opera House as part of the #hearhere series where she will talk through major events of her career.
Jane Fonda Workout (Trailer)
Fonda on Gay Rights
International Women’s Day
Transformation from 1 to 80
Jane Fonda in 5 Acts