Jane Fonda

(b. 1937)

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  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)


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(1937– )

US actress.

Daughter of Henry Fonda, with whom she first appeared on stage in The Country Girl (1954) at Omaha Community Theatre, Jane Fonda was born in New York City. Early in her career she became a model, appearing on the cover of Vogue. She also attended the Actors' Studio and studied with Lee Strasberg. In 1960 she made her film and Broadway debut. Tall Story, her first film, was followed by numerous others, including several masterminded by her first husband, French director Roger Vadim (1927– ), which established her as a sex symbol. Her stature as a serious actress was recognized in They Shoot Horses Don't They? (1969), for which she received a New York Critics Best Actress Award and an Oscar nomination, and Klute (1971), which brought her an Oscar and another New York Critics Award.

In the early 1970s Fonda's anti-Vietnam War activities led her to form a troupe with Donald Sutherland (1935– ) and others, which toured Southeast Asia. The tour, which aroused much controversy in the USA, was recorded on film and released as F.T.A. (‘Free The Army’; 1972). Some years after the end of the war she won her second Oscar for Coming Home (1978), which dealt with the plight of servicemen wounded in Vietnam. Other films include the award-winning Julia (1977) with Vanessa Redgrave and The China Syndrome (1979), Agnes of God (1985), and Old Gringo (1989).

As well as continuing to make films and involving herself in political issues with her second husband, the radical activist Tom Hayden, she also became known in the 1980s for her highly successful books and films on women's fitness. In 1991 she married Ted Turner, the president of the CNN media corporation, and announced her retirement from acting.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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