Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model and fitness guru. She is a two-time Academy Award winner and two time BAFTA Award winner. In 2014, she was the recipient of the American Film Institute AFI Life Achievement Award.
Let’s see some interesting facts about her!
1. Jayne Seymour Fonda was born December 21, 1937 in New York City.
2. She is the daughter of actor Henry Fonda and the Canadian-born socialite Frances Ford Brokaw (née Seymour).
3. According to her father, their surname came from an Italian ancestor who immigrated to the Netherlands in the 1500s.
4. There, they intermarried and began to use Dutch given names, with Jane’s first Fonda ancestor reaching New York in 1650.
5. She also has English, Scottish, and French ancestry.
6. She was named for the third wife of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, to whom she is distantly related on her mother’s side.
7. She has a brother, Peter, an actor, and a maternal half-sister, Frances de Villers Brokaw (aka “Pan”), whose daughter is Pilar Corrias, owner of Pilar Corrias Gallery in London.
8. In 1950, when Fonda was twelve, her mother committed suicide while under treatment at Craig House psychiatric hospital in Beacon, NY.
9. Later that year, Fonda’s father married socialite Susan Blanchard, just nine years his daughter’s senior; this marriage ended in divorce.
10. At 15 Fonda taught dance at Fire Island Pines, New York.
11. She attended Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut.
12. Fonda attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, where she was an undistinguished student.
13. Before starting her acting career, Fonda was a model, gracing the cover of Vogue twice.
14. 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.
15. After dropping out of Vassar, she went to Paris for two years to study art.
16. Upon returning to the states, in 1958, 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!”
17. Fonda made her Broadway debut in the 1960 play There Was a Little Girl, for which she received the first of two Tony Award nominations, and made her screen debut later the same year in Tall Story.
18. She rose to fame in 1960s films such as Period of Adjustment (1962), Sunday in New York (1963), Cat Ballou (1965), Barefoot in the Park (1967) and Barbarella (1968).
19. A seven-time Academy Award nominee, she received her first nomination for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (1969) and went on to win two Best Actress Oscars in the 1970s for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978). Her other nominations were for Julia (1977), The China Syndrome (1979), On Golden Pond (1981) and The Morning After (1986).
20. Her other major competitive awards include an Emmy Award for the 1984 TV film The Dollmaker, two BAFTA Awards for Julia and The China Syndrome and four Golden Globe Awards.
21. In 1982, she released her first exercise video, Jane Fonda’s Workout, which became the highest-selling video of the time.
22. It would be the first of 22 workout videos released by her over the next 13 years which would collectively sell over 17 million copies. Divorced from second husband Tom Hayden, she married billionaire media mogul Ted Turner in 1991 and retired from acting.
23. Fonda was divorced from Turner in 2001. She returned to acting with her first film in 15 years, the 2005 comedy Monster in Law. Subsequent films have included Georgia Rule (2007), The Butler (2013), This Is Where I Leave You (2014) and Youth (2015).
24. In 2009, she returned to Broadway after a 45-year absence, in the play 33 Variations, which earned her a Tony Award nomination, while her recurring role in the HBO drama series The Newsroom (2012-2014), has earned her two Emmy Award nominations.
25. She also released another five exercise videos between 2010 and 2012. She currently stars with Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen in the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie (2015).
26. Fonda was a visible political activist in the counterculture era during the Vietnam War and has been more recently involved in advocacy for women.
27. She was famously and controversially photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun on a 1972 visit to Hanoi. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women, and describes herself as a feminist.
28. In 2005, she, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem co-founded 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.
29. Fonda currently serves on the board of the organization. She published an autobiography in 2005. In 2011, she published a second memoir, Prime Time.
30. During the 1960s, Fonda engaged in political activism in support of the Civil Rights Movement, and in opposition to the Vietnam War.
31. Fonda’s visits to France brought her into contact with leftist French intellectuals who were opposed to war, an experience that she later characterized as “small-c communism”.
32. Along with other celebrities, she supported the Alcatraz Island occupation by American Indians in 1969, which was intended to call attention to failures of the government in treaty rights and the movement for greater Indian sovereignty.
33. She supported Huey Newton and the Black Panthers in the early 1970s, stating “Revolution is an act of love; we are the children of revolution, born to be rebels. It runs in our blood.”
34. She called the Black Panthers “our revolutionary vanguard … we must support them with love, money, propaganda and risk.”
35. She has been involved in the feminist movement since the 1970s, which dovetails with her activism in support of civil rights.
36. Jane Fond has been married three times.
37. Fonda married her first husband, French film director Roger Vadim, on August 14, 1965, at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.
38. The couple had a daughter, Vanessa, born on September 28, 1968, in Paris, France, and named for actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave.
39. On January 19, 1973, three days after obtaining a divorce from Vadim in Santo Domingo, Fonda married activist Tom Hayden in a free-form ceremony at her home in Laurel Canyon.
40. Their son, Troy O’Donovan Garity, was born on July 7, 1973 in Los Angeles and was given his paternal grandmother’s maiden name, as the names “Fonda and Hayden carried too much baggage”.
41. Fonda and Hayden wanted to give their son a name that “was both American and Vietnamese” and chose “Troy”, an Anglicization of the Vietnamese “Troi”, as the only name they could think of meeting that requirement.
42. Hayden chose O’Donovan as the middle name after Irish revolutionary Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.
43. In 1982, Fonda and Hayden unofficially adopted an African-American teenager, Mary Luana Williams (known as Lulu), who was the daughter of members of the Black Panthers.
44. Fonda and Hayden were divorced on June 10, 1990 in Santa Monica.
45. She married her third husband, cable-television tycoon and CNN founder Ted Turner, on December 21, 1991, at a ranch near Capps, Florida.
46. The pair divorced on May 22, 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia.
47. From 2009 until 2017, Fonda was in a relationship with record producer Richard Perry.
48. Fonda grew up an atheist, but turned to Christianity in the early 2000s. She describes her beliefs as being “outside of established religion”, with a more feminist slant, and views God as something that “lives within each of us as Spirit (or soul).” She practices Zazen meditation and Yoga.
49. She released five workout books and thirteen audio programs, through 1995.