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Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda Cannes 2015.jpg
Fonda at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Jane Seymour Fonda

(1937-12-21) December 21, 1937 (age 86)
New York City, U.S.
Other names Jane S. Plemiannikov (from marriage to Roger Vadim Plemiannikov)
  • Actress
  • activist
Years active 1959–present
Full list
Political party Democratic
Partner(s) Richard Perry (2009–2017)
Children 3, including Troy Garity and Mary Williams (de facto adopted)
Awards Full list

Jane Seymour Fonda (born December 21, 1937) is an American actress, activist, and former fashion model. Recognized as a film icon, Fonda is the recipient of various accolades including two Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Golden Lion Honorary Award, the Honorary Palme d'Or, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Early life and education

Henry Fonda and Jane - 1943
Fonda aged five, with her father, actor Henry Fonda (1943)

Jane Seymour Fonda was born on December 21, 1937, in New York City. Her parents were Canadian-born socialite Frances Ford Seymour and American actor Henry Fonda. According to her father, the surname Fonda came from an Italian ancestor who immigrated to the Netherlands in the 1500s. There, he intermarried; the resultant family began to use Dutch given names, with Jane's first Fonda ancestor reaching New York in 1650. Fonda also has English, French, and Scottish ancestry. She was named for the third wife of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, to whom she is distantly related on her mother's side, and because of whom, until she was in fourth grade, Fonda said she was called "Lady" (as in Lady Jane). Her brother, Peter Fonda, was also an actor, and her maternal half-sister is Frances de Villers Brokaw (also known as "Pan"), whose daughter is Pilar Corrias, the owner of the Pilar Corrias Gallery in London.

In 1950, when Fonda was 12, her mother died while undergoing treatment at Craig House psychiatric hospital in Beacon, New York. Later that year, Henry Fonda married socialite Susan Blanchard, 23 years his junior; this marriage ended in divorce. Aged 15, Jane taught dance at Fire Island Pines, New York.

Jane Fonda & Henry Fonda & Peter Fonda, 1950s
Jane, Henry and Peter Fonda in the 1950s

Fonda attended Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut; the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York; and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Before her acting career, she was a model and appeared twice on the cover of Vogue.

Fonda became interested in the arts in 1954, while appearing with her father in a charity performance of The Country Girl at the Omaha Community Playhouse. After dropping out of Vassar, she went to Paris for six months to study art. Upon returning to the US, in 1958, she met Lee Strasberg; the meeting changed the course of her life. 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!"


Jane Fonda 1963
Fonda as Eileen Tyler in Sunday in New York, one of her earliest box office successes

Fonda made her acting debut with the 1960 Broadway play There Was a Little Girl, for which she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, and made her screen debut later the same year with the romantic comedy Tall Story. She rose to prominence during the 1960s with the comedies Period of Adjustment (1962), Sunday in New York (1963), Cat Ballou (1965), Barefoot in the Park (1967), and Barbarella (1968). Her first husband was Barbarella director Roger Vadim. The 1969 psychological drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They? was Fonda's first major dramatic role, and brought the first of her seven Academy Award nominations. Fonda went on to establish herself as one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress twice 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). Consecutive hits Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), California Suite (1978), The Electric Horseman (1979), and 9 to 5 (1980) sustained Fonda's box-office drawing power, and she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for the television film The Dollmaker (1984).

Ms. magazine Cover - Winter 2006
Fonda on the cover of Ms. magazine in 2006

In 1982, she released her first exercise video, Jane Fonda's Workout, which became the highest-selling VHS of the 20th century. It would be the first of 22 such videos over the next 13 years, which would collectively sell over 17 million copies. Divorced from her second husband Tom Hayden, she married billionaire media mogul Ted Turner in 1991 and retired from acting, following a row of commercially unsuccessful films concluded by Stanley & Iris (1990). Fonda divorced Turner in 2001 and returned to acting with the successful comedy film Monster-in-Law (2005), the family drama film Georgia Rule (2007), and her first Broadway appearance after 49-year absence from the stage, in the play 33 Variations (2009), which earned her a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Fonda re-launched her career by the early 2010s, appearing in five films including leading roles in Youth (2015) and Our Souls at Night (2017), and starring in Netflix's comedy series Grace and Frankie (2015–2022) for which she earned a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also released another five exercise videos during 2009–2012.

In November 2021, it was announced Fonda would be in the second installment of Amazon Prime Video's Yearly Departed. She appeared alongside the host Yvonne Orji, and fellow eulogy givers Chelsea Peretti, Meg Statler, Dulcé Sloan, Aparna Nanchurla, and X Mayo. It premiered on December 23, 2021.

Other activities

Political activism

Hanoi Jane
Jane Fonda on the NVA anti-aircraft gun
Jane Fonda 1975d
Fonda at an anti-Vietnam War conference in the Netherlands in January 1975

Fonda was a political activist in the counterculture era during the Vietnam War. She was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun on a 1972 visit to Hanoi, during which she gained the nickname "Hanoi Jane". During this time, she was effectively blacklisted in Hollywood. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women, and describes herself as a feminist and environmental activist. In 2005, along with Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, she 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. Fonda serves on the board of the organization.

LGBTQ+ support

Fonda has publicly shown her support of the LGBTQ community many times throughout her career. In August 2021, Fonda, the cast of Grace and Frankie, and other advocates joined to support a fundraiser hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center to help members of the LGBTQ+ community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Fonda Cannes
Fonda at the premiere of Promise Me This at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007

Jane Fonda spoke out as an LGBTQ+ ally long before it was common. She appeared in a video of a 1979 interview during the White Night Riots in San Francisco after the assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in California. During the interview she was asked if the gay community was still being discriminated against, to which she replied that they "are culturally, psychologically, economically, politically" being discriminated against. Fonda was then asked if the gay community has used her as an advocate and she replied that she hopes they will use her, though she stressed that "they are a very powerful movement, they don't need me, but they like me (and) they know by working together we can be stronger than either entity is by itself."

Native Americans

Fonda went to Seattle, in 1970 to support a group of Native Americans who were led by Bernie Whitebear. The group had occupied part of the grounds of Fort Lawton, which was in the process of being surplussed by the United States Army and turned into a park. The group was attempting to secure a land base where they could establish services for the sizable local urban Indian population, protesting that "Indians had a right to part of the land that was originally all theirs." The endeavor succeeded and the Daybreak Star Cultural Center was constructed in the city's Discovery Park.

In addition to environmental reasons, Fonda has been a critic of oil pipelines because of their being built without consent on Native American tribal land. In 2017, Fonda responded to American President Donald Trump's mandate to resume construction of the controversial North Dakota Pipelines by saying that Trump "does this illegally because he has not gotten consent from the tribes through whose countries this goes" and pointing out that "the U.S. has agreed to treaties that require them to get the consent of the people who are affected, the indigenous people who live there."


In 2015, Fonda expressed disapproval of President Barack Obama's permitting of Arctic drilling (Petroleum exploration in the Arctic) at the Sundance Film Festival. In July, she marched in a Toronto protest called the "March for Jobs, Justice, and Climate", which was organized by dozens of nonprofits, labor unions, and environmental activists, including Canadian author Naomi Klein. The march aimed to show businesses and politicians alike that climate change is inherently linked to issues that may seem unrelated.

Cannes 2015 32
Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Fonda, and Harvey Keitel at the Youth premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival

In addition to issues of civil rights, Fonda has been an opponent of oil developments and their adverse effects on the environment. In 2017, while on a trip with Greenpeace to protest oil developments, Fonda criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying at the summit on climate change in Paris, known as the Paris agreement, Trudeau "talked so beautifully of needing to meet the requirements of the climate treaty and to respect and hold to the treaties with indigenous people ... and yet he has betrayed every one of the things he committed to in Paris."

In October 2019, Fonda was arrested three times in consecutive weeks protesting climate change outside the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. She was arrested with members of the group Oil Change International on October 11, with Grace and Frankie co-star Sam Waterston on October 18, and with actor Ted Danson on October 25. On November 1, Fonda was arrested for the fourth consecutive Friday; also arrested were Catherine Keener and Rosanna Arquette. On December 5, 2019, Fonda explained her position in a New York Times op-ed.

In March 2022, Fonda launched the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, a political action committee with the purpose of ousting politicians supporting the fossil fuel industry.


Jane Fonda 2005
Fonda at a book signing, 2005

On April 5, 2005, Random House published Fonda's autobiography My Life So Far. The book describes her life as a series of three acts, each thirty years long, and declares that her third "act" will be her most significant, partly because of her commitment to the Christian religion, and that it will determine the things for which she will be remembered.

Fonda's autobiography was well received by book critics and noted to be "as beguiling and as maddening as Jane Fonda herself" in its review in The Washington Post, calling her a "beautiful bundle of contradictions". The New York Times called the book "achingly poignant".

In January 2009, Fonda began chronicling her Broadway return in a blog with posts about topics ranging from her Pilates class to fears and excitement about her new play. She uses Twitter and has a Facebook page.

In 2011, Fonda published a new book: Prime Time: Love, health, ..., fitness, friendship, spirit – making the most of all of your life. It offers stories from her own life as well as from the lives of others, giving her perspective on how to better live what she calls "the critical years from 45 and 50, and especially from 60 and beyond".

On September 8, 2020, Harper Collins published Fonda's book, What Can I Do?: The Truth About Climate Change and How to Fix It.


Fonda's charitable works have focused on youth and education, adolescent reproductive health, environment, human services, and the arts.

Fonda marketed her highly successful line of exercise videos and books in order to fund the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a California lobbying organization she founded with her second husband Tom Hayden in 1978.

Fonda has established the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP) in the mid-1990s and the Fonda Family Foundation in the late 1990s. In the mid-2000s, Fonda founded the Jane Fonda Foundation in 2004 with one million dollars of her own money as a charitable corporation with herself as president, chair, director and secretary; Fonda contributes 10 hours each week on its behalf. In 2017, she began selling merchandise featuring her 1970 arrest mugshot on her website, the proceeds of which benefit GCAPP.

Personal life

Marriages and relationships

Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda (Rome, 1967)
Fonda and her first husband Roger Vadim in Rome, in 1967 before the filming of Barbarella (1968)

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Fonda dated automobile racing manager Giovanni Volpi, producers José Antonio Sainz de Vicuña and Sandy Whitelaw as well as actors Warren Beatty, Peter Mann, Christian Marquand and William Wellman Jr.

Fonda and her first husband, French film director Roger Vadim, became an item in December 1963 and married on August 14, 1965, at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. The couple had a daughter, Vanessa Vadim, born on September 28, 1968, in Paris and named after actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave. Separation reports surfaced in March 1970, which Fonda's spokesman called "totally untrue," though by mid-1972 she was conceding: "We're separated. Not legally, just separated. We're friends."

FondaSonHayden 1976
Fonda and Hayden with their son, Troy, in Santa Monica, 1976
Ted Turner Jane Fonda 1992
Fonda and her third husband Ted Turner on the red carpet at the 1992 Emmy Awards

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. She had become involved with Hayden the previous summer, and was three months pregnant when they married. 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." Fonda and Hayden named their son for Nguyen Van Troi. Hayden chose O'Donovan as the middle name after Irish revolutionary Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa. In 1982, Fonda and Hayden unofficially adopted an African-American teenager, Mary Luana Williams (known as Lulu), whose parents were Black Panthers. Fonda and Hayden separated over the Christmas holiday of 1988 and divorced on June 10, 1990, in Santa Monica. In 1989, while estranged from her then spouse, Fonda had a seven-month relationship with soccer player Lorenzo Caccialanza.

Fonda married her third husband, cable television tycoon and CNN founder Ted Turner, on December 21, 1991, at a ranch near Capps, Florida, about 20 miles east of Tallahassee. The pair separated four days into the new millennium and divorced on May 22, 2001, in Atlanta.

From 2007 to 2008 Fonda was the companion of widowered management consultant Lynden Gillis.

In mid-2009, Fonda began a relationship with record producer Richard Perry. It ended in January 2017. That December, when asked what she had learned about love, Fonda told Entertainment Tonight: "Nothing. I'm not cut out for it!"


Awards and honors

Fonda - Birch at 2015 HFA
Fonda backstage with actress Thora Birch before being honored at the 2015 Hollywood Film Awards

In 1962, Fonda was given the honorary title of "Miss Army Recruiting" by the Pentagon.

In 1981, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award.

In 1994, the United Nations Population Fund made Fonda a Goodwill Ambassador. In 2004, she was awarded the Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century award as one of Seven Who Change Their Worlds. In 2007, Fonda was awarded an Honorary Palme d'Or by Cannes Film Festival President Gilles Jacob for career achievement. Only three others had received such an award – Jeanne Moreau, Alain Resnais, and Gérard Oury.

Jane Fonda 1990
Fonda and photographer Alan Light following the 62nd Academy Awards in March 1990

In December 2008, Fonda was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts. In November and December 2009, she received the National German Sustainability Award and New York Women's Agenda Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also selected as the 42nd recipient (2014) of the AFI Life Achievement Award. In 2017, she received a Goldene Kamera lifetime achievement award.

She was one of fifteen women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

In 2019, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and in the following year she was on the list of the BBC's 100 Women announced on November 23, 2020.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Jane Fonda para niños

  • List of actors with Academy Award nominations
  • List of actors with two or more Academy Award nominations in acting categories
  • List of actors with two or more Academy Awards in acting categories
  • List of peace activists
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