Actress. Born Jane Seymour Fonda, on December 21, 1937, in New York City. She is the daughter of legendary actor Henry Fonda and the sister of actor Peter Fonda. The Oscar-winning actress is as noteworthy for her remarkably diverse film career as for her exercise franchise and political activism. Jane’s socialite mother, Frances Seymour Brokaw (Henry Fonda’s second of five wives), committed suicide in October 1950, when Jane was 12 years old. Henry married actress Susan Blanchard eight months later, and throughout their six-year marriage, Blanchard helped to raise Jane and her brother. With her father, Jane made her acting debut in a 1954 stage production of The Country Girl. She attended Vassar College for two years until 1958, when her father introduced her to his neighbor, renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg. Jane became Strasberg’s student at the Actors Studio in Malibu, California, and she paid for her acting lessons through modeling. Fonda made her screen debut in Tall Story (1960), opposite Anthony Perkins. In 1962, she appeared in several films, including Walk on the Wild Side (1962), also featuring Barbara Stanwyck and Anne Baxter. Soon after, Fonda met and fell in love with French director Roger Vadim, who cast her in Circle of Love (1964). Vadim and Fonda were married in 1965, the same year she appeared in the title role of the Western comedy Cat Ballou, opposite Lee Marvin (who won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his work). In 1966, she appeared in Arthur Penn’s The Chase, with Robert Redford, Marlon Brando, and Angie Dickinson; and The Game is Over, also directed by Vadim. In 1967, she teamed up again with Redford in the romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park, featuring Mildred Natwick in an Oscar-winning supporting role. In 1968, Fonda starred in the cult-favorite Barbarella, a science fiction film directed by Vadim, in which she played a superheroine determined to save the world from evil destruction. Dismayed by her image as a cartoonish sex symbol, Fonda began selecting more serious film roles, while at the same time, supporting heartfelt political issues.
In 1969, she starred in Sydney Pollack’s Depression-era drama They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, a film for which she received her first Oscar nomination. (Pollack was also nominated for Best Director, and costar Gig Young earned an Academy Award for Best Actor). In her next film, Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971), also starring Donald Sutherland, Fonda received her first Academy Award.
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Jane Fonda biography
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