By Henrylito D. Tacio
Photo credits: Wikipedia
Next month, during the Golden Globe awards on February 28, veteran and multi-awarded American actress Jane Fonda will receive the Cecil B. DeMille award (named after the American cinema’s founding father) as reported by Reuters.
“Her undeniable talent has gained her the highest level of recognition, and while her professional life has taken many turns, her unwavering commitment to evoking change has remained,” said Ali Sar, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organizer of the awards ceremony.
This award will be added to the roster of Golden Globe trophies – seven of them! — she has already received through the years. She was already bestowed with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2014. “It’s better to be interested than interesting,” she said when she received the award given by the American Film Institute.
Fonda has received seven nominations from the Academy, winning two for performances in Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978). She was nominated for her leading roles in 1969’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, 1977’s Julia, 1979’s The China Syndrome, and 1986’s The Morning After.
Her first and only nomination for a supporting role was for On Golden Pond (1981), where she co-starred with her father and Katharine Hepburn (both won Oscars for their performances).
Her Julia film director, Fred Zinnemann, thought she would win an Oscar for her tour de performance in the movie. “Jane Fonda did an extraordinary job with her part,” he pointed out. “She is a splendid actress with a strong analytical mind which sometimes gets in her way, and with an incredible technique and control of emotion; she can cry at will, on cue, mere drops or buckets, as the scene demands. I thought Jane well-deserved the Oscar she should have got.”
The daughter of Canadian-born socialite Frances Ford Brokaw and Hollywood actor Henry Fonda was named for the third wife of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour. Her birth reportedly caused some interruptions during her father’s filming of Jezebel (1938) with Bette Davis.
The late Peter Fonda is her brother. As such, she is the aunt of Bridget Fonda and Justin Fonda. She has a maternal half-sister, Pan Corrias, and an adoptive sister, Amy Fishman (nee Amy Fonda). She is the stepdaughter of Shirlee Fonda.
Fonda started her acting career on stage. Her acting debut, There Was a Little Girl, on Broadway, earned her a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Then, she went on to stay in some films, but it wasn’t until she appeared on Sunday in New York that earned her an accolade from Newsday: “The loveliest and most gifted of all our new young actresses.”
But her breakthrough came when she co-starred with Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965). The film, included in one of the year’s top movies, earned Marvin the coveted Best Actor Oscar.
Fonda is one of the very few stars to have appeared in some of the finest actors in Hollywood. To name a few: Marlon Brando, Jason Robards, Yves Montand, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Jeff Bridges, and Robert De Niro.
She appeared with Robert Redford in several films, including The Chase (1965), Barefoot in the Park (1967), and The Electric Horseman (1979). She declined Redford’s offer to co-star with him in Havana (1990).
She rejected roles that became famous when played by other actresses: Doctor Zhivago (1965), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Exorcist (1973), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1973), Network (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978), Norma Rae (1979), Husbands and Wives (1992), and Manchurian Candidate (2004).
In 1964, Fonda became the first major American actress to appear nude in a foreign film, La Ronde. At 51, she went topless for a love scene with 18-years-younger Jimmy Smits in Old Gringo (1989) and donned a sleeveless nightgown at 80 in Book Club (2018) with not a bingo wing in sight.
Fonda has been married three times. The first time was to French film director Roger Vadim (married in 1965 and divorced in 1973), who directed her in Barbarella (1968). They had a daughter named Vanessa.
Her second husband was politician Tom Hayden, whom she married in 1973 and divorced in 1990. The couple had a son named Troy and an adoptive daughter, Mary Luana Williams (Lulu).
Her third husband was billionaire media mogul Ted Turner (of CNN distinction); they got hitched on her birthday in 1991 but ended their marriage in 2001.
In the 1980s, Fonda was known as a fitness guru. In 1982, she released her first exercise video, Jane Fonda’s Workout, which became the highest-selling VHS of all time. It would be the first of 22 such videos over the next 13 years, collectively selling over 17 million copies.
In 2005, her autobiography, My Life, So Far, came out. “Before I started writing my memoir, I knew what I was writing was a gender journey. It was a journey defined by my gender. And so, it was important for me to explain why that was true,” she told the Chicago Tribune about the book.