Jane Fonda's professional acting debut in "Tall Story", directed by Joshua Logan in 1960 was the beginning of a highly respected and successful acting career. She had earlier appeared with her father, Henry Fonda, at his urging, in a fund raiser community theater production of "The Country Girl" in Omaha, Nebraska in 1954, also directed by Joshua Logan. But prior to that appearance she had little inclination to follow in her legendary father's footsteps to become an actor. To be sure at her Omaha performance Jane was only a 17 year old high school student. Following the Omaha performance Jane attended Vassar College, and in 1958 was introduced to the renowned drama teacher Lee Strassberg by her father. She joined the Actors Studio in 1958, and subsequently made her film debut mentioned above in 1960.
Jane Fonda's acting career was highlighted by winning two Academy Awards and a total of five Oscar nominations. In 1971 she won the Best Actress award for her performance playing a prostitute in the detective mystery "Klute". Jane's second Academy Award was in 1978, again for Best Actress in "Coming Home", the story of a disabled Vietnam War veteran coming home and his difficulty in re-entering civilian life. Fonda's five Oscar nominations were for Best Actress in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They", in 1969, in "Julia" in 1977, in "The Morning After", in 1986, and in "On Golden Pond" in 1981. The latter film was the only film she made with her father.
Other movies of note Jane Fonda appeared in are, "Period of Adjustment" in 1962, "Walk on the Wild Side" in 1962, "Sunday in New York" in 1963, "Cat Ballou" in 1965, "Any Wednesday" in 1966, "Barefoot in the Park" in 1967, "Barbarella" in 1968, "The Blue Bird" in 1976, "Fun with Dick and Jane" in 1977, "Julia" in 1977, "The China Syndrome" in 1978, "The Electric Horseman" in 1979, and "Nine to Five" in 1980.
In the 1980's Jane began a combination of acting and producing career with her workout videos which became enormously successful. Her first workout video, "Jane Fonda Workout" sold 17 million copies, the most of any home video of all time. Fonda followed up her first workout video with 23 more workout videos, her latest one appearing in 1995.
Jane Fonda was able to receive considerable notoriety with her political activism during the Vietnam War in the seventies, and to some extent more recently with her opposition to the Iraq War.
Jane Fonda, born on December 21, 1937, was the daughter of the legendary movie actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Seymour. Seymour was of Irish and German descent and had previously been married to George Tuttle Brokaw. When Jane was 12 years old, in 1949, her mother, Frances Seymour, committed suicide, an event in Jane's life which must have been heart rending. Jane's brother, Peter Fonda, born in 1940, also became an actor, as well as Peter's daughter, Bridget Fonda, born in 1964. Jane also has a half sister Frances Brokaw, as well as an adopted sister, Amy, born in 1953.
Jane married Roger Vadim, the movie director, on August 14, 1965 and the couple divorced on January 16, 1973. Five days after their divorce, on January 21, 1973, Jane married Tom Hayden, the activist. That marriage lasted until their divorce in 1990. The following year Jane married Ted Turner on December 21, 1991, her birthday. That marriage lasted until May 22, 2001 when they also divorced.
Out of the three marriages Jane had two children, a daughter Vanessa Vadim with Roger Vadim, and another daughter Troy Garity Hayden with Tom Hayden.
Jane Fonda's Dutch-American background comes from her father's side. In the early seventeenth century the Dutch Fonda family lived in Italy where they picked up the Italian name Fonda. They returned to their native country, Holland, and then ended up in New Netherland in the Albany, New York area. In the Albany area there still is a small village with the name Fonda, that was named after the Fonda family when they settled there in the seventeenth century. The other Dutch-American connection, although tenuous, is the connection with the Brokaw name. The Brokaw families go back to the original Dutch settlement in New York City in the seventeenth century when it was still called New Amsterdam.
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PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC
EIGHT PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE ROOSEVELTS, VANDERBILTS AND OTHERS, 2015
FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015
DUTCH PEGELS INVOLVED IN WARS
ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015