Being the son of Henry Fonda and the sister of Jane Fonda resulted in Peter Fonda becoming an obvious choice for inclusion in the listing of prominent Dutch Americans. Although Peter Fonda, in his own right, has been a prolific contributor to American filmography, he is not nearly as well known as his famous father and famous sister. Also not well known is Peter Fonda’s daughter, Bridget Fonda, who is a third generation actor.
Peter Fonda was born in New York City on February 23, 1940. His parents were Henry Fonda and Frances Ford Seymour, who also had some Dutch American background through the Brokaw clan. Both Peter and his older sister Jane had a difficult childhood because of the suicide death of their mother in 1950. Peter was then only 10 years old, so one can well imagine what a shock that must have been to him and his sister.
Peter decided to follow the profession of his father, and received his college education at the University of Omaha. Why the University of Omaha, one may ask. Omaha is the city where the Omaha Community Playhouse is located. The Omaha Community Playhouse is the place where many actors including Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando found and founded their acting careers. So either Henry Fonda suggested to Peter or Peter on his own decided to attend the University of Omaha, a University which is located in the City of Omaha, Nebraska.
In the early sixties Peter found acting roles on Broadway where he made his name and became known in the acting field, especially through his participation in the Broadway stage play, “Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole”. From there he went on to Hollywood.
His first film role was the romantic lead in “Tammy and the Doctor” in 1963. His performance in his first film helped him get a role in a more prominent film, entitled “Lileth” in 1964. During that same year he also played the male leads in “The Young Lovers” and in “The Victors”.
Fonda then became involved in the rock counter culture for several years. He even tried to become a rock singer, a profession in which he failed miserably. He did not realize what the maxim is to be good in any field and especially in stage and screen. To become good or excellent you must stick with your area of specialty. During that period of time he was even offered the lead role in such eventual block busters as “Love Story” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, but he turned both offers down, much to the consternation of his famous father, Henry Fonda.
Peter Fonda soon realized that one needs to stick at what one is good at, and in 1968 he became involved with the planning of the eventual film, “Easy Rider”. Fonda co-wrote the screenplay and produced the film and he was the main actor in the film. The film was an enormous success, and Fonda and his co-authors were nominated by the Academy Award [TM] organization for Best Original Screenplay.
From that period on Fonda was in quite a number of not so notable films, in a variety of roles. In 1997 he received recognition for his role in “Ulee’s Gold”. Fonda’s performance in the film resulted in an Academy Award [TM] nomination for Best Actor. Fonda continued to perform a variety of roles in films up to the present day.
During his entire screen and stage performance career, Fonda has performed in about 80 films as an actor, in three films as a director, in two films as a writer, and in one film as a producer. Fonda directed the films, “Wanda Nevada” in 1979, “Idaho Transfer” in 1973, and “The Hired Hand” in 1971. He wrote or co-wrote “Easy Rider” in 1969 and “Fatal Mission” in 1990. Fonda was the producer for “Easy Rider” in 1969. In addition to the above, Fonda has appeared in numerous television performances, interviews and guest appearances.
As is true for his father Henry and his sister Jane, Peter is of solid Dutch American background. His ancestral forefather, Jellis Douw Fonda [1614-1659] was born in Friesland, a part of Holland that is now a province of The Netherlands. There is some indication that the original Fonda family lived in Italy for some time and that is where the name Fonda originated. The Fonda family settled in the village of Fonda near Albany, New York. The village is still there and a number of distant Fonda relatives still live there to this day.
Peter Fonda, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Fonda
Peter Fonda, www.imdb.com/name/nm0001228
Fonda Family Genealogy, www.fonda.org
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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