Jane Fonda was named the 42nd recipient of AFI’s Life Achievement Award today by Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustees. Fonda will receive the honor at a tribute dinner on June 5, 2014 to be broadcast on TNT and its sister network TCM. “Jane Fonda is American film royalty,” said Stringer. “A bright light first introduced to the world as the daughter of Henry Fonda, the world watched as she found her own voice and forged her own path as an actor and a cultural icon.”
Jane Fonda is part of an American acting dynasty. Where others would have been defined by their place in the family tree – the daughter of an American screen legend, the wife of a famous director, activist or billionaire broadcaster – it is Fonda herself, an Academy Award®-winning actor of KLUTE (1971) and COMING HOME (1978) and star of more than 40 other films, whose image as an artist and activist eclipses all others. Her path through the starry firmament of Hollywood and the world beyond has ultimately been determined by the gravitational pull of her own power.
Jane Seymour Fonda was born in New York City in 1937 to a socialite, Frances Seymour Brokaw, and an up and coming actor, Henry Fonda. By the time she was old enough to pursue her own career, Fonda’s father had become a movie icon of American grit and integrity. At 17, she appeared with her father in a production of “The Country Girl” at the Omaha Community Theatre. She joined the Actors Studio in 1958, studied with Lee Strasberg and made her screen debut two years later opposite Anthony Perkins in TALL STORY (1960) directed by Joshua Logan
Fonda’s early screen roles revealed a talent for light comedy in well-crafted adaptations of Broadway plays like PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962), ANY WEDNESDAY (1966) and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (1967). Her role in BARBARELLA (1968) established her in pop culture before landing dramatic roles in THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? (1969) and KLUTE. Her portrayal of prostitute and stalking victim Bree Daniels earned Fonda her first Academy Award®. Fonda’s stirring performances in COMING HOME, JULIA (1977) and THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979) won praise from the nation’s film critics.
In the 1980s, Fonda defied expectations by writing “Jane Fonda’s Workout Book” and creating Jane Fonda’s Workout Video,” best-sellers that ignited a national aerobic exercise craze among baby boomers. In all, Fonda released two dozen fitness videos, six books and 13 audios.
Fonda’s acting triumph of the 1980s was the film adaptation of Ernest Thompson’s play, ON GOLDEN POND (1981), in which she appeared with her father – whose performance earned him his only Academy Award® for Best Actor. Fonda herself was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Other major films during this decade were NINE TO FIVE (1980), AGNES OF GOD (1985) and STANLEY AND IRIS (1989), after which she a announced her retirement.
Fonda triumphed on the Broadway stage in Moises Kaufman’s “33 Variations” and appeared in such films as MONSTER-IN-LAW (2005), GEORGIA RULE (2007) and PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING (2011). She currently plays Leona Lansing in the HBO series THE NEWSROOM.