Jane Fonda Turns 85

Jane Fonda has been in the spotlight over the last six decades as one of the most famous women in the planet

Jane Fonda Turns 85

Actress, TV celebrity, Sex Symbol and activist, Jane Fonda has been in the spotlight over the last six decades as one of the most famous women in the planet. We look back at her life and career on the day she turns 85

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, she was one of the most famous sex symbols in the world. Born into Hollywood Royalty father Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Ford Seymour on December 21, 1937 in New York City, the sister of the also acclaimed actor and director Peter Fonda, Jane Fonda was never just looks only. Behind the actress and TV celebrity that during the 1980’s put everyone exercising with her popular Workout VHS videos, there’s also Hanoi Jane, the fierce and passionate activist for a number of causes. She earned the Hanoi Jane nickname in 1972 during the Vietnam War when she was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun on a 1972 visit to Hanoi. During the 1960’s and 1970’s her activism clashed with her sex symbol status. The same woman who played sexy and sensual characters on the big screen, was also not afraid to put in risk her successful acting career for what she believed. The Vietnam War was her first journey into activism, for that, she was arrested several times, and after her photo in Hanoi was published, Hollywood blacklisted her, and it did damaged her acting career for several years. But let’s go back a little bit, when she made her debut as an actress at age 23 in 1960 on the Broadway play “There Was a Little Girl”, for which she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, the first of many nominations and future awards in recognition for her talent. That same year, she made her screen debut with the romantic comedy “Tall Story”. During the whole 1960’s she rose to prominence and earned worldwide success starring in films such as “Period of Adjustment” (1962), “Sunday in New York” (1963), “Cat Ballou” (1965) and “Barefoot in the Park” (1967). Her signature role of that era remains to this day the 1968 sci-fi adventure “Barbarella”, directed by her then husband , the French director Roger Vadim, former husband of another sex symbol, Brigitte Bardot.

In “Barbarella”, she played the lead role, the iconic “space babe” that goes on an adventure across several planets and galaxies, using her sensuality as a weapon. The film, which since then became a cult movie, solidified Jane Fonda’s status of sex symbol, despite being an European production, outside the Hollywood environment she was used to. From there, she went on to play several memorable roles, in a string of blockbusters that earned her the first Academy Award nomination for “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (1969) and later received the Academy Award for Best Actress with the 1971 movie “Klute”, later that decade she got another Academy Award for “Coming Home” in 1978 and four more nominations for “Julia” (1977), “The China Syndrome” (1979), “On Golden Pond” (1981), and “The Morning After” (1986). The late 1960’s and early 1970’s were fertile for Jane Fonda’s activism, with the counterculture at it’s peak, Fonda came out as a proud feminist. Other causes she embraced were protesing the Iraq War, violence against women, environmentalism and LGBT. Hollywood did “punish” her for all that she believed and stood for loudly, with her career visibly falling during the 1980’s, however, that decade, she found herself another niche that brought her to millions worldwide, her VHS home videos of “Jane Fonda’s Workout”, the first of 22 was released in 1982, a successful series that would last 13 years and sell over 17 million copies, becoming the highest-selling VHS of all time. She famously married media mogul Ted Turner in 1991, subsequently retiring from acting due to a row of unsuccessful movies. The actress divorced Turner in 2001 after a ten year marriage, and soon after returned to the screen, first with “Monster-In-Law” in 2005. However, it was the 2010’s the decade where Fonda fully re-launched her career, with instant success, more than thirty years after Hollywood “punished” her.

Some of the movies she starred during the 2010’s include “The Butler” (2013), “This Is Where I Leave You” (2014), “Youth” (2015), “Our Souls at Night” (2017), and “Book Club” (2018). However, her most successful comeback role was in the HBO series “The Newsroom” that earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and later, in the Netflix comedy series “Grace and Frankie”, which debuted in 2015 and where she plays one of the lead roles, Grace. The popular series, still running, earned Jane Fonda nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. Today at age 84, Jane Fonda still fights for what she believes, no matter who or what. In 2005, she co-founded the Women’s Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training. More recently, in October 2019 Fonda was arrested three times in consecutive weeks protesting climate change outside the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The legendary actress was arrested first on October 11 with members of the group Oil Change International. She was also arrested with “Grace and Frankie” co-star Sam Waterston on October 18, and with actor Ted Danson on October 25. On November 1, Fonda was arrested for the fourth consecutive Friday, together with Catherine Keener and Rosanna Arquette Jane Fonda was never just only a pretty face or a sex symbol, two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Honorary Golden Lion among numerous other nominations and awards, at 85, still standing up for what she believes regardless the consequences for her career and name, proves that. Recently, Fonda told about being sick with cancer, which according to her, is currently in remission.

Look back at Jane Fonda in her iconic role of Barbarella, 1968

Also watch a clip of Jane Fonda’s Workout, her successful VHS Home Video collection of exercise

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