Jane Seymour Fonda (born December 21, 1937) is an American actress, political activist, environmentalist, and former fashion model. Born to socialite Frances Ford Seymour and actor Henry Fonda (her brother Peter Fonda was also an actor), she made her acting debut with the 1960 Broadway play There Was a Little Girl, for which she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, and made her screen debut later the same year with the romantic comedy Tall Story, with Anthony Perkins. She rose to prominence in the 1960s with such films as George Roy Hill‘s Period of Adjustment (1962), with Anthony Franciosa, Jim Hutton, and Lois Nettleton; Sunday in New York (1963), with Rod Taylor and Cliff Robertson; Cat Ballou (1965), with Lee Marvin; Barefoot in the Park (1967), with Robert Redford; and Barbarella (1968), directed by her first husband, Roger Vadim.
Other films in the 60s include A Walk on the Wild Side (1962), with Laurence Harvey, Capucine, Anne Baxter, and Barbara Stanwyck; George Cukor‘s The Chapman Report (1962), with Shelley Winters, Claire Bloom, Glynis Johns, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.; In the Cool of the Day (1963), with Peter Finch, Angela Lansbury, Arthur Hill, Constance Cummings, Nigel Davenport, and John Le Mesurier; Arthur Penn’s The Chase (1966), with Marlon Brando, Redford, E.G. Marshall, Angie Dickinson, Janice Rule, Miriam Hopkins, Martha Hyer, Robert Duvall, and James Fox; Any Wednesday (1966), with Jason Robards and Dean Jones; and Otto Preminger‘s Hurry Sundown (1967), with Michael Caine, Faye Dunaway, Burgess Meredith, and George Kennedy.
A seven-time Academy Award nominee, she received her first nomination for Sidney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), with Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Red Buttons, Bruce Dern, Bonnie Bedelia, and Gig Young; and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress twice in the 1970s, for Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971), with Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi, and Roy Scheider; and Hal Ashby’s Coming Home (1978) with Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine and Robert Ginty.
Her other nominations were for Fred Zinnermann‘s Julia (1977), with Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Hal Holbrook, Rosemary Murphy, Maximilian Schell and Meryl Streep; James Bridges’ The China Syndrome (1979), with Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Scott Brady, James Hampton, Peter Donat, Richard Herd, and Wilford Brimley; Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond (1981), with her father Henry and Katharine Hepburn; and Sidney Lumet’s The Morning After (1986), with Jeff Bridges and Raul Julia.
Consecutive hits Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), with George Segal; California Suite (1978), with with Alan Alda, Caine, Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Richard Pryor, and Maggie Smith; The Electric Horseman (1979), with Redford; and 9 to 5 (1980), with Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Dabney Coleman; sustained Fonda’s box-office drawing power, and she won a Primetime Emmy Award for her performance in the TV film The Dollmaker (1984).
Other films include Steelyard Blues (1973), with Sutherland and Peter Boyle; A Doll’s House (1973), with David Warner and Trevor Howard; The Blue Bird (1976), with Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson, and Robert Morley; The Electric Horseman (1979), with James Caan, Robards, and Richard Farnsworth; Rollover (1981), with Kris Kristofferson and Hume Cronyn; Agnes of God (1985), with Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly; and Old Gringo (1989), with Gregory Peck and Jimmy Smits.
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, which would collectively sell over 17 million copies. Divorced from her second husband Tom Hayden, she married billionaire media mogul Ted Turner in 1991 and retired from acting, following a row of commercially unsuccessful films concluded by Martin Ritt‘s Stanley & Iris (1990), with Robert De Niro.
Fonda divorced Turner in 2001 and returned to the screen with the hit Monster-in-Law (2005). Although Georgia Rule (2007), with Lindsay Lohan and Felicity Huffman; was the star’s only other movie during the 2000s, in the early 2010s she fully re-launched her career. Subsequent films have included Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (2012), with Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Chace Crawford, Kyle MacLachlan, and Rosanna Arquette; The Butler (2013), with Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Alex Pettyfer, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, Minka Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Clarence Williams III; This Is Where I Leave You (2014), with Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, and Dax Shepard; Youth (2015), with Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Paul Dano; Our Souls at Night (2017), with Redford, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Judy Greer; and Book Club (2018), with Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen.
In 2009, she returned to Broadway after a 49-year absence from the stage, in the play 33 Variations which earned her a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, while her major recurring role in the HBO drama series The Newsroom (2012–14) earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She also released another five exercise videos between 2009 and 2012. She starred as Grace Hanson in the Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie (2015-2021), with Tomlin, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn; which earned her nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Fonda was a visible political activist in the counterculture era during the Vietnam War. She was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun on a 1972 visit to Hanoi, during which she gained the nickname “Hanoi Jane”. During this time she was effectively blacklisted in Hollywood. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women, and describes herself as a feminist and environmental activist. In 2005, along with Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, 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, and the creation of original content. Fonda serves on the board of the organization.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Tall Story (1960) – directed by Joshua Logan
- A String of Beads (1961) – directed by Fielder Cook – TV movie
- Walk on the Wild Side (1962) – directed by Edward Dmytryk
- The Chapman Report (1962) – directed by George Cukor
- Period of Adjustment (1962) – directed by George Roy Hill
- In the Cool of the Day (1963) – directed by Robert Stevens
- Sunday in New York (1963) – directed by Peter Tewksbury
- Joy House (1964) – directed by René Clément
- Circle of Love (1964) – directed by Roger Vadim
- Cat Ballou (1965) – directed by Elliot Silverstein
- The Chase (1966) – directed by Arthur Penn
- The Game Is Over (1966) – directed by Roger Vadim
- Any Wednesday (1966) – directed by Robert Ellis Miller
- Hurry Sundown (1967) – directed by Otto Preminger
- Barefoot in the Park (1967) – directed by Gene Saks
- Spirits of the Dead (1968) – directed by Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, & Roger Vadim – anthology
- Barbarella (1968) – directed by Roger Vadim
- They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) – directed by Sydney Pollack
- Klute (1971) – directed by Alan J. Pakula
- Tout Va Bien (1972) – directed by Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin
- Steelyard Blues (1973) – directed by Alan Myerson
- A Doll’s House (1973) – directed by Joseph Losey
- The Blue Bird (1976) – directed by George Cukor
- Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) – directed by Ted Kotcheff
- Julia (1977) – directed by Fred Zinnemann
- Coming Home (1978) – directed by Hal Ashby
- Comes a Horseman (1978) – directed by Alan J. Pakula
- California Suite (1978) – directed by Herbert Ross
- The China Syndrome (1979) – directed by James Bridges
- The Electric Horseman (1979) – directed by Sydney Pollack
- 9 to 5 (1980)** – directed by Colin Higgins
- On Golden Pond (1981) – directed by Mark Rydell
- Rollover (1981) – directed by Alan J. Pakula
- The Dollmaker (1984) – directed by Daniel Petrie – TV movie
- Agnes of God (1985) – directed by Norman Jewison
- The Morning After (1986) – directed by Sidney Lumet
- Leonard Part 6 (1987) – directed by Paul Wieland – uncredited cameo as herself
- Old Gringo (1989) – directed by Luis Puenzo
- Stanley & Iris (1990) – directed by Martin Ritt
- Monster-in-Law (2005) – directed by Robert Luketic
- Georgia Rule (2007) – directed by Garry Marshall
- All Together (2011) – directed by Stéphane Robelin
- Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (2012) – directed by Bruce Beresford
- The Butler (2013)* – directed by Lee Daniels
- Better Living Through Chemistry (2014) – directed by David Postmentier & Geoff Moore – cameo
- This Is Where I Leave You (2014)* – directed by Shawn Levy
- Youth (2015) – directed by Paolo Sorrentino
- Fathers and Daughters (2015) – directed by Gabriele Muccino
- Connected (2015) – directed by Luke Gilford – short
- Our Souls at Night (2017) – directed by Ritesh Batra
- Book Club (2018) – directed by Bill Holderman