Jane Fonda (born Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda; December 21, 1937) is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an actress. After 15 years of retirement, she returned to film in 2005 with Monster in Law, followed by Georgia Rule two years later. She also produced and starred in over 20 exercise videos released between 1982 and 1995, and once again in 2010.
Fonda has been an activist for many political causes; her opposition to the Vietnam War and associated activities were controversial. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women. She describes herself as a liberal and a feminist. In 2005 Fonda worked alongside Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to co-found 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 currently serves on the board of the organization. Since 2001, Fonda has been a Christian. She published an autobiography in 2005, and in 2011, she published a second memoir, Prime Time.
Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda was born in New York City, the daughter of actor Henry Fonda and the Canadian-born socialite Frances Ford Seymour Brokaw. Fonda's surname originates from her patrilineal Dutch ancestry; she is also of English descent. She was named after the third wife of English king Henry VIII, Lady Jane Seymour, to whom she is distantly related on her mother's side.Her brother, Peter Fonda (born 1940), and his daughter Bridget Fonda, also are actors. Fonda had a maternal half-sister, Frances, who died in 2008. In 1950, when Fonda was 12, her mother committed suicide while under treatment at a psychiatric hospital. Later that year Fonda's father married socialite Susan Blanchard (born 1928), only nine years his daughter's senior; this marriage would end in divorce.
At age 15, Fonda taught dance at Fire Island Pines, New York. She attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, but dropped out to become a fashion model. She was twice featured on the cover of Vogue
In 1968, she played the lead role in the science fiction spoof Barbarella, directed by her French film director husband Roger Vadim, which established her status as a sex symbol. In contrast, the tragedy They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) won her critical acclaim, and she earned her first Oscar nomination for the role. Fonda was very selective by the end of the 1960s, turning down lead roles in Rosemary's Baby and Bonnie and Clyde.
Fonda won her first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1971, playing a high-class call girl, Bree Daniels, in the murder mystery Klute. She won her second Oscar in 1978 for Coming Home, as a Marine officer's wife who volunteers at a veterans' hospital and becomes involved with a disabled Vietnam War veteran (played by Jon Voight).
Between Klute in 1971 and Fun With Dick and Jane in 1977, Fonda did not have a major film success. She appeared in A Doll's House (1973), Steelyard Blues and The Blue Bird (1976). At one point, she suggested her politics had worked against her: "I can't say I was blacklisted, but I was greylisted." However, in her 2005 autobiography, My Life So Far, she rejected such simplification. "The suggestion is that because of my actions against the war my career had been destroyed ... But the truth is that my career, far from being destroyed after the war, flourished with a vigor it had not previously enjoyed." She reduced acting because of her political activism providing a new focus in her life. Her return to acting in a series of 'issue-driven' films reflected this new focus.
In 1972, Fonda starred as a reporter alongside Yves Montand in Jean-Luc Godard's and Jean-Pierre Gorin's film Tout va bien. The film's directors made Letter to Jane, in which the two spent nearly an hour discussing a news photograph of Fonda.
Through her production company, IPC Films, she produced films that helped return her to star status. The 1977 comedy film Fun With Dick and Jane is generally considered her "comeback" picture. She also received positive reviews, BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress, and an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the playwright Lillian Hellman in the 1977 film Julia. During this period, Fonda announced that she would make only films that focused on important issues, and she generally stuck to her word. She turned down An Unmarried Woman because she felt the part was not relevant. She followed with popular and successful films such as The China Syndrome (1979), about a cover-up of an accident in a nuclear power plant; and The Electric Horseman (1979) with her previous co-star, Robert Redford.