Jane Fonda, born Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda, daughter of the great actor, Henry Fonda and Francis Ford Seymour, made her film debut April 6, 1960 in Tall Story. Tall Story is a 1960 American romantic comedy film made by Warner Bros., directed by Joshua Logan and starring Anthony Perkins and Jane Fonda. The film was the first screen role for Fonda and she portrays a character who is the complete opposite of the independent liberated woman she later personified.
Jane went on to become an Oscar winning actress, winning Best Actress Oscars for her roles in Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978). She also became a political activist and gained the nickname, Hanoi Jane. Fonda visited Hanoi in July 1972. During her trip, Fonda made ten radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as “war criminals”. During the course of her visit, Fonda visited American prisoners of war (POWs), and brought back messages from them to their families. Her visits to the POW camp led to persistent and exaggerated rumors repeated widely in the press, and decades later have continued to circulate on the Internet. Fonda has personally denied the rumors. Jane has also been a longtime supporter of feminist causes. She states that for many years, she feared to call herself a feminist, because she believed that all feminists were “anti-male”. But now, with her increased understanding of patriarchy, she feels that feminism is beneficial to both men and women, and states that she “still loves men”.
In the 1980’s she released a slew of exercise videoes, In 1982, Fonda released her first exercise video, titled Jane Fonda’s Workout, inspired by her best-selling book, Jane Fonda’s Workout Book. The Jane Fonda’s Workout became the highest selling home video of the next few years, selling over a million copies. The video’s release led many people to buy the then-new VCR in order to watch and perform the workout at home. Fonda subsequently released 23 workout videos with the series selling a total of 17 million copies combined, more than any other exercise series. She also released five workout books and thirteen audio programs, through 1995. After a fifteen-year hiatus, she released two new fitness videos on DVD in 2010, aiming at an older audience.
Fonda married her first husband Roger Vadim in 1965. The couple had a daughter, Vanessa, born in 1968 and named for actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave. In 1973, shortly after her divorce from Vadim, Fonda married activist Tom Hayden. Their son, Troy O’Donovan Garity (born 1973), was given his paternal grandmother’s surname, Garity, since the names “Fonda and Hayden carried too much baggage” and “Troy”, an Americanization of the Vietnamese name “Troi”. Fonda and Hayden unofficially adopted an African-American teenager, Mary Luana Williams (known as Lulu), who was the daughter of members of the Black Panthers. Fonda and Hayden divorced in 1989.Fonda married her third husband, cable-television tycoon and CNN founder Ted Turner, in 1991. The pair divorced in 2001. Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Fonda underwent a lumpectomy in November 2010, and has recovered.
Regardles of her political and or feminist views, Jane Fonda is an outstanding actress and even after coming out of retirmement in May 2005, she returned to the screen with a box office success Monster-in-Law. She continues to act in films and stage and at 71 she says she will continue to act until she is no longer able.