Henry's daughter was no typical showbiz child. Oscar nods proved her talent, while her outspoken beliefs ruffled Hollywood's feathers. The turbulent life of the aerobics queen.
Born on 21 December 1937, in New York City, New York, Jane Fonda attended Vassar College, left to study art in Paris, returned to New York to dabble in modelling, and then began a stage career.
In 1955, she co-starred with her father, Henry Fonda, in a production of ‘The Country Girl’. Her screen debut was in ‘Tall Story’ (1960). She had a brief phase as a sex kitten under the direction of her French filmmaker husband Roger Vadim when he directed her in the science fiction spoof ‘Barbarella’. Her starring role in ‘They Shoot Horses, Don't They?’ in 1969 was the first time Fonda earned an Oscar nomination.
After divorcing Vadim, Fonda commenced an entirely new phase as a serious actress and committed radical. She married the political militant Tom Hayden, took a lead in opposing the Vietnam War (earning the nickname Hanoi Jane because she travelled to the Communist capital and posed for pictures there), and became increasingly identified as a spokesperson on issues of civil rights and women's rights.
At the same time she continued her screen career and won Oscars as best actress in ‘Klute’ (1971) and ‘Coming Home’ (1978). One of her finest moments came when she produced and appeared in ‘On Golden Pond’ (1982), which gave her father his Oscar-winning role.
In the 1980s, she embarked on a new venture, becoming immensely successful with a series of aerobic-exercise videos. Fonda would return to the world of fitness DVDs in 2010 with the launch of two new titles ‘Jane Fonda: Prime Time Walkout’ and ‘Jane Fonda: Prime Time Fit & Strong’. She divorced Hayden in 1989 and married media mogul Ted Turner (divorced 2001) and turned her attention to environmental issues.
In 2005, she published an autobiography, ‘My Life So Far’, and returned to the film screen with ‘Monster-in-Law’. Fonda also played the title character in the film ‘Georgia Rule’ with Lindsay Lohan.
In 2011 she starred in the indie film ‘Peace, Love & Misunderstanding’, directed by ‘Driving Miss Daisy's Bruce Beresford. Fonda plays the mother of Catherine Keener, who the 73-year-old described as "talented and original". In 2013, she played the role of Nancy Reagan in 'The Butler'.
Fonda also reprised the role of a Beethoven scholar in the play ‘33 Variations’, a part for which she was nominated a Tony, when she first took up the role on Broadway in 2009.
On her website, janefonda.com, the actress announced that the cast of the play received a standing ovation for the first official preview of ‘33 Variations’, and she quoted a reviewer, none other than Bridget Fonda's mother-in-law, who wrote: "Los Angeles is hungry for really good theatre and this was really good theatre."
During a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, Fonda described what she sees as a "cult of perfection", which she suggested has been created by the emergence of paparazzi.
She suggested that as a result of being constantly photographed, stars feel the need to constantly look perfect, and young people are subsequently trying to emulate an unrealistic ideal, which she said is "destructive".