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Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda

1982: Was unable to be present at the 1982 Academy Awards ceremony to accept his best actor Oscar for On Golden Pond (1981). His award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Jane Fonda.

A friendship and collaboration of nearly 20 years was ended when director John Ford sucker-punched him while making Mister Roberts (1955).

Appeared in three movies based exclusively on World War II battles. The Longest Day (1962), Battle of the Bulge (1965) and Midway (1976).

At 76, he was the oldest person to win a best actor Oscar.

Awarded "Father of The Year" in 1963 by the Father's Day Mother's Day Council, Inc.



Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 284-287. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

Considered for the leading role of "Ladri di biciclette" (1948).

Contrary to popular belief, Fonda did approve of his daughter Jane's anti-war activism during Vietnam and at AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Henry Fonda (1978) (TV) told her critics to "shut up", because "she's perfect".

Currenty holds the record for the longest gap between acting Oscar nominations. His first nomination was for The The Grapes of Wrath (1940) in 1940, his second was for On Golden Pond (1981) in 1981, 41 years later. He received one other Oscar nomination in the period between his two acting nominations, that was for producer of 12 Angry Men (1957) in 1957.

Divorced Margaret Sullavan after two months.

During a Barbara Walters interview, Jane Fonda claimed that her father was deeply in love with Lucille Ball and that the two were "very close" during the filming of Yours, Mine and Ours (1968).

Earned the rank of Life Scout and became a scout master as an adult.

Father of Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda and Amy Fonda. Stepfather of Pan, from marriage to Frances Brokaw. Grandfather of Bridget Fonda, Justin Fonda, Vanessa Vadim and Troy Garity. Ex-father-in-law of Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner.

Fonda told his third wife Susan Blanchard to stay away from Ward Bond, whose ultra-conservative views and active support for McCarthyism he despised.

Fonda, who played the second Commander in Chief-Pacific (CINCPAC II) in In Harm's Way (1965), was actually a naval veteran of World War II who served in the Pacific Theater. After making The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Fonda enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II, saying, "I don't want to be in a fake war in a studio." He served in the Navy for three years, initially as a Quartermaster 3rd Class on the destroyer USS Satterlee; later, Fonda was commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) in Air Combat Intelligence. For his service in the Central Pacific, he won the Bronze Star, the fourth highest award for bravery or meritorious service in conflict with the enemy.

Formed a partnership with actors Robert Ryan and Martha Scott in 1968, co-founding the theatrical production company Plumstead Playhouse in New York. Later called the Plumstead Theatre Society, it co-produced the Broadway production of First Monday in October, starring Fonda and Jane Alexander.

He and his daughter Jane Fonda were the first father-daughter couple to be Oscar-nominated the same year (1982).

He left a clause in his will requesting that there be no funeral or memorial service.

He periodically returned to the legitimate stage throughout his career (Mister Roberts, Critic's Choice and First Monday in October), but missed out on the chance to create the role of George in the original Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. His agent rejected the script out of hand, without consulting him. The agent gave as his reason the assertion that, "You don't want to be in a play about four people yelling at each other all the time." Fonda, who was an admirer of playwright Edward Albee's talents, was furious. It didn't help matters when old friends like James Stewart and his wife Gloria Stewart, or even his own daughter Jane, told him that they saw the play in New York and couldn't picture anyone but Fonda in the lead. Finally seeing the show himself, Fonda was duly impressed by Arthur Hill's performance in the role, and conceded that he couldn't have played the part any better.

He returned to Broadway in 1974 for the biographical drama Clarence Darrow for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. Fonda's health had been deteriorating for years, but his first outward symptoms occurred after an April 1974 performance when he collapsed from exhaustion. After the appearance of a heart arrhythmia brought on by prostate cancer, a pacemaker was installed and Fonda returned to the play in the following year. After the run of the 1978 play First Monday of October, he took the advice of his doctors and quit the rigors of live stage, though he continued to star in films and on television.

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