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Jane Fonda (born December 21, 1937) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. Since the 1960s Fonda has appeared in several movies. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other awards and nominations. She initially announced her retirement from acting in 1991, and said for many years that she would never act again, but she returned to film in 2005 with Monster in Law, and later Georgia Rule released in 2007. She also produced and starred in several exercise videos released between 1982 and 1995.
Fonda has served as an activist for many political causes, one of the most notable and controversial of which was her opposition to the Vietnam War. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women. She describes herself as a liberal and a feminist. Since 2001, Fonda has been a Christian. She published an autobiography in 2005 and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Fonda was born in New York City to actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Ford Seymour, and named Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda. When Jane was twelve years old, her mother committed suicide after voluntarily seeking treatment at a psychiatric hospital. Henry Fonda had distant Italian ancestry, and the surname Fonda originates from Italy. The "Lady" part of Jane Fonda's name was apparently inspired by Lady Jane Seymour, to whom she is distantly related on her mother's side. The "Jayne" comes from her father's middle name Jaynes.
Her brother, Peter Fonda (born 1940), and her niece Bridget Fonda (born 1964), are also actors. She has an older half-sister, Frances Brokaw, as well as an adopted sister, Amy, who was born in 1953.
After Seymour's suicide, Henry Fonda married Susan Blanchard, who was only 10 years older than Jane. Although all of Henry's children seemed to like Blanchard, Blanchard and Henry Fonda divorced before Jane turned 20.
Before starting her acting career, Fonda was a fashion model, gracing the cover of Vogue magazine twice. Fonda became interested in acting in 1954, while appearing with her father in a charity performance of The Country Girl, at the Omaha Community Theatre. After attending Vassar College in New York, she was introduced by her father to renowned drama teacher Lee Strasberg in 1958, and subsequently joined his Actors Studio.
Her stage work in the late 1950s laid the foundation for her film career in the 1960s. She averaged almost two movies a year throughout the decade, starting in 1960 with Tall Story, in which she recreated one of her Broadway roles as a college cheerleader pursuing a basketball star, played by Anthony Perkins. Period of Adjustment and Walk on the Wild Side followed in 1962. In A Walk on the Wild Side, Fonda played a prostitute, and earned a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.
Fonda won her first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1971, again playing a prostitute, the gamine Bree Daniel, in the detective murder mystery Klute. Her second Award was in 1978 for Coming Home, the story of a disabled Vietnam War veteran's difficulty in re-entering civilian life.
In 1980, Fonda starred in the office-politics comedy Nine to Five with Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Her character was re-entering the workforce, after a divorce had devastated both her finances and self-confidence. The film was one of Fonda's greatest financial successes, contributing significantly to her wealth.
She had long wanted to work with her father, hoping it would help their strained relationship. She achieved this goal when she was cast as a supporting actress alongside Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond (1981). This film brought Henry Fonda his first Academy Award for Best Actor, which Jane accepted on his behalf, as he was ill and home bound. He died five months later.
Fonda continued appearing in feature films throughout the 1980s, most notably her role of Dr. Martha Livingston in Agnes of God. She finished off the decade by appearing in Old Gringo, for which she received a worst actress Razzie nomination.
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