Henry Fonda was a brilliant character actor who portrayed lasting roles of calm, heroic, decisive, defensive, strong, and believable characters. He was forthright, honest, and impressionable and had a career lasting over 56 years starring in over 100 theater performances, movies, and television shows.
Born Henry Jaynes Fonda to William Brace Fonda and Herberta Krueger Jaynes in Grand Island Nebraska, USA.Marlon Brando
’s mother Dorothy Brando helped Henry start his career in the Omaha Community Playhouse. Other notables from Omaha include Alexander Graham Bell
.’ It was previewed at the San Francisco World's Fair starring Don Amechi as Alexander Graham Bell
and Henry Fonda as Thomas Watson.
In 1940 he played Tom Joad in ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’
In 1955 he starred in War and Peace opposite Audrey Hepburn.
In 1956 he played an innocent man mistaken for a criminal as Manny Balestrero in the Alfred Hitchcock film ‘The Wrong Man.’
Frank Sinatra and Henry Fonda phone numbers were found inside Marilyn Monroe
's personal telephone book in 1962.
He was Mr. Davis juror #8 in ‘12 Angry Men’ in 1957.
In 1968 he played a hired killer in 'Once Upon a Time in the West'.
When Jane Fonda was being interviewed in a Barbara Walters interview she said that her father in 1968 became very close to Lucille Ball during the filming of “Yours, Mine, and ours.”
He was a friend of actor James Stewart and writer John Steinbeck. At John Steinbeck’s funeral in 1968 he read three short poems and on the hearing of his passing said, “John was a man of gigantic talent and a fine person.”
In 1969 he played a villain in ‘Once Upon a Time in the West.’
In 1981 he performed in his last film “On Golden Pond”. His performance across Katharine Hepburn
and his daughter Jane Fonda as Norman Thayer, won him his first Oscar for Best Actor and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. The film was a blockbuster and took in $120 million at the box office.
Henry introduced his daughter Jane Fonda to be trained by Lee Strasberg with techniques of “The Method.” Other actors trained by Lee at the Actors’ Studio include Marlon Brando
’s mentor Stella Adler, Rod Steiger, Eli Wallach, Marilyn Monroe
, Patricia Neal, Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro. When Marilyn Monroe
died in 1962 she left 75% of her estate to Lee Strasberg. In 2006 Marilyn Monroe
’s estate made $8 Million, thereby leaving Stasberg’s family $6 Million.
August 12, 1982: Suffering from heart disease and prostrate cancer, Fonda died at his home in Los Angeles from a heart attack (cardiorespiratory arrest). His wife of seventeen years Shirlee Mae Adams and his daughter Jane Fonda were with him as he passed. Jane’s Husband was Ted Turner and on the anniversary of Fonda’s 100th Birthday Turner Classic Movies conducted a marathon of his films. Coinciding with his 100th Birthday the U.S. Post Office released a postage stamp of Fonda.