Left-wing Hollywood icon Jane Fonda will receive filmdom's highest honor for her movie career when the American Film Institute awards her with the 42nd AFI Life Achievement Award, according to the group's current board chairman, Howard Stringer on Friday.
The actual award will be presented to the 75-year-old Fonda in June 2014 in Los Angeles during a televised gala aired on national television. Ironically, both the live award ceremony and its reruns will appear on TV networks owned by her former husband Ted Turner.
"Jane Fonda is American film royalty," Stringer gushed in a press statement.
"A bright light first introduced to the world as the daughter of Henry Fonda, the world watched as she found her own voice and forged her own path as an actor and a cultural icon. Today she stands tall among the giants of American film, and it is AFI's honor to present Jane Fonda with its 42nd Life Achievement Award," Stringer stated.
But what has helped to make Fonda one of history's most famous movie stars is not the fact she won two Oscars (Klute, Coming Home) or appeared in over 40 motion picture (China Syndome, On Golden Pond, The Butler, Cat Ballou, Barbarella, Barefoot in the Park, etc.), it was her political activism that made her at once the most loved and the most hated American actress of all time, especially her trip to North Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War, according to several former Vietnam war veterans. To this day, she is called Hanoi Jane.
"She was loved by the so-called Hollywood that heralded 'radical chic' and by the university professors and student radicals who detested the U.S. military and the anti-communist political leaders," said Joseph Mangino, a former U.S. Army artillery sergeant.
"She should have been arrested and prosecuted for being a traitor," said Mangino.
"The Fonda trip to Hanoi became unforgettable for her flagrant disregard for her fellow Americans rotting away in prison camps and because photographs of her with North Vietnam officials infuriated many Americans, especially Americans who served in the military and their families. In fact, decades later, many Americans still regard her as a traitor to her country in a time of war," said Thomas O'Halleran, who served as a Marine platoon leader in Vietnam and a police officer when he returned to the United States.
During her visit, she called the American military "war criminals." And when POWs returned home and described mistreatment by the North Vietnamese, she said Americans should "not hail the POWs as heroes, because they are hypocrites and liars."
According to a Truth or Fiction story:
"From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the 'Hanoi Hilton',,, the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a 'peace delegation' visit.
"They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it , in the palm of his hand.
"When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.
"At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper..
"Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day."
"Instead of giving her another phony acting award, someone should give her an arrest warrant for betraying those prisoners, and aiding and abetting the murderous North Vietnamese thugs," said Alan Strang, a former military intelligence officer and police lieutenant.
The sponsor of the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Jane Fonda is American Airlines, the official airline of the American Film Institute.