It was released by the American Film Institute Board of Trustees on Oct. 4, 2013, the actress Jane Fonda has been selected to receive the 42nd AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. The AFI Achievement is considered to the highest honor to bestowed upon a film actor. Fonda will be presented the award at a gala tribute on June 5, 2014, in Los Angeles, Calif. The event will be aired on TNT in June 2014 and an encore showing will be presented on Turner Classic Movies.
Jane Fonda is part of the Fonda acting family. Her father, Henry Fonda was honored with the sixth AFI Achievement Award in 1978. Her brother Peter Fonda and niece Bridget Fonda are also actors. Jane Fonda has been nominated for seven Academy Awards and won 2 Oscars for her work in "Klute" (1972) and "Coming Home" (1978).
Jane Fonda was born Lady Jane Seymour Fonda in New York City in 1937. Her father, actor Henry Fonda, was just getting started in the industry. Her mother, Frances Seymour Brokaw, was a socialite. When Jane Fonda was twelve, her father left her mother for a younger woman, Susan Blanchard. The break was too much for Frances and she placed herself in a sanitarium and committed suicide. Jane was left to be raised by her father, whom was known to be emotionally distant in his personal relationships.
Jane's first acting job was at 17 when she appeared in a community production of "The Country Girl," at the Omaha Community Theater. She studied at the famous Actors Studio in 1958, studying with the famed method actor Lee Strasberg. Her film debut came in 1958, starring opposite Anthony Perkins, in "Tall Story" (1960).
Her early films were mostly light comedies, including "Period of Adjustment" (1962), "Any Wednesday" (1966) and "Barefoot in the Park" (1967). It was her role in "Barbarella" that made Fonda a sex symbol and established her a spot in pop culture. In the late 1960's Fonda started working in dramatic roles. She starred in the film "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" in 1969. It was for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They" that Fonda received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. In 1971, she starred in "Klute, and it was her role as a prostitute Bree Daniels that earned Fonda her first Academy Award win for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
The 1970's brought Fonda one good film after another, starring in "A Doll's House" (1972), "The Blue Bird" (1976), "Julia" (1977) , "Coming Home" (1978), "Comes a Horseman" (1978), "The China Syndrome" (1979) and "The Electric Horseman" (1979). She was nominated for three addition Academy Awards for her performances in "Julia," "Coming Home" and "The China Syndrome." It was her role in "Coming Home" that cinched her second Oscar.
In 1981, Fonda secured the rights to the play "On Golden Pond" and starred in the film opposite her father and Katharine Hepburn. The film won Henry Fonda is only Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1982, which Jane accepted the award, as Henry Fonda was very ill at the time and passed away later that year. Jane also received a nomination for her performance in the film, but she would state later that it was this film that finally brought her close to her own father. Something the no award could top.
Fonda found success in other film projects of the 1980's including roles in "Nine to Five" (1980), "Agnes of God" (1985) and "Stanley and Iris" (1989). She announce her retirement after the filming of "Stanley and Iris."
After her divorce from Ted Turner, Fonda returned to acting, performing on Broadway in "33 Variations" (2009), and appearing in the films "Monster-In-Law (2005), "Georgia Rule" (2007) and "Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (2011). She is currently working in the HBO dramatic series "The Newsroom."
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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones & no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work on SilentHollywood.com