On this day, August 12, 1982. with wife Shirlee and daughter Jane by his side, Henry Fonda died at his Los Angeles home. He was 77. Only a few months earlier, Fonda had received his only Oscar. The oldest person to win a Best Actor Oscar, he won it for his performance in On Golden Pond, in which he’d co-starred with Jane.
He made his Hollywood debut in 1935. After his Academy Award-nominated performance as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, a 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel about an Oklahoma family who moved west during the Dust Bowl his career gained momentum.
Throughout six decades in Hollywood, Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in such classics as The Ox-Bow Incident, Mister Roberts and 12 Angry Men. Later, Fonda moved both toward darker epics as Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and lighter roles in family comedies like Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball.
In 1999, he was named the sixth-Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
1881 – Cecil B. (Blount) DeMille (Academy Award-winning film producer; died Jan 21, 1959)
1910 – Jane Wyatt (Emmy Award-winning actress: Father Knows Best [1957, 1958-1959, 1959-1960]; Gentleman’s Agreement, Lost Horizon, Amityville 4; died Oct 20, 2006)
1911 – Cantinflas (Mario Moreno Reyes) (comic actor: Around the World in 80 Days, Pepe; Mexico’s vaudeville: carpas; died Apr 20, 1993)
1915 – Michael Kidd (Milton Greenwald) (choreographer, dancer: It’s Always Fair Weather, Smile; died Feb 1, 1997)
1917 – Marjorie Reynolds (Goodspeed) (actress: Gone with the Wind, The Time of Their Lives, Doomed to Die; died Feb 1, 1997)
1926 – John Derek (Derek Harris) (actor: All the King’s Men, Prince of Players, Ambush at Tomahawk Gap, Exodus; director: Bolero; married to Bo Derek; died May 22, 1998)
1931 – William Goldman (screen writer: Marathon Man, The Princess Bride, All the President’s Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Chaplin)
1939 – George Hamilton (actor: Love at First Bite, Act One, The Survivors, Zorro, the Gay Blade, Where the Boys Are, Evel Knievel, The Dead Don’t Die, Doc Hollywood)
1941 – Jennifer Warren (actress: Amazons, Slap Shot, The Intruder Within, Confessions of a Married Man, Fatal Beauty, Partners in Crime)
1954 – Sam J. Jones (actor: Texas Payback, Fists of Iron, Thunder in Paradise, Maximum Force, Fist of Honor, Silent Assassins, 10, Flash Gordon, The Highwayman)
1972 – Rebecca Gayheart (actress: Urban Legend, Jawbreaker, Scream 2, Beverly Hills, 90210, Shadow Hours)