Jane Fonda was born in New York City in 1937, the daughter of Henry Fonda and Frances Seymour Fonda. She attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College. In her early twenties, Fonda studied with renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg and became a member of the Actors Studio in New York.
Fonda's work on stage and screen has earned numerous nominations and awards, including Oscars (Best Actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home) and an Emmy for her performance in The Dollmaker (1984). Along with starring roles in dozens of highly acclaimed productions, Fonda also took on responsibilities as a film and television producer. Her credits include Coming Home, The China Syndrome (1979), Nine to Five (1980), Rollover (1981), ON GOLDEN POND (1981) (co-produced with Bruce Gilbert), The Morning After (1986) and The Dollmaker.
In 2007 Fonda received an Honorary Palme d'Or from the Cannes Film Festival and was one of only three people ever to be granted this honor until then.
Fonda returned to Broadway in March 2009 and received a Tony Award nomination for her role in Moisés Kaufman's 33 Variations. In February 2011 she reprised her Tony-nominated role in 33 Variations at The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
Fonda revolutionized the fitness industry with the release of Jane Fonda's Workout in 1982. She followed with the production of 23 home exercise videos, 13 audio recordings and five books – selling 17 million copies all together. The original Jane Fonda's Workout video remains the top grossing home video of all time.
In May 2005, Random House published Fonda's memoirs, My Life So Far, which immediately went to #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. That same spring Monster-in-Law (2005), her first film in 15 years, also became the #1 box office hit, making Fonda the first person to simultaneously have a #1 book and #1 movie.
2009 to 2010 was an incredible time for Fonda; she released a set of Fitness DVDs under her new label Prime Time, aimed at the boomer/senior generation and released by Lionsgate. Additional fitness Prime Time DVDs were released in 2011. Her latest book,Prime Time, released in 2011, offers a comprehensive guide to living life to the fullest, particularly beyond middle age.
In 2011, Fonda appeared in Et Si On Vivait Tous Ensemble, a French comedy (in French), followed by Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (2011), co-starring Catherine Keener. She will next appear as Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels's The Butler (2013) and with Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell in Better Living Through Chemistry (2013).
In addition to her tremendous success as a stage and screen actress, Jane Fonda focuses much of her time on activism and social change – with much of her work devoted to the program she founded in 1995, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP). Fonda now serves as Chair Emeritus of this statewide effort to reduce the high rates of adolescent pregnancy in Georgia through community, youth and family development, training of professionals who work with adolescents, and legislative advocacy.
Fonda has long been known for activism and advocacy on environmental issues, peace, and the empowerment of women and girls. She is on the board of the Women's Media Center, which she co-founded in 2004 with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan; she sits on the board of V-Day: Until The Violence Stops, a global effort to stop violence against women and girls begun in 1998 by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues.
At the Emory School of Medicine, Fonda established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, which engages in research, curriculum development, and trainings that broaden understanding of adolescent development and reproductive health and enhance service delivery to children, youth and families. In addition, her gift has endowed a faculty chair in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Emory University School of Medicine named the Marion Howard Chair in Adolescent Reproductive Health.
In 1994, Fonda was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.
Fonda is an avid reader, writer, hiker, fly fisherwoman and meditator. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Photo credit Firooz Zahedi