Person

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda at the Cannes film festival (link) by Georges Biard is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 (link)
Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Film and TV Star

Liberal Activist

Born:

December 31, 1937 [20]

Jane Fonda is an Academy Award-winning actress and a longtime left-wing political activist. The daughter of actor Henry Fonda,[1] Jane Fonda won two Oscars for her roles in Klute and Coming Home. [2]

She became notorious for actions she took to oppose American involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1970s, most prominently allowing herself to be photographed while seated on a piece of North Vietnamese anti-aircraft artillery. Her activities on a tour of Communist-controlled North Vietnam during the war, for which she later expressed regret, earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” [3] She has continued to engage in left-wing political activism, being arrested as part of environmentalist demonstrations in Washington, D.C. in 2019.

Background and Personal Life

Jane Fonda is the daughter of actor Henry Fonda. Her brother Peter Fonda is also an actor. [4]

Fonda was married to Roger Vadim, the French film director, from 1965 to 1973. [5]

She later married Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) activist and Port Huron Statement author Tom Hayden. Hayden, who had toured Communist North Vietnam in 1965, reportedly encouraged Fonda to take the tour of North Vietnam that earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” [6] Hayden, who was elected to the California State Legislature, remained married to Fonda from 1973 to 1990; they had one son, Troy O’Donovan Garity, whom they reportedly named after a Viet Cong fighter and attempted assassin of Johnson administration Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and an early-20th century Irish Republican terrorist. [7]

After Hayden and Fonda divorced, Fonda married billionaire cable television mogul Ted Turner from 1991. They divorced in 2001. [8]

Advocacy Philanthropy

Fonda established the Fonda Family Foundation in the late 1990s and the Jane Fonda Foundation in the mid-2000s that focused largely on women’s reproductive health, which also included abortion rights. She claims to have been inspired to become involved supporting population control after she attended the 1994 United Nations Conference on Population and Development. [9]

‘Hanoi Jane’

Fonda visited Hanoi, the communist North Vietnamese capital, in 1972 and posed for photos on an anti-aircraft gun site that was used to shoot down American planes. Fonda spoke on Radio Hanoi at least 10 times lecturing U.S. pilots about the bombed sites. She gained the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” [10]

She has repeatedly apologized years later for the anti-aircraft photos to American soldiers fighting in the war. She told “60 Minutes”: “I will go to my grave regretting that.” [11]

During her time in Hanoi, Fonda also met with seven U.S. prisoners of war held captive by the North Vietnamese providing the appearance of how “humane” the communists were, even as she talked about how inhumane the U.S. military was. Of this, she said, “It’s not something that I will apologize for.” [12]

During the war, Fonda said American prisoners of war who said they were tortured by the North Vietnamese lied. She tweaked he statement a bit in 1973, saying: “I think probably some of these professional pilots were probably beaten to death by the people whose homes and families they were bombing and napalming. But the pilots who are saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic, I believe that that’s a lie.” [13]

Climate Protests

In 2019, Fonda began a campaign to raise awareness for environmentalist policy and to advocate for the Green New Deal legislation. She and other protesters, several of them also celebrities, were arrested at the Hart Senate Office Building. [14]

Before her arrest, she delivered a speech in front of the U.S. Capitol, saying, “The same toxic ideology that took this land from people who already lived here, that kidnapped people from Africa, turning them into slaves to work that stolen land, justified it by saying that those kidnapped and displaced people were not human beings, cut down the forests and exhausted the natural world just as it did the people — this foundational ideology is the same one that has brought us the human-driven climate change.” [15]

The New York Times reported that Fonda carefully orchestrated a “protest and arrest plan” over Labor Day 2019 to draw attention. [16]

Religious Beliefs

Fonda’s marriage with Turner, an atheist, ended when she converted to Christianity. Turner complained, “She just came home and said, ‘I’ve become a Christian … That’s a shock.” Fonda said, “My becoming a Christian upset him very much — for good reason. He’s my husband and I chose not to discuss it with him — because he would have talked me out of it.” [17]

Fonda wrote in her 2005 memoir My Life So Far that “[Her conversion] was more an experiencing of His presence, a psychic lucidity, that was allowing me access to something beyond consciousness. It wasn’t long, however, before I found myself bumping up against certain literal, patriarchal aspects of Christian orthodoxy that I found difficult to embrace.” [18]

In 2009, she made a further explanation of her faith on her website, explaining she is a nontraditional Christian. She wrote: “Over time, and, I feel, because I stepped outside of established religion, I was able to rekindle the spiritual experience that I’d been seeking. Some will say that because of all this I am not a true Christian. So be it. I feel like a Christian; I believe in the teachings of Jesus and try to practice them in my life. I have found Christians all over this country who feel as I do. They may not have been ‘saved’ yet they hum with divine spirit.” [19]

References

  1. Dowd, Maureen. “‘My Life So Far’: The Roles of a Lifetime.’” The New York Times. April 24, 2005. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/books/review/my-life-so-far-the-roles-of-a-lifetime.html ^
  2. Jane Fonda. Biography. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.biography.com/actor/jane-fonda ^
  3. Leung, Rebecca. “Jane Fonda: Wish I Hadn’t.” 60 Minutes. CBS News. March 31, 2005. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-fonda-wish-i-hadnt-31-03-2005/ ^
  4. Dowd, Maureen. “‘My Life So Far’: The Roles of a Lifetime.’” The New York Times. April 24, 2005. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/books/review/my-life-so-far-the-roles-of-a-lifetime.html ^
  5. Jane Fonda. Biography. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.biography.com/actor/jane-fonda ^
  6. Woo, Elaine. “Tom Hayden, Preeminent 1960s Political Radical and Antiwar Protester, Dies at 76.” The Washington Post. WP Company, October 24, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/tom-hayden-key-1960s-social-activist-and-political-partner-and-husband-of-jane-fonda-dies/2016/10/24/adc6d5da-a828-11e5-8058-480b572b4aae_story.html. ^
  7. “Jane Fonda’s Life Has Been Full of Wild, Whirlwind Love.” Yahoo! Yahoo!, September 28, 2018. https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/jane-fondas-life-full-wild-193855297/photo-p-jan-19-1973-three-photo-195626519.html. ^
  8. Jane Fonda. Biography. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.biography.com/actor/jane-fonda ^
  9. Adeniji, Ade. “Jane Fonda’s Philanthropy: A Hollywood Legend Keys in on Reproductive Health.” Inside Philanthropy.” October 12, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2019.  https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2016/10/12/jane-fondas-philanthropy-a-hollywood-legend-keys-in-on-repro.html ^
  10. Leung, Rebecca. “Jane Fonda: Wish I Hadn’t.” 60 Minutes. CBS News. March 31, 2005. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-fonda-wish-i-hadnt-31-03-2005/ ^
  11. Leung, Rebecca. “Jane Fonda: Wish I Hadn’t.” 60 Minutes. CBS News. March 31, 2005. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-fonda-wish-i-hadnt-31-03-2005/ ^
  12. Leung, Rebecca. “Jane Fonda: Wish I Hadn’t.” 60 Minutes. CBS News. March 31, 2005. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-fonda-wish-i-hadnt-31-03-2005/ ^
  13. Associated Press. “Jane Fonda Grants Some POW Torture.” The New York Times. April 7, 1973. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1973/04/07/archives/jane-fonda-grants-some-pow-torture.html ^
  14. Buckley, Cara. “Jane Fonda at 81, Proudly Protesting and Going to Jail.” The New York Times. November 3, 2019. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/03/arts/television/04jane-fonda-arrest-protest.html ^
  15. Vigdor, Neil. “Jane Fonda Arrested During Climate Protest Outside the U.S. Capitol.” The New York Times. October 11, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/us/jane-fonda-arrested.html ^
  16. Buckley, Cara. “Jane Fonda at 81, Proudly Protesting and Going to Jail.” The New York Times. November 3, 2019. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/03/arts/television/04jane-fonda-arrest-protest.html ^
  17. Woodford, Carol. “Judges Grants Divorce to Fonda, Turner.” Tulsa World. May 23, 2001. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.tulsaworld.com/archive/judge-grants-divorce-to-fonda-turner/article_bdf30dc6-c111-5936-b806-b17de5c9c965.html ^
  18. Dowd, Maureen. “‘My Life So Far’: The Roles of a Lifetime.’” The New York Times. April 24, 2005. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/books/review/my-life-so-far-the-roles-of-a-lifetime.html ^
  19. Fonda, Jane. “About My Faith.” JaneFonda.com. June 10, 2009. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.janefonda.com/2009/06/about-my-faith/ ^
  20. Jane Fonda. Biography. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.biography.com/actor/jane-fonda ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Stop the Money Pipeline (Non-profit)
    Campaign Supporter and Protester

Connected Movements

  1. Green New Deal (GND)
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