Jane Seymour Fonda is an Academy Award winning American actress, model, writer, producer, activist and philanthropist.
Born December 21, 1937, in New York City, to actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw. She was named after Lady Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII.
Jane's socialite mother (Henry Fonda's second of five wives), after voluntarily seeking help at an asylum, committed suicide by cutting her throat on October 1950, when Jane was 12 years old. Henry married actress Susan Blanchard (step-daughter of Oscar Hammerstein II, and eventual wife of Richard Widmark) eight months later, and throughout their six-year marriage, Blanchard helped to raise Jane and her brother, Peter.
While growing up she had no acting ambitions, but she got interested in 1954 when she performed with her dad in a charity performance of The Country Girl, at the Omaha Community Theatre. During that show, she had to cry, and in order to coax the tears she reportedly had a stagehand smack her before she walked on. She attended Vassar College in New York, was introduced to Lee Strasberg by her father in 1958, and joined his Actors Studio. She would later receive an Honorary Degree from Emerson College in May, 2000.
Her stage work in the late '50s led to her impressive film career that only gained momentum after the '60s. She averaged almost two movies a year throughout the decade, starting in '60 with Tall Story, in which Jane recreated her Broadway role of a cheery college student opposite gangly Tony Perkins. Period of Adjustment, in which she went blonde, and Walk on the Wild Side, with Jane as the young temptress Kitty Twist, came in '62 along with a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer, with Sunday in New York following a year later. Critics were quickly impressed with her: In 1962, Newsday called her "the loveliest and most gifted of all our new young actresses." Jane's big-screen breakthrough, of course, was Cat Ballou ('65), in which she played the sweet title role that had been offered to Ann-Margret but rejected. The rootin'-tootin' Western got five Oscar nominations, was one of the year's top-ten moneymakers, and made her a star at age 28. After Any Wednesday in '66 and Barefoot in the Park with Robert Redford in '67 came the dazzling Barbarella in '68, which sent her sexpot image into orbit. By contrast, the grim They Shoot Horses, Don't They? in '69 showcased her serious acting talent, bringing her the first of seven Oscar nominations. One more role for which she was supposedly first choice, but she didn't take -- Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby, the part finally played by Mia Farrow.
She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home, and was nominated five more times.
Jane Fonda has been married three times:
Her first husband (1965-73) was French film director Roger Vadim (b.1928-d.2000) with whom she had a daughter, Vanessa, named for Vanessa Redgrave, the well-known actor and activist member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party.
Her second husband (1973-1990) was author and politician Tom Hayden, by whom she has a son, Troy Garity, and an adopted daughter.
Her third husband (1991-2001) was American cable-television tycoon Ted Turner.
Brother: Peter Fonda, actor, director, producer
Daughter: Vanessa Vadim; born in 1968; father, Roger Vadim; named after Vanessa Redgrave
Son: Troy Garity, actor; born in 1973; father Tom Hayden; named after a Vietnamese resistance leader and given paternal grandmother's surname
Daughter: Mary, adopted with Tom Hayden
Niece: Bridget Fonda, actress; born in 1964; daughter of Peter Fonda
Fonda has made 23 workout videos, 13 audio programs, and 6 books relating to fitness.