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Henry Fonda ACTOR


Henry Fonda was born on May 16th, 1905 in Grand Island, Nebraska to parents William Brace Fonda and Herberta.  He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and as a young child, enjoyed writing short stories.  In 1923, following his graduation from high school, he attended the University of Minnesota and studied journalism.  He only completed two years of college and then dropped out and retuned back home to Omaha.  It was possibly due to the added stress of trying to hold a job, and in his case, two jobs, while maintaining his grades caused him to move home.  Upon return, he tried out for a role in a local play at the Omaha Community Playhouse and even though he lacked theatrical experience, he was cast as Ricky in, “You and I”.
Henry continued to work in the local theatre performing various odd jobs, but he was also forced by his father to take on a legit job as a clerk in a credit company.  However, when Henry got cast to play the lead role in, “Merton of the Movies” (1926 or 1927) his father upon viewing a performance, became aware that his son did actually have a talent for working in performance arts. 

In 1927, Fonda got a chance to write a sketch for George Billings, where Fonda played the role of Abraham Lincoln’s secretary.  He then toured the vaudeville circuit for three months and upon his return to Omaha he was promoted to the assistant director of the Omaha Community playhouse.
One year later, Fonda decided it was time to make the next step in his career and move to New York City to pursue acting.  He found work at Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts working as an assistant manager and taking on small roles in various plays.  He continued to work in theater with the University’s Players Guild and performed in some more productions throughout the following 4 summers.
Finally, in 1929 Henry Fonda made his first appearance on Broadway in his first small walk on role, “The Game of Life and Death”, however after only six weeks the production closed and Henry returned to working in small theaters between 1929 and 1931.  He did embark on a two year marriage to fellow actress Margaret Sullivan, but that only lasted till 1933.  He continued to get employment in regular productions in New York City in the early 1930’s.  In 1932 Fonda got a role in, “I Loved You Wednesday”, followed by "New Faces” (1934) which started critics to take notice of him. Later in (1934), “The Farmer Takes a Wife” starring with Janet Gaynor, Charles Bickford and Andy Devine was finally Fonda’s big break.  Fonda was offered a film contract for $1000 per week.   Fonda chose to appear in one more play, “All Good Americans” before finally moving into films.

He actually made his film debut in, “The Farmer Takes a Wife” (1935).  He had created the role for his character for this film on stage, but he was not the first choice for the screen version.  However, he did perform on the film and gained widespread critical attention. This performance followed with, “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” (1936) starring alongside Sylvia Sidney, Fred MacMurray, George 'Spanky' McFarland, Beulah Bondi, Nigel Bruce and John Forrest 'Fuzzy' Knight, and he also married his second wife this same year, Frances Seymour Brokaw.  He was making a name for himself in Hollywood, but still continued to work in theater in New York City as well.  

He continued doing films and had the chance to work with director, John Ford and fellow acting legend John Wayne.  Together, the duo made, “Drums Along the Mohawk” (1939) co-starring Claudette Colbert, John Carradine, Ward Bond, Robert Lowery and Edna May Oliver followed by Fonda signing a seven year deal with 20th Century Fox to secure his next role in “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940) co-starring Jane Darwell, John Qualen, Darryl Hickman, John Carradine and Ward Bond.  The outcome was successful and critics were really beginning to take Fonda as a serious actor.
When the onset of World War II came about, Fonda wanted to serve in the military, however due to his contract with 20th Century Fox, they would not allow him to serve.  He did however, proceed to volunteer and no one could stop him from offering his time for free, before being discharged in 1945 he had actually reached lieutenant rank.
He returned to film with, “My Darling Clementine” (1946) starring with Victor Mature, Linda Darnell, Walter Brennan, Tim Holt, Ward Bond, John Ireland and Grant Withers and “Fort Apache” starring John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Ward Bond, Pedro Armendariz, John Agar, Guy Kibbee, Dick Foran, Victor McLaglen, George O'Brien and Irene Rich, in (1948) which portrayed a different side of his acting.  This was his last film with a principal role for seven years.  He went back to his love of theater completing 1077 performances on Broadway’s, “Mister Roberts” (1948). Sadly, his marriage during this time of his life came to an end when Fonda requested a divorce from his unstable wife Frances Seymour Broka, who then on October 14th, 1950 committed suicide.  She left behind two children, Jane and Peter, both of whom were actors as well.

In 1955, Fonda returned to film with his version of, “Mister Roberts” (1955) starring with James Cagney, William Powell and Jack Lemmon.  This was the last joint effort between Fonda and John Ford.  Ford ended up becoming too ill to complete the project and Mervyn LeRoy stepped in, however, Fonda was never satisfied with the overall outcome.

“War and Peace” (1956) also starring Audrey Hepburn Anita Ekberg and and Mel Ferrer, was a film some praised his work in, while others felt he was possibly miscast.  Like most actors, some of his films throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s were successful and others were not.  He was a film producer only once in his career for, “Twelve Angry Men” (1957) starring with Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall, Ed Begley, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden.  Fonda did marry three more times, first  to Susan Blanchard, December 28th, 1950 but six years later in 1956, they divorced.  Following this was his marriage to his fourth wife Countess Adfera Franchetti, March 10th, 1957 but divorcing in 1962.  Finally he married his 5th and final wife, Shirleee Adams in 1965.

Henry Ford’s final film role was by far his most memorable, “On Golden Pond” (1981) for which he got to perform with his own biological daughter Jane Fonda on set and he won his only Academy Award for his role. 

Fonda was by far an actor who developed over time and critics watched him progress as he got older.  He was in the entertainment industry for almost 50 years and was a man who matured right before the public’s eyes.  He passed away on August 12th, 1982 in Los Angeles, California from heart failure.  He will always be remembered as Hollywood greats of the Classic era. 

For his lifelong contribution to the Moving Picture Industry Henry Fonda was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1981 On Golden Pond
1980 The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
1979 Meteor
1979 Wanda Nevada
1978 Fedora
1978 City on Fire
1978 The Swarm
1977 Almos' a Man
1977 The Blue Hotel
1977 Tentacles
1977 Battle Force
1976 Midway
1976 Captains and the Kings
1976 The Great Smokey Roadblock
1974 Last Days of Mussolini
1974 My Name Is Nobody
1973 The Serpent
1973 Ash Wednesday
1971 Sometimes a Great Notion
1970 Too Late the Hero
1970 There Was a Crooked Man
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club
1968 Yours, Mine and Ours
1968 Once Upon a Time in the West
1968 The Boston Strangler
1968 Firecreek
1968 Madigan
1967 Welcome to Hard Times
1966 A Big Hand for the Little Lady
1965 The Dirty Agents
1965 In Harm's Way
1965 Battle of the Bulge
1965 The Rounders
1964 Fail-Safe
1964 Sex and the Single Girl
1964 The Best Man
1963 Spencer's Mountain
1963 How the West Was Won
1962 The Longest Day
1962 An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
1962 Advise and Consent
1959 Warlock
1959 The Man Who Understood Women
1957 Stage Struck
1957 The Tin Star
1957 12 Angry Men
1956 War and Peace
1956 The Wrong Man
1955 Mister Roberts
1953 Main Street to Broadway
1952 Pictura
1949 Jigsaw
1948 Fort Apache
1948 The Fugitive
1948 On Our Merry Way
1947 The Long Night
1947 Daisy Kenyon
1946 My Darling Clementine
1943 The Ox-Bow Incident
1943 The Immortal Sergeant
1942 The Male Animal
1942 Rings on Her Fingers
1942 Tales of Manhattan
1942 The Magnificent Dope
1942 The Big Street
1941 Wild Geese Calling
1941 You Belong to Me
1941 The Lady Eve
1940 Chad Hanna
1940 Lillian Russell
1940 The Grapes of Wrath
1940 The Return of Frank James
1939 Jesse James
1939 Young Mr. Lincoln
1939 Let Us Live
1939 Drums Along the Mohawk
1939 Alexander Graham Bell
1938 The Mad Miss Manton
1938 Blockade
1938 Jezebel
1938 Spawn of the North
1938 I Met My Love Again
1937 That Certain Woman
1937 Slim
1937 You Only Live Once
1937 Wings of the Morning
1936 The Moon's Our Home
1936 Spendthrift
1936 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
1935 Way Down East
1935 The Farmer Takes a Wife
1935 I Dream Too Much

Matinee Classics - 12 Angry Men
Matinee Classics - Fort Apache
Matinee Classics - The Longest Day starring John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Rod Steiger, Robert Wagner, Richard Beymer, Mel Ferrer, Jeffrey Hunter, Paul Anka, Sal Mineo, Richard Burton, Red Buttons, Sean Connery, Peter Lawford, Roddy McDowall and George Segal
Matinee Classics - In Harm's Way starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Brandon de Wilde, Jill Haworth, Dana Andrews, Stanley Holloway, Burgess Meredith, Franchot Tone, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, James Mitchum, Carroll O'Connor and Larry Hagman
Matinee Classics - Hotpoint Holiday Hour Radio Show starring Jack Benny, Gene Kelly, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy McGuire, Gregory Peck and Charles Boyer
Matinee Classics - 12 Angry Men starring Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden
Matinee Classics - 12 Angry Men starring Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden
Matinee Classics - 12 Angry Men starring Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden
Matinee Classics - 12 Angry Men starring Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden
Matinee Classics - 12 Angry Men starring Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam and Jack Warden

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