Tuesday, June 12, 2018

10 Things You May Not Know About Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda (1905 – 1982) was one of the most popular and enduring stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. He starred in dozens of movies, but he loved the theater. On Broadway he starred in Mr. Roberts, Two for the Seasaw, Clarence Darrow, and First Monday in October. Fonda is also the father of Jane and Peter Fonda.

1. Fonda can trace his European ancestral roots to Genoa, Italy and the Netherlands.

2. He was a Boy Scout and reached the rank of Eagle Scout.

3. Dodie Brando (Marlon Brando’s mother) suggested that he try out for a play at the Omaha Community Playhouse, thus launching his acting career.

Henry Fonda and Janet Gaynor in The Farmer Takes a Wife

4. He went to Hollywood in 1935 to star opposite Janet Gaynor in The Farmer Takes a Wife, in the role he originated on Broadway.

5. James Stewart followed his friend Fonda to Hollywood where they shared a home next door to Greta Garbo.

Fonda as Abraham Lincoln in Young Mr. Lincoln
6. In 1939 he starred in three highly successful films: Young Mr. Lincoln, his first picture with the legendary John Ford, Jesse James, costarring Tyrone Power, and Drums Along the Mohawk, costarring Claudette Colbert, also directed by Ford.

7. Ford insisted that Fonda play Tom Joad in the screen adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath (1940) over the objections of Twentieth Century-Fox studio head Darryl Zanuck (he wanted Tyrone Power to play Tom).

Fonda impressed critics with his prat falls in The Lady Eve
8. He surprised the critics with his comedic performance (including his amazing physical comedy that included a half-dozen or so pratfalls) in The Lady Eve (1941), directed by Preston Sturges and costarring Barbara Stanwyck.

9. Fonda enlisted in the United States Navy during WW II; he served for 3 years and was awarded the Navy Presidential Unit Citation and the Bronze Star.

10. He received only two Academy Award Best Actor nominations, during his long film career, for The Grapes of Wrath and On Golden Pond (1981); he won for the latter, making him the oldest recipient of the award.

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