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Jane Fonda Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of activist and award-winning actress Jane Fonda.


Birth date: December 21, 1937

Birth place: New York, New York

Birth name: Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda

Father: Henry Fonda, actor

Mother: Frances Ford Seymour (Brokaw) Fonda, socialite

Marriages: Ted Turner (December 21, 1991-May 22, 2001, divorced); Tom Hayden (January 20, 1973-1990, divorced); Roger Vadim (August 14, 1965-January 16, 1973, divorced)

Children: with Tom Hayden: Troy Garity (July 7, 1973); with Roger Vadim: Vanessa (September 28, 1968)

Education: Attended Vassar College, 1956-1958

Other Facts

She is a member of a distinguished acting family, daughter of actor Henry Fonda, sister of actor and director Peter Fonda, aunt to actress Bridget Fonda and mother to actor Troy Garity and documentary filmmaker Vanessa Vadim.

Her mother’s family can be traced back to Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII. Jane’s mother, Frances Ford Seymour, died by suicide when Jane was 12.

In 1980, 14-year-old Mary Luana Williams from Oakland, California, the daughter of an incarcerated member of the Black Panthers, came to live with Fonda in Santa Monica, California. Never formally adopting her, Mary is still considered to be Jane’s daughter. In 2010, Mary reconnected with her birth family for the first time in 30 years.

Fonda began her fitness empire in 1979 with the aerobic studio, “Jane Fonda’s Workout.” The studio launched a workout book and VHS tapes and later DVDs.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards and won two.

Nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards and won one.

Nominated for two Tony awards.


1954 – First appears on stage in the play “The Country Girl,” at the Community House in Omaha, Nebraska.

1959 – Professional model appearing on the cover of Vogue and other magazines.

April 6, 1960 – Her first film, “Tall Story,” is released.

October 10, 1968 – “Barbarella,” starring Fonda and directed by her husband Roger Vadim, is released.

1970 – Activist work begins, first with involvement in Native American causes and later to what she calls her “GI Movement.”

1971-1972 – “The FTA Show,” an anti-war USO-type show starring Fonda, Donald Sutherland, and many others, opens near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and later tours to military bases in southeast Asia.

April 10, 1972 – Wins an Academy Award for Best Actress for “Klute.”

July 7, 1972 – Travels to North Vietnam for two weeks. During her visit she meets and poses for pictures with the Viet Cong at an anti-aircraft gun site. She also meets with American POWs and denounces “US imperialism” on Viet Cong radio. This trip earns her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.”

1976 – Co-founds the Campaign for Economic Democracy with husband Tom Hayden.

1977-1991 – Owns and operates Laurel Springs Ranch, a performing arts summer camp for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

April 9, 1979 – Wins an Academy Award for Best Actress for “Coming Home.”

December 4, 1981 – “On Golden Pond,” the only film starring both Fonda and her father, is released.

August 12, 1982 – Her father, Henry Fonda dies.

September 23, 1984 – Wins an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special for “The Dollmaker.”

June 17, 1988 – On ABC’s “20/20” Fonda apologizes for her actions in 1972. “I would like to say something, not just to the Vietnam veterans in New England, but . . . to men who were in Vietnam, who . . . I hurt, or whose pain I caused to be deepened, because of the things that I said or did. I . . . feel I owe them an apology.”

1994 – Is named Goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Populations Fund.

1995 – Establishes the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.

December 2000 – Emory University in Atlanta establishes the “Jane Fonda Center” with an initial gift from Fonda herself. The Center’s mission is to disseminate information that may help reduce risks associated with adolescent reproduction, body image and burgeoning sexuality.

2001 – Publicly reveals she has become a Christian.

2001 – Returns to the stage in the play “The Vagina Monologues.”

April 2005 – Fonda’s memoir, “My Life So Far,” is published.

May 13, 2005 – Fonda’s first movie in 15 years, “Monster-in-Law,” opens.

May 2007 – Receives a special Palme d’Or award for career achievement at the Cannes Film Festival.

April 27, 2013 – Fonda puts her hand and footprint in cement next to her fathers’ outside the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Henry Fonda’s were left there on July 24, 1942.

August 16, 2013 – “The Butler” premieres. Fonda portrays former first lady Nancy Reagan.

March 4, 2014 – Random House publishes Fonda’s book “Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More.”

June 5, 2014 – The American Film Institute presents Fonda with the 42nd AFI Life Achievement Award.

May 8, 2015 – “Grace and Frankie,” a Netflix series starring Fonda and Lily Tomlin, premieres.

December 1, 2016 – Time magazine publishes an op-ed by Fonda about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

January 15, 2018 – Reveals in an interview that her doctor removed a cancerous growth from her lower lip.

September 24, 2018 – “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” a documentary, premieres on HBO.

May 30, 2019 – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announces Fonda will receive the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film at the 2019 British Academy Britannia Awards. The ceremony will take place on October 25, 2019.

October 11-December 20, 2019 – Arrested five times at the US Capitol during climate change protests. Fonda says she moved to Washington for four months and plans to get arrested every Friday to raise awareness about the climate crisis. She calls the protests “Fire Drill Fridays.”

September 8, 2020 – “What Can I Do?: My Path from Climate Despair to Action,” is published.

February 28, 2021 – Receives the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

September 2, 2022 – Fonda announces she has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has begun chemotherapy treatment.

December 15, 2022 – In a blog post titled, ‘Best Birthday Present Ever,” Fonda announces that her cancer is now in remission.

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