Henry Fonda

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Henry Fonda
Henry Jaynes Fonda
BirthplaceGrand Island, Nebraska, U.S.

Fonda, Henry

Fonda, Henry, 1905–83, American actor, b. Grand Island, Nebr. He had considerable stage experience, appearing in such plays as Mr. Roberts (1948), The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1958), and Two for the Seesaw (1959). Fonda played honest, homespun young men in such films as The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936) and The Grapes of Wrath (1940). His comedic talents were revealed in such films as The Lady Eve (1941) and Rings on Her Fingers (1942). Later in his career he often portrayed heroic figures. His other films include The Wrong Man (1956), Twelve Angry Men (1957), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), and On Golden Pond (1982), for which he won the Academy Award. He was the father of Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fonda, Henry


Born May 16, 1905, in Grand Island, Neb. American motion-picture actor.

Fonda studied at the University of Minnesota. In 1925 he began acting in the theater, and in 1935 he made his film debut. Although appearing in commercial films, Fonda sought to go beyond Hollywood’s standards and portray living characters in a way that would reveal their complex inner life (for example, in the film Jezebel, 1938). The main themes of Fonda’s work are the affirmation of spiritual values and the worth of human beings, the need for a man to fulfill his responsibility as a citizen uncompromisingly, and the struggle for justice. These themes have been best developed in his roles as the peasant Marco in Blockade (1938), Abraham Lincoln in Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), and the young American Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Other outstanding roles were in the films The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), War and Peace (playing Pierre Bezukhov in an adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel), Twelve Angry Men (1957), and The Best Man (1964). Fonda’s art combines publicist passion with precision of social characterization and profound psychological analysis.


Sokol’skaia, A. L. “Genri Fonda.” In Aktery zarubezhnogo kino. Leningrad-Moscow, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Fonda, Henry

(1905–1982) movie/stage actor; born in Grand Island, Nebr. (father of Jane and Peter Fonda). His involvement with the Omaha Community Playhouse led to Broadway and a film career in which his self-effacing manner and dry, flat tones projected honesty and decency. His movie debut in The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935) led to more than 100 screen appearances, culminating with his Oscar-winning role in On Golden Pond (1981). He also appeared occasionally on Broadway, as in Mister Roberts (1948). Married five times, he was said to be a moody, remote man and did not always enjoy the best of relationships with his children.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.