Saturday, August 17, 2019

Peter Fonda, ‘Easy Rider’ Actor and Screenwriter, Dead at 79

Peter Henry Fonda (February 23, 1940 – August 16, 2019) was an American actor. He was the son of Henry Fonda, younger brother of Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget and Justin Fonda (by first wife, Susan Brewer, stepdaughter of Noah Dietrich). Fonda was a part of the counterculture of the 1960s.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Easy Rider (1969), and the Academy Award for Best Actor for Ulee's Gold (1997). For the latter, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. Fonda also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999).

Early life


https://www.knowfacts.info/2019/08/peter-fonda-easy-rider-actor-and.htmlFonda was born on February 23, 1940, in New York City, the only son of actor Henry Fonda (1905–1982) and his wife Frances Ford Seymour (1908–1950); his sister was actress Jane Fonda (born 1937). He and Jane had a maternal half-sister, Frances de Villers Brokaw (1931–2008), from their mother's first marriage. Their mother committed suicide in a mental hospital when Peter, her youngest, was ten, although he did not discover the circumstances or location of her death until he was 15 years old.

On his eleventh birthday, he accidentally shot himself in the abdomen and nearly died. He went to Nainital and stayed for a few months for recovery. Years later, he referred to this incident while with John Lennon and George Harrison while taking LSD. He said, "I know what it's like to be dead." This inspired The Beatles' song "She Said She Said".

Early on, Fonda studied acting in Omaha, Nebraska, his father's home town. While attending the University of Nebraska Omaha, Fonda joined the Omaha Community Playhouse, where many actors (including his father and Marlon Brando) began their careers.[citation needed] Before he attended the University of Nebraska Omaha, Peter attended the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts and was a member of the class of 1954. He then matriculated to Westminster School, a Connecticut boarding school in Simsbury where he graduated in 1958.

Fonda performed at the Cecilwood Theatre in New York in 1960.

Early years and film work



Fonda found work on Broadway and gained notice in Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole, written by James and William Goldman, which ran for 84 performances in 1961.

Fonda began guest-starring on television shows like Naked City, The New Breed, Wagon Train, and The Defenders.

Fonda's first film came when producer Ross Hunter was looking for a new male actor to romance Sandra Dee in Tammy and the Doctor (1963). Fonda was cast in the role, in what was a minor hit.

He followed this with a support part in The Victors (1963), a bleak look at American soldiers in World War II, directed by Carl Foreman. Fonda's performance won him a Golden Globe Award for most promising newcomer.

Fonda continued to work in television, guest starring in Channing, Arrest and Trial, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and 12 O'Clock High. He also tested for the role of John F. Kennedy in PT-109.

Fonda impressed Robert Rossen, who directed the Oscar winner All the King's Men. He cast Fonda in what would be Rossen's last movie, Lilith (1964), alongside Warren Beatty, Jean Seberg and Gene Hackman. Fonda's performance was well reviewed. Rossen signed Fonda to a seven-film contract which was to start with an adaptation of Bang the Drum Slowly, but then Rossen passed away.

Fonda graduated to a starring role in The Young Lovers (1964), about out-of-wedlock pregnancy, the sole directorial effort of Samuel Goldwyn Jr..

Easy Rider


Replica of the "Captain America" Harley-Davidson chopper that Fonda rode in Easy Rider (1969), on display in a German museum.
In 1968, Fonda produced, co-wrote and starred in Easy Rider, directed by Dennis Hopper. Easy Rider is about two long-haired bikers traveling through the southwestern and southern United States where they encounter intolerance and violence. Fonda played "Captain America", a charismatic, laconic man whose motorcycle jacket bore a large American flag across the back. Dennis Hopper played the garrulous "Billy". Jack Nicholson played George Hanson, an alcoholic civil rights lawyer who rides along with them. Fonda co-wrote the screenplay with Terry Southern and Hopper.

https://www.knowfacts.info/2019/08/peter-fonda-easy-rider-actor-and.htmlFonda tried to secure financing from Roger Corman and AIP, with whom he had made The Wild Angels and The Trip, but they were reluctant to finance a film directed by Hopper. They succeeded getting money from Columbia Pictures. Hopper filmed the cross-country road trip depicted almost entirely on location. Fonda had secured funding of around $360,000, largely based on the fact he knew that it was the budget Roger Corman needed to make The Wild Angels.

The guitarist and composer Robbie Robertson, of The Band, was so moved by an advance screening that he approached Fonda and tried to convince him to let him write a complete score, even though the film was nearly due for wide release. Fonda declined the offer, instead using Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild", Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" sung by The Byrds' Roger McGuinn, and Robertson's own composition "The Weight", performed by The Band, among many other tracks.

The film was released in 1969 to international success. Jack Nicholson was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Fonda, Hopper and Southern were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The film grossed over $40 million.

Action star


In 1974, Fonda starred alongside Susan George in the film Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974), a film about two NASCAR hopefuls who execute a supermarket heist to finance their jump into big-time auto racing. The film was a notable box-office hit that year, and it would go on to become a cult classic.

It led to Fonda making a series of action movies: Open Season (1974), with William Holden; Race with the Devil (1975), fleeing devil worshippers with Warren Oates (another hit); 92 in the Shade (1975), again with Oates, for writer-director Thomas McGuane; Killer Force (1976) for director Val Guest; Futureworld (1976), a sequel to Westworld (1973), financed by AIP; Fighting Mad (1976), a reuniting with Roger Corman, directed by Jonathan Demme.

Outlaw Blues (1977) was a drama, with Fonda playing a musician opposite Susan Saint James.

After some more action with High-Ballin' (1978), Fonda returned to directing, with the controversial drama Wanda Nevada (1979), wherein the 39-year-old Fonda starred as the "love" interest of the then 13-year-old Brooke Shields. His father, Henry Fonda, made a brief appearance as well, and it is the only film in which they performed together.

Death

Fonda died from respiratory failure caused by lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles on August 16, 2019.

Source: Wikipedia