Monday, 8 June 2009

Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda (1905-1982), American actor, best known for his convincing portrayals of characters of integrity.
Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, and raised in Omaha, Fonda attended the University of Minnesota for two years.
In 1925 he began to work in an Omaha community theater company, with which he remained for three years, serving for a time as its assistant business manager.
In 1928, while performing in summer stock theater in New England, Fonda met a group of young performers who had assembled their own theater company, the University Players.
He joined the group, which included such future luminaries as Josh Logan, Mildred Natwick, Margaret Sullavan (to whom Fonda was later briefly married), and James Stewart, and remained in it for seven years.

In 1934 Fonda made his Broadway debut in New Faces, soon followed by the title role in The Farmer Takes a Wife.
When the latter play was adapted as a motion picture in 1935, Fonda went to Hollywood, California, to repeat his performance and was placed under contract by producer Walter Wanger.
A string of films followed that rapidly made Fonda an established star: The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), You Only Live Once (1937; with Sylvia Sidney), The Mad Miss Manton (1938; with Barbara Stanwyck), and Jezebel (1938; with Bette Davis).

In 1939 Fonda signed a contract with the 20th Century-Fox film studio, where in his first two years he flourished under the influence of director John Ford,
for whom he made three of his most acclaimed motion pictures: Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939; title role),
and The Grapes of Wrath (1940), in which, as the dustbowl refugee Tom Joad, he gave what many critics consider to be his greatest performance.
His other notable films of the early 1940s include the comedies The Lady Eve (1941) and The Male Animal (1942) and the classic Western The Ox-Bow Incident (1943). In late 1942 Fonda enlisted in the United States Navy.
He served in World War II (1939-1945) as an intelligence officer and received a Bronze Star Medal and a presidential citation.
When he returned from the war, he resumed his motion-picture partnership with John Ford, making three Ford films in three years: My Darling Clementine (1946; as Wyatt Earp), The Fugitive (1947), and Fort Apache (1948).

Fonda returned to the stage in 1948 for his greatest theatrical success, in the comedy Mister Roberts, the title role of which he played for three years and later reprised in the film version in 1955. After the mid-1950s he alternated between the theater and motion pictures.
Fonda also worked in two television series and performed in numerous specials and television movies—notably The Red Pony (1973) and Gideon's Trumpet (1980).
He made three films in 1957— 12 Angry Men,The Wrong Man (under director Alfred Hitchcock), and The Tin Star. Among the best of his later performances are those in Advise and Consent (1962), The Best Man (1964), Fail Safe (1964), Yours, Mine and Ours (1968; with Lucille Ball), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), and There Was a Crooked Man (1970).
His memorable final film, On Golden Pond (1981; with Katharine Hepburn), was produced by his daughter, Jane Fonda, who also acted in it.
Henry Fonda won an Academy Award for best actor for this performance. Previously, at the 1981 Academy Award ceremonies,
Fonda had been honored with a special award saluting “his brilliant accomplishments and enduring contribution to the art of motion pictures.”
Three years earlier, in 1978, he had received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. He wrote an autobiography, My Life (1981).


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R said...

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