Thursday, February 22,
Henry Fonda - His Italian Connection
The ANNOTICO Report
I often wondered why Henry Fonda, and his progeny Peter and Jane seemed so "Americanized", and never made any references to their Italian heritage.
I supposed that it was because Henry was born and raised in Nebraska, where you are not apt to find too many Italians, and he was raised in the Christian Science faith, where again you might not find too many Italians.
But Henry was interested enough that he apparently researched his genealogy and in his autobiography he wrote:
the Fondas can trace their ancestry to
deliberate and systematic reaction instigated from Rome; the bull of
Reformation while starting in
Fondas intermarried with Dutch burghers'
daughters, picked up the first names of the
the 1600's the Fondas followed Pieter Stuyvesant
course, in time Stuyvesant surrendered Nieuw
Amsterdam to the English which they renamed
Fonda family emigrated westward from
Henry was a Broadway roomate of Jimmy Stewart, and life long friend. Fonda's relationship with Jimmy Stewart survived their disagreements over politicsFonda was a liberal Democrat, and Stewart a conservative Republican. After a heated argument, they avoided talking politics with each other. In 1970, Fonda and Stewart costarred in the western The Cheyenne Social Club, a minor film in which the two humorously argued politics.
In looking for recent bits of "Italian" connection; they are hard to find:
Henry Fonda was
married five times. His marriage to Margaret Brooke Sullavan
in 1931 soon ended in separation. In 1936, he married Frances Ford Seymour.
They had two children: Peter and Jane. In 1950,
against type as the villain "Frank" in 1968's Once Upon a Time in
the West. . After turning down the role, he was talked into it by director Sergio Leone, who flew from
The 1970s were the time of " disaster" movies. The first of these came in 1977 with the Italian killer octopus thriller Tentacoli (Tentacles) [RAA: I think I'm glad I missed that one:)]
Henry Jaynes Fonda (May 16, 1905 August 12, 1982) was a highly acclaimed American film, stage and television actor, best known for his roles as plain-speaking idealists. Fonda's subtle, naturalistic acting style preceded by many years the popularization of Method acting. He was the patriarch of a family of famous actors, including son Peter Fonda, daughter Jane Fonda, granddaughter Bridget Fonda and grandson Troy Garity.
Fonda was born to
William Brace Fonda and Herberta Jaynes.
From his humble upbringing in a Nebraskan Christian Scientist family, Fonda
made his mark early as a Broadway actor, and made his
Later in his life, Fonda moved both toward more challenging and lighter roles in such epics as Once Upon a Time in the West and family comedies like Yours, Mine and Ours. He earned a Tony nomination for his role in 1974's Clarence Darrow (having previously won a Tony in Mister Roberts in 1948), and finished his career with a critically-acclaimed performance in On Golden Pond in 1981, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Fonda was also honored with "Lifetime Achievement" Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Tony Awards. He died in 1982, leaving behind a legacy of classic performances, many of which are considered the finest examples of the "Golden Age of Hollywood."
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