A second generation actor of the Fonda clan, Hollywood actor Peter Fonda rose to
prominence with his role of beekeeper Ulysses ‘Ulee’ Jackson in the Victor
Nunez-helmed drama Ulee’s Gold (1997), where he took home a New York Film
Critics Circle Award, a Southeastern Film Critics Association Award and a
Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association Award, as well as Oscar and Screen
Actors Guild nominations. Soon after, Fonda won a Golden Globe Award and a
Cinequest San Jose Film Festival Award thanks to his portrayal of Frank in The
Passion of Ayn Rand (1999). The same role also gave him an Emmy, a Golden Globe
and Screen Actors Guild nomination. Aside from his two award-winning films, the
actor also played roles in the war drama The Victors (1963) and the TV film The
Tempest (1998). As a screenwriter, Fonda gained critical appreciation and an
Oscar nomination for his work in Easy Rider (1969). For his numerous inspiring
works on screen, in 2003, the performer was given a star on the Hollywood Walk
of Fame. A year later, he was handed a Gary Cooper Spirit of Montana Award.
Off camera, Fonda, who preferred to be called “Peter,” has been attracted to
adrenaline-stimulating activities since his youth. At the age of six, he broke
his neck while attempting to swing on a rope hung from a barn. Later, in 1951, 9
months after his mother’s suicide, he unintentionally shot himself in the
stomach with an antique .22 pistol. A lover of motorcycle riding, Fonda has also
broken his back twice in motorcycle accidents.
Fonda has married twice. The ex-husband of Susan Brewer, he is now married to
Portia Rebecca Crockett. He is the father of Bridget Fonda and Justin Fonda, and
stepfather to Thomas Crockett.
Childhood and Family:
The son of actor Henry Fonda and Frances Seymour Brokaw (committed suicide on
October 14, 1950), Peter Seymour Fonda was born on February 23, 1939, in New
York. He is the only brother of actress Jane Fonda.
Peter attended Emma Willard School, in Troy, New York, but later transferred to
Fay School, in Southborough, Massachusetts. He studied acting at the University
of Omaha, in Nebraska, and joined the Omaha Community Playhouse, where many
actors (including his father and Marlon Brando) initiated their international
careers. However, he left his studies at the university a year before graduating
to pursue an acting career.
As for his romantic life, 6' 3" Peter was once married to Susan Brewer
(1961-1972). From the marriage, he has two children: actress Bridget Fonda (born
in 1964) and son Justin Fonda. In 1975, he tied the knot with Portia Rebecca
Crockett, with whom he has been married to since 1972. Peter is also the
stepfather of Thomas Crockett, a maker of custom pocketknives.
The Passion of Ayn Rand
Peter Fonda’s early step in acting began on stage with a lead role in the 1960
production of “The Golden Fleece” at the Omaha Community Playhouse. He then made
a grand entrance by debuting on Broadway, where he played a part in “Blood,
Sweat and Stanley Poole” (1961). The next year, he shifted to the small screen,
taking the role of Joey in an episode of the series “Naked City.” Following
several guest appearances, Fonda quickly landed a male lead role in his big
screen debut, Tammy and the Doctor (1963), in which he played Dr. Mark Cheswick.
The same year, Fonda was nominated for a Golden Globe for Most Promising Male
Newcomer, thanks to his portrayal of Weaver in the war drama The Victors (1963).
He was also praised for the supporting turn of Stephen Evshevsky in the
adaptation of J.R. Salamanca’s Lilith (1964). After taking an unaccredited part
in his father’s movie The Rounders (1965), the new actor began cultivating a
“rebel” image through his role of gang leader Heavenly Blues in The Wild Angels
(1966). He also starred as director Paul Groves, who took an LSD trip after his
divorce, in the Jack Nicholson-written The Trip (1967).
After his scenes in the TV film Carol for Another Christmas (1964) were deleted,
Fonda once again appeared on TV playing Robbie Conroy in the drama Certain
Honorable Men (1968). In 1969, he co-wrote and produced Easy Rider (1969), where
he also costarred as Wyatt, opposite Dennis Hopper (also the director and
co-writer of the movie). For his brilliant work in the movie, Fonda received an
Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay. The rewarding effort
encouraged the actor to sit in the director’s chair, a wish he fulfilled in 1971
with the western movie The Hired Hand. In the western, he also starred as Harry
Collings. Two years later, he directed his second film, Idaho Transfer (1973),
before having the part of Evan Bonner in the drama Two People (1973).
Next up for Fonda, he portrayed Larry Rayder in the action romantic comedy Dirty
Mary Crazy Larry (1974) and starred as Tom Skelton in the Thomas McGuane-directed/written
comedy 92 in the Shade (1975). Following his turn as reporter Chuck Browning in
the sci-fi thriller Futureworld (1976), the actor took the leading part of Bobby
Ogden in Outlaw Blues (1977) and had a role of truck driver Rane in High-Ballin’
(1978). Fonda also starred as a drifter Beaudray Demerille, along with his
father, in his self-directed Western drama Wanda Nevada (1979).
1980-1983 saw the actor play roles in The Hostage Tower (1980, TV), The
Cannonball Run (1981), Split Image (1982) and the Japanese-English comedy
Daijôbu, mai furendo (1983). He was then seen in the TV drama A Reason to Live
(1985), Hawken’s Breed (1987), Mercenary Fighters (1988) and The Rose Garden
(1989). Subsequent to his self-written war movie Fatal Mission (1990), Fonda
starred as Nick in Family Express (1992) and had a cameo as a motorcycle rider
in Bodies, Rest and Motion (1993), starring his daughter. He also took the
supporting turn of Marcantony Appfel in the made-for-TV crime drama In the Heat
of the Night: Give Me Your Life (1994) and in the same year reprised his role
for the series.
Soon after landing a small part in the musical drama comedy Grace of My Heart
(1996), Fonda’s celebrity status was raised even higher when director Victor
Nunez cast him to play beekeeper Ulysses ‘Ulee’ Jackson in the drama Ulee’s Gold
(1997). Thanks to his superb acting, the actor collected a New York Film Critics
Circle, a Southeastern Film Critics Association and a Dallas-Forth Worth Film
Critics Association for Best Actor, as well as received an Oscar and Screen
Actors Guild nomination for Best Actor. Ensuing the victory with the
Golden-Globe nominated role of Gideon Prosper in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s
classic The Tempest (1998, TV), Fonda provided an outstanding portrayal of Frank
in the adaptation of Barbara Branden’s book titled The Passion of Ayn Rand
(1999), which handed him a Golden Globe for Best Actor and a Maverick Tribute
award from the Cinequest San Jose Film Festival. For the same role, he was
nominated for an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild.
Fonda maintained his appearance on screen with roles in various films, such as
the family movie Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000, as Grandpa Burnett Stone),
the comedy Wooly Boys (2001), The Laramie Project (2002) and Salma Hayek’s
directorial work The Maldonado Miracle (2003, TV). Subsequent to his performance
as Dr. Will Allenby, opposite Blythe Danner and Faye Dunaway, in the TV drama
Back When We Were Grownups (2004), he played Dr. Austin Shepard in the
uninspiring miniseries “Supernova” (2005).
The recipient of Gary Cooper’s Spirit of Montana Award from the 2004 Hatch
Audiovisual Arts Festival, the veteran actor will appear as X in the drama
Cobrador (2005), for director Paul Leduc. He is also assigned to take the male
lead role of Alfred in the action movie Japan (2006), before playing the
supporting turn of Mephisto in Mark Steven Johnson’s Ghost Rider (2007). Based
on the Marvel character of stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, the 2007 movie will
also feature Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes and Wes Bentley.
Hatch Audiovisual Arts Festival: Gary Cooper Spirit of Montana Award,
Cinequest San Jose Film Festival: Maverick Tribute Award, The Passion Of
Ayn Rand, 2000
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a
Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, The Passion Of Ayn Rand,
Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Ulee’s Gold,
Southeastern Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Ulee’s Gold, 1998
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, Ulee’s Gold, 1997