Born on May 16, 1905, Henry Fonda is one of the greatest actors in history.
Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Fonda made his acting debut at the Omaha Community Playhouse. There, he studied under Dorothy Brando, mother of Marlon Brando. After Omaha, he moved to the Cape Cod University Players and then finally to Broadway.
In 1935, he starred in The Farmer Takes A Wife on Broadway, which would later be transferred to the silver screen where Fonda would make his first impression upon Hollywood.
A year later, he married Frances Seymour and spawned Jane and Peter Fonda, both famous actors.
Throughout his acting career, Fonda starred in a wide variety of movies. He was most famous for playing Abraham Lincoln in Young Mr. Lincoln, Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, and Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond. He received an Academy Award Nomination for The Grapes of Wrath and an Academy Award for Best Actor for On Golden Pond.
During his life he was married five times. First to Margaret Sullavan from 1931 to 1932, ending in divorce. Next, to Frances Seymour from 1936 to 1950, when Frances died. Then, to Susan Blanchard from 1950 to 1956, ending in divorce. Then, to Afdera Franchetti from 1957 to 1961, ending in divorce. And finally to Shirlee Mae Adams from 1965 to 1982, when Fonda died.
He starred in several war movies including The Longest Day, Battle of the Bulge, and Midway. He also starred in numerous westerns including The Tin Star, The Cheyenne Social Club, and My Darling Clementine, in which he played Wyatt Earp.
Henry Fonda died on August 12, 1982, when his heart failed. He was one of the truly great American actors. His most memorable trait was his cowboy walk. A slow gait, arms hanging at the sides, legs going everywhere before the rest of his body. He graced every movie he was in with a touch of class that only actors from his era knew how to deliver.
My personal favorite Henry Fonda movie is 12 Angry Men. It would have been a fantastic movie without him, but I can’t possibly imagine anyone else playing Juror #8, the lone juror who believed a boy was innocent. His talent is missed.