Jane Fonda (born December 21, 1937) is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru . She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other awards and nominations. After 15 years of retirement, she returned to film in 2005 with Monster in Law followed by Georgia Rule two years later. She also produced and starred in several exercise videos released between 1982 and 1995.
Fonda has been an activist for many political causes, one of the most notable and controversial of which was her opposition to the Vietnam War. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women. She describes herself as a liberal and a feminist. In 2005, Fonda worked alongside Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to co-found the Women's Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership trainining, and the creation of original content. Fonda currently serves on the board of the organization. Since 2001, Fonda has been a Christian. She published an autobiography in 2005.
Before starting her acting career, Fonda was a fashion model, gracing the cover of Vogue twice. Fonda became interested in acting in 1954, while appearing with her father in a charity performance of The Country Girl, at the Omaha Community Playhouse. She attended The Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, where she was an undistinguished student.
She recalled that at the age of five, she and her brother, actor Peter Fonda, acted out Western stories similar to those her father, Henry Fonda, played in the movies. After graduating from Vassar she went to Paris for two years to study art. Upon returning, she met Lee Strasberg and the meeting changed the course of her life, Fonda saying, "I went to the Actor's Studio and Lee Strasberg told me I had talent. Real talent. It was the first time that anyone, except my father—who had to say so—told me I was good. At anything. It was a turning point in my life. I went to bed thinking about acting. I woke up thinking about acting. It was like the roof had come off my life!"
Her stage work in the late 1950s laid the foundation for her film career in the 1960s. She averaged almost two movies a year throughout the decade, starting in 1960 with Tall Story, in which she recreated one of her Broadway roles as a college cheerleader pursuing a basketball star, played by Anthony Perkins. Period of Adjustment and Walk on the Wild Side followed in 1962. In Walk on the Wild Side, Fonda played a prostitute, and earned a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.