Broadway shows and screen films will be incomplete without mentioning the name of the star, Henry Fonda. The Academy Award winner was known for his soft-spoken, subtle, natural, and remarkable acting style, which gained him grand momentum in his career. During his lifetime, the actor welcomed three children from his five marriages. Fonda’s marriage to Margaret Brooke Sullivan in 1931 ended in divorce in 1933. In 1936, he wedded Frances Ford Seymour and they had their eldest child, Jane in 1937 then Peter in 1940.
The couple remained together until 1950 when Frances committed suicide. In the same year of his second wife’s death, Fonda got hitched to Susan Blanchard and they adopted a daughter, Amy, in 1953 but like his first marriage, the couple split three years later. Fonda walked down the aisle again with Italian Countess, Afdera Franchetti in 1957 but they divorced in 1961, and soon after, he tied the knot with Shirlee Mae Adams who became his last wife until his death in 1982.
Henry Fonda’s relationship with his children before his Death
Fonda’s relationship with his children can be termed “quiet” or “emotionally distant.” He was not a man who could voice out his feelings. “My father can’t articulate the way he works. He just can’t do it,” Jane Fonda once revealed. “He’s not even conscious of what he does, and it made him nervous for me to try to articulate what I was trying to do.”
In Peter Fonda’s 1998 autobiography, Don’t Tell Dad, he described his insecurity about the bonding he had with his father. He detailed that he was never sure of his father’s feelings towards him and it was until his dad was elderly that he heard the words, “I love you, son” for the first time.
Also, Jane was against her father’s friendship with Republican actors like John Wayne and that strained the father-daughter relationship. Jane told Closer in 2022 that she and her father eventually buried the hatchet and communicated with each other, “All I could do was to tell him, ‘I’m sorry that there were times when I made you unhappy. I’m sorry that I wasn’t always a great daughter. I totally forgive you for not always being a great father. I know that you did the best you could,’” Jane recalled. “I was sitting at his feet, and he began to cry — and my dad did not cry, especially in front of people. So, I know that he took in what I said to him.”
Jane began her acting career in 1960 by making her debut in the Broadway play There Was A Little Girl. Her superb talent in the play earned her a Tony Award For Best Featured Actress. Jane continued to captivate her audience when she made her on-screen debut with the romantic comedy Tall Story.
In the following years, the actress progressed her acting career, and in the middle of this, she found another interest, exercise. In 1982, she released her first workout video, and over the next 13 years, she put out 21 more such videos which collectively recorded a sale of over 17 million copies. Jane has also dedicated her time to political activism and has written memoirs for this cause. She has been through three marriages and has since remained unmarried but has been romantically linked to several men.
Like his sister, Peter also began his acting career in the 1960s when he appeared in the Broadway show, Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole. He starred in other television shows like The New Breed and Wagon Train. Peter’s big break in the industry came through with the movie Easy Rider, which he co-wrote, produced, and starred in. He earned an Academy Award Nomination for this movie which was worth over $40 million.
Peter was married three times, he first tied the knot with Susan Brewer in 1961. They welcomed two children, Bridget, a successful actress, and Justin, a camera assistant. The couple divorced in 1974 and Peter walked the aisle with his second wife, Portia Rebecca in 1975. The couple was together for 36 years but eventually split in 2011. He later married his third spouse Margaret DeVogelaere and they were in the union for eight years before his death. Peter died from a respiratory failure which was caused by lung cancer in his home in 2019 at the age of 79.
Amy Fonda Fishman
Amy Fonda who was born in 1953 has successfully stayed away from the spotlight and has kept her personal life away from the public.
However, according to Henry’s will, his fifth wife, Shirlee, and his adopted daughter, Amy, inherited his estate.