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(May 14, 1960 – August 12, 1942)

Who is Henry Fonda ?

Henry Fonda (May 14, 1960 – August 12, 1942) was an American and theater actor. He earned a name for himself by becoming a Broadway actor. He began his Hollywood career in 1935 and was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Tom Zoad in ‘Grapes of Wrath’. Due to this film, his film career gained momentum and after that he continued to work in films for six decades.

He has acted in many classic films, such as ‘The Ox Bau Incident’, ‘Mr. Roberts’, ’12 Angry Men’. Later he also worked in serious films like ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ and in some light films, ‘Yours, Mine and Ours’. He received the best actor award for the film ‘On Golden Pond’ at the Unsavi Academy Awards. Fonda’s friends and family call him ‘Henk’.


Early career work

Fonda first started acting in Omar at the age of twenty. Fonda’s mother heard from her friend Dodie Brando (Marlon Brando’s mother) that a boy was needed to portray the character named Rikki at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Henry was chosen for this and at the same time he fell in love with the art of acting.

He felt that through acting he could disguise his real personality and he saw acting as a profession and left his job and moved to East in 1926 to test his fortune. He arrived on Cape Cod and played a role in ‘Cape Playhouse’, Dennis, Massachusetts. A friend of his took him to Falmouth where he soon became an important member of a stock company called ‘University Players’ and there he met his future wife, Margaret Sullivan.

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James Satuart joined Players’ just a few months after Henry’s departure, and the two later became friends for many years. Fonda had previously played a professional role in the University Palaeras production ‘The Zest’, edited by Sam Banelli. Thus the lean and tall Ford traveled to New York City where he met James Stuart and they both remained roommates (when his marriage with Margaret Sullivan ended).

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From 1926 to 1936 he participated in many theaters but at that time no actress was getting work due to ‘The Great Depression’ and Fonda did not even have money to travel in the subway.

Hollywood career

Fonda was first praised in the film The Farmer Takes a Wife and he soon started earning 3000 dollars a week and became a friend of big actresses like Kerala Lombard. Stuart also reached Hollywood soon after and both of them became room mates again. In 1935, he worked with Lily Ponce in ‘I Dream to Much’, which the New York Times saw as Henry Fonda, The Most Likeable of the New Crop of Romantic Juveniles.

He then worked with his first wife Margaret Sullivan in ‘The Moons Our Home’ and Fonda and Margaret reported to resume their relationship, but this did not happen. He again got a chance to act with Sylvia Sidney in ‘You Only Live Once’ (1937). She then starred in ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’ (1939) and ‘Jessie James’. The same year he acted in ‘Drums Along the Mohawk’ and he was also the director of this film.

Due to Henry Fonda‘s success, Ford selected him to play the character of ‘Tom Zoad’ in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. Fonda enlisted in the Navasena during World War II and remained in the Navasena for three years, first as quartermaster third class and later as Lieutenant junior grade. He also received the Navy Presidential Citation and Bronze Star for services in his Navy.