Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.
Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins. He made his Hollywood debut in 1935, and his career gained momentum after his Academy Award-nominated performance as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, a 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel about an Oklahoma family who moved west during the Dust Bowl. Throughout six decades in Hollywood, Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in such classics as The Ox-Bow Incident, Mister Roberts and 12 Angry Men. Later, Fonda moved toward both more challenging, darker epics as Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and lighter roles in family comedies like Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball.
Fonda was the patriarch of a family of famous actors, including daughter Jane Fonda, son Peter Fonda, granddaughter Bridget Fonda, and grandson Troy Garity; his family and close friends called him “Hank”. In 1999, he was named the sixth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska to advertising-printing jobber William Brace Fonda and his wife, Elma Herberta, in the second year of their marriage. The Fonda family had emigrated westward from Genoa, Italy, to the Netherlands in the 16th century, and then to the United States in the 17th century, settling in the town now called Fonda, New York.