Obituary–Actor Peter Fonda, Dead at Age 79

Oscar and Golden Globe Nominee

Peter Fonda, a long-time resident of Castellammare in Pacific Palisades, died today, August 16 at age 79. According to press reports, he died of respiratory failure because of lung cancer.

 On his website, Peter writes: “Part of my lifestyle you should all remember is having fun. Being funny is a big part of it. After all, if one is in tune, funny is the tune to play. Giving laughter is more fun than giving advice. Giving laughter while giving advice is the jackpot. What a great word, ‘jackpot.’

“I believe that one is only truly free when one is learning, and one can only learn when one is free. Freedom is NOT just another word for ‘nothing left to lose.’”

Peter was born on February 23, 1940, in Manhattan, the son of film star Henry Fonda and Florence Seymour (Brokaw) Fonda. When Peter was 10 and his older sister Jane was 13, their mother committed suicide.

He attended the University of Nebraska and began his career in regional theater in the Omaha Community Playhouse, starring in “The Golden Fleece” in 1960. A year later, Peter won a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for a role in “Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole.”

His television debut came in an episode of “The Naked City” in 1962. His first film was opposite Sandra Dee in “Tammy and the Doctor” (1963). A year later, he starred with Warren Beatty in “Lilith.”

His best remembered, break-through film was “Easy Rider” in 1969. With co-star Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern, Peter shared a best original screenplay Oscar nomination, for the tale of two hippie bikers on a cross-country trip.

The 50th anniversary of the film will be this fall, with a screening planned at Radio City Music Hall.

In 1997, Peter was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for “Ulee’s Gold.” He also won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for “The Passion of Ayn Rand” (1999).

Other films included “Futureworld” (1976), “The Limey” (1999) and the 2007 remake of “3:10 to Yuma.”

According to the New York Times, Fonda’s final film appearance was in “The Last Full Measure,” a war drama, scheduled to be released in October.

He is survived by his wife Margaret DeVogelaere and his sister Jane; daughter Bridget Fonda; son Justin Fonda; two stepsons, Thomas McGuane and Wills DeVogelaere; stepdaughter Lexi DeVogelaere and a grandson.

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1 Response to Obituary–Actor Peter Fonda, Dead at Age 79

  1. perry akins says:

    I had a brief encounter with Peter Fonda a couple of years back at Starbucks in the Palisades. He was waiting for his coffee order as I was and noticed he had a cane. I commented to him that I hope his need of a cane was not the result of a motorcycle accident. He pleasantly responded that no, no such luck, and that the cane was a result of a hip replacement. I was a fan and he will certainly be missed by all of us fans.

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