22 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Friday Minute
No. 16 | January 22, 2010

It Runs in the Family

Our theme this week
Families with three (or more) generations of film actors

Featured this week
Monday         —   The Fondas
Tuesday         —   The Hustons
Wednesday    —   The Carradines
Thursday        —   The Redgraves

The Barrymores

The essentials
Before they were the Barrymores
:
The Drew Generations:  John Drew, married to Louisa Lane Drew (both were stage actors and theater owners; Louisa appeared in plays with John Wilkes Booth and his father); John and Louisa were parents of stage actors Louisa Drew, John Drew Jr. (leading matinee idol of his day), Georgiana Drew (married to Maurice Barrymore), and Sidney Drew (of stage and film comedy team Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Drew)

The early Barrymores:
Pre-film Generation:  Maurice Barrymore (born Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Blyth, he studied law at Oxford before becoming a middleweight boxing champion, then a major Broadway star), married to Georgiana Drew

First Generation (film):  Lionel, Ethel, John
Second Generation:  Diana, John Drew (John)
Third Generation:  John Blyth, Drew (John Drew)

This week I have so far resisted using the word dynasty.  Though it’s a label that could apply to the other families, it’s a word that’s hard not to use when talking about the Barrymores.  The acting bloodlines go back to the first half the 19th century, more than we have time to cover here.  We’ll pick up their story with film stars Lionel, Ethel, and John, which still leaves plenty to discuss.

lionel_barrymoreLionel Barrymore was first an actor in the theater, and he was the first of the Barrymores to move into film.  He made dozens of silents with D.W. Griffith in the early 1910s.  Barrymore made 17 films released in 1912 (according to IMDb), and he was just warming up for the next year, when he made 45.  The film biz was a different place in those days, but that’s still an astonishing amount of work.  After a couple of decades of silents, as an actor and director, Barrymore made the transition to sound films.  He was nominated for an Oscar for directing Madame X (1929).  He won Best Actor in 1931 for playing an alcoholic defense attorney in A Free Soul.  It was a record-setting performance, earning a citation in the Guinness Book for Barrymore’s 14-minute uninterrupted monologue.  He appeared with his brother, John, in Grand Hotel (1932), but was the only Barrymore in (a usefully titled) A Family Affair (1937), where he played Andy’s dad, the first Judge Hardy.  He was the grandfather on crutches in 1938’s Best Picture, You Can’t Take It With You.  In fifteen films he played Dr. Leonard Gillespie, a role he began in Young Dr. Kildare (1938).  In his later years, a broken hip and arthritis kept him wheelchair-bound, though not out of movies.  He had played Ebenezer Scrooge annually on radio and was the perfect choice for the unforgettable Mr. Potter in the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).  He was memorable as well in Key Largo (1948), as the hotel owner who’d lost a son in the war.

ethel_barrymoreEthel Barrymore was a big star on the New York stage.  Her name still adorns the Broadway theater on 47th Street that has featured legitimate productions since the 1920s.  She traveled west to make silent films beginning in 1914.  She performed with brothers Lionel and John in Rasputin and the Empress (1932), the only film with all three Barrymores in starring roles.  Not a big fan of Hollywood (“the whole place is a glaring, gaudy nightmarish set, built up in the desert”), she stayed away for a decade but returned with an Oscar-winning performance opposite Cary Grant in None But the Lonely Heart (1944).  Her other notable films include Alfred Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case (1947) and Portrait of Jennie (1948).

john_barrymoreThe youngest of three, John Barrymore followed his family onto the stage.  He was hailed as one of the great talents of his generation, famous for his Shakespearean leads (Richard III, Hamlet) and other roles.  He started making films in 1913 and some of his noteworthy silent movies include Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), Sherlock Holmes (1922), and Don Juan (1926).  He played Captain Ahab in The Sea Beast (1926), then reprised the role for the sound remake Moby Dick (1930).  Grand Hotel (1932), with Greta Garbo and his brother, was a huge success.  He played a washed-up silent actor in Dinner at Eight (1933), with Jean Harlow.  He starred with Myrna Loy in Topaze (1933) and with Carole Lombard in Howard Hawks’s screwball classic Twentieth Century (1934).   His last great performance of Shakespeare was as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (1936), directed by George Cukor.  He collapsed on a radio show in 1942 and died a few days later.  He had this to say about his ways:  “There are lots of methods. Mine involves a lot of talent, a glass, and some cracked ice.”

Diana Barrymore was John’s daughter by his second wife.  Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was estranged from her father for most of her life. She made her Broadway debut at 19, and a few years later began making films.  She costarred with Brian Donlevy in Nightmare (1942).  Her Hollywood career did not last, shortened by problems with alcohol. Her autobiography, Too Much, Too Soon, was made into a 1958 film with Dorothy Malone as Diana and Errol Flynn as her father.

John Drew Barrymore was John’s son by his third wife, and also was young when his parents divorced.  He broke into pictures in 1950 with The Sundowners, and starred in Joseph Losey’s film noir The Big Night (1951).  His Hollywood career never took off, however.  He acted on television later in the ’50s, then moved to Italy where he made films during the ’60s.  He married four times, and with his third wife had daughter Drew.

John Blyth Barrymore is the son of John Drew Barrymore and half-brother of Drew.  He appeared on the Kung Fu TV series in the ’70s and had a number of small movie roles during the ’80s and ’90s.

drew_barrymoreDrew Barrymore is the youngest of the acting Barrymores and the youngest to attain stardom.  She was the adorably naughty Gertie in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), which made her famous at the age of seven.  Irreconcilable Differences (1984) earned her good reviews.  She went through some rebellious tween and teen years, and wrote a book about them, Little Girl Lost.  In Scream (1996) she made a brief but eerily memorable appearance, and she costarred with Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer (1998).  She starred in the comedy Never Been Kissed (1999), the first film from her own production company, which had a hit a year later with Charlie’s Angels.  Reteaming with Sandler she made 50 First Dates (2004) and received generally good reviews for Music and Lyrics (2007), with Hugh Grant.  In 2009 she directed her first feature, Whip It, a comedy starring Ellen Page.  This past week she won a Golden Globe for playing “Little Edie” Bouvier in the HBO film Grey Gardens.  The still-young Barrymore is in her thirties now, and the worst of her troubles seem to be behind her.  She’s talented, and if she may not have all the brilliance of some in her lineage, she may at this point be more stable, and more appealing.

Beyond the final credits
The families we featured this week made a lot of movies, but none of them made a movie in which all three generations appeared.  For that feat we need to look to another family.  A 2003 comedy-drama about a family of prominent and dysfunctional New Yorkers starred the father-son-grandson trio of Kirk, Michael, and Cameron Douglas.   Diana Dill, real-life mother of Michael and real-life ex of Kirk, played the elder father’s wife.  The title’s an apt one (you knew this already, right?):  It Runs in the Family.


You Can’t Take It With You (1938)
Lionel Barrymore, Jean Arthur


Quote of Note
“First there was the dream, now there is reality. Here in the untainted cradle of the heavens will be created a new super race, a race of perfect physical specimens. You have been selected as its progenitors. Like gods, your offspring will return to Earth and shape it in their image. You have all served in public capacities in my terrestrial empire. Your seed, like yourselves, will pay deference to the ultimate dynasty which I alone have created. From their first day on Earth they will be able to look up and know that there is law and order in the heavens.”
— Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), Moonraker (1979)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 21 Jan 2010 @ 10:45 PM

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 21 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Thursday Minute
No. 15 | January 21, 2010

It Runs in the Family

Our theme this week
Families with three (or more) generations of film actors

Featured this week
Monday         —   The Fondas
Tuesday         —   The Hustons
Wednesday    —   The Carradines

The Redgraves

The essentials
First Generation:  Roy, m. Daisy Bertha Mary (Margaret) Scudamore et al.
Second Generation:  Michael
Third Generation:  Vanessa, Corin, Lynn
Fourth Generation:  Natasha Richardson, Joely Richardson (Vanessa); Jemma (Corin) 

Roy, the patriarch of the Redgrave family, if you will, is more than likely not one of the Redgraves you’ve heard about.  He worked on the stage in London more than a century ago.  He was married to an actress and had several children, both in and out of wedlock.  He married a second time, and soon after son Michael was born in 1908, Roy left permanently for Australia.  He performed on stage there, and mostly during the 1910s appeared in a handful of silent films.  His second wife, who changed her name to Margaret after Roy abandoned her, raised Michael, remarried, and acted in the theater.  Later in life, she appeared in several British films.

michael_redgraveSir Michael Redgrave is one of the great names of the British stage.  He also has amassed an impressive body of work in film.  Redgrave started his professional acting career at the Old Vic, under Tyrone Guthrie, in the ’30s.  For five decades he performed on the London stage, at Stratford as a member of the Shakespeare company, and in New York.  He won numerous acting awards.  He directed as well.  He made an impressive film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic The Lady Vanishes (1938), and in the next few years appeared in three Carol Reed films, including The Stars Look Down (1940).  He went on to make three films with Anthony Asquith as well, most notably as the repressed teacher in The Browning Version (1951).  He traveled to the U.S. on occasion, appearing in Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) and Fritz Lang’s Secret Beyond the Door… (1948).  Bringing the stage to film, he played the title role in a highly regarded adaptation of Uncle Vanya (1963).  Redgrave wrote books on acting and an autobiography.  He admitted privately that he was a bisexual.  It’s worth noting, unlike most of the actors covered this week, Redgrave had but one wife.  He was married to the actress Rachel Kempson for 50 years.

vanessa_redgraveVanessa Redgrave, like her father, has had a long and prosperous stage career.  She’s won Olivier and Tony Awards for performances on the West End and on Broadway.  Her other work has also been richly rewarded.  She’s won an Oscar, Emmys, Golden Globes, Cannes awards, and multiple prizes from critics’ groups.  She received good reviews for her first starring film role, in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966).  She played a London swinger for Michelangelo Antonioni in his provocative English-language debut, Blowup (1966).  She portrayed the life (and odd death) of modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan in Isadora (1968).  With Jane Fonda as Lillian Hellman, she played the title role in Julia (1977).  She played Ruth Wilcox, the owner of the estate, in Howards End (1992), and Clarissa in Mrs. Dalloway (1997).  She made a brief but memorable appearance as the older Briony Tallis in Atonement (2007).  Throughout her life she has been outspoken in her support of a number of political causes, among them civil rights, nuclear disarmament, Soviet Jews, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).  She has worked as an ambassador for the United Nations.

Corin Redgrave, like his sister Vanessa, has both a career as actor and political activist.  He has worked in theater, on television, and in films.  His movie credits include A Man for All Seasons (1966), Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), In the Name of the Father (1993), and as Hamish, the groom of wedding two, in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

lynn_redgraveLynn Redgrave has been active on stage, television, and film since the ’60s.  She had a part in the hit Tom Jones (1963) and won raves for Georgy Girl (1966).  All her charm couldn’t do much to save The Happy Hooker (1975).  She played the supportive lover and wife of the pianist in Shine (1995), and the disapproving housekeeper of gay director James Whale in Gods and Monsters (1998).

natasha_richardsonNatasha Richardson was the older daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and film director Tony Richardson, and, no surprise, had a long and distinguished career onstage.  Her film performances included the role of Mary Shelly in Gothic (1986) and the title role in Paul Schrader’s Patty Hearst (1988).  She played in the lead in the film adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1990), set in a dystopian religious tyranny.  She and her husband-to-be, Liam Neeson, costarred as doctors trying to help the isolated girl in Nell (1994).  She starred in Asylum (2005) and with her mother in Evening (2007).  Her life was tragically cut short in a skiing accident in Quebec in March 2009.  In The Wildest Dream (due in 2010), a documentary about George Mallory’s ill-fated expedition up Mt. Everest, Richardson’s voice will provide the off-screen role of Mallory’s wife.

joely_richardsonJoely Richardson has also appeared in films, on stage, and on TV (notably Nip/Tuck).  Her films include roles in Wetherby (1985), James L. Brooks’s I’ll Do Anything (1994), and as Marie Antoinette in The Affair of the Necklace (2001).  In 2004 she appeared in the HBO film The Fever, which starred her mother and was directed by her half-brother Carlo Gabriel Nero.

Jemma Redgrave has been a star of British television for a couple of decades (perhaps best known for the lead in the Bramwell series).  In film she played the daughter of her aunt Vanessa in Howards End.

Beyond the final credits
Rachel Kempson was a Redgrave by marriage and an actress in her own right.  (She was Lady Redgrave, formally, though she didn’t use that name professionally.)  She was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English Theatre Company, and the Old Vic, and she appeared with Michael many times on stage.  She acted on British television across several decades.  Among her notable films are The Captive Heart (1946), Tom Jones (1963), and Out of Africa (1985).


The Browning Version (1951)
Michael Redgrave


One of the Greats
Yakima Canutt is often regarded as the greatest stuntman in the history of Hollywood.  Canutt was a double for top stars such as John Wayne and Clark Gable.  He famously performed the “drop” stunt in Stagecoach, jumping across a team of galloping horses and falling to the ground.  He was the second unit director on Ben-Hur and staged that film’s memorable chariot race.

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:07 AM

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 20 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Wednesday Minute
No. 14 | January 20, 2010

It Runs in the Family

Our theme this week
Families with three (or more) generations of film actors

Featured this week
Monday         —   The Fondas
Tuesday         —   The Hustons

The Carradines

The essentials
First Generation:  John
Second Generation:  David, Keith, Robert
Third Generation:  Ever (Robert), Martha Plimpton (Keith)

john_carradineJohn Carradine appeared in hundreds of movies during his six decades of acting.  In his own words:  “I’ve made some of the greatest films ever made—and a lot of crap, too.”  Accounting for some of the better stuff, he was a frequent player in John Ford films, eleven times in all.  He was Hatfield, the gambler, in Stagecoach (1939), and Casy, the preacher, in The Grapes of Wrath (1940).  He cited his role as a serial killer in Edgar G. Ulmer’s low-budget noir Bluebeard (1944) as a career favorite.  He did a lot of stage work and a fair amount of Shakespeare, but from the ’40s on, he churned out more horror film roles than anything else.

david_carradineAppearing with his father, among others, David Carradine starred in Martin Scorsese’s early outlaw film Boxcar Bertha (1972), then he had a memorable cameo in Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973).  He was already a TV star (Kung Fu) when he played folksinger Woody Guthrie in the critically acclaimed Bound for Glory (1976).  He was in Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg (1977), and joined brothers Keith and Robert for The Long Riders (1980), a Walter Hill western featuring four sets of actor brothers (with the Keaches, Quaids, and Guests).  Often cast as the villain, he was very effective as Bill in Quentin Tarantino’s two-parter, Kill Bill (2003/2004).  This past June Carradine was found dead in a hotel in Bangkok.  He was 72.

keith_carradineIn TV’s Kung Fu, Keith Carradine was the teenage Caine played as an adult by his brother David.  He made three films with Robert Altman:  McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), his debut; Thieves Like Us (1974); and Nashville (1975), where he picked up an Oscar for his song “I’m Easy.”  He and Harvey Keitel were two Americans playing sword-fighting Frenchmen in The Duellists (1977).  As the photographer he took a fancy to a young Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby (1978).  Other notable films include The Moderns (1988) and the Merchant Ivory production of The Ballad of the Sad Café (1991).

Robert Carradine has been making movies since the early ‘70s.  His most popular role has been as Lewis Skolnick in  the Revenge of the Nerds series (1984, 1987, 1991, 1994; the first two were released theatrically).

Other sons of John Carradine are Bruce, who did some acting during the 1970s and ’80s, and Christopher, an architect who became a vice-president at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Ever Carradine, daughter of Robert, is probably the least known of the acting Carradines.  She has done a lot of TV work and performed many small film roles.  She starred in the horror-comedy Dead & Breakfast (2004).  Though she’s two months younger than actor Jason Mewes, she played his mother in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). 

martha_plimptonMartha Plimpton is the daughter of Keith.  Her breakthrough on film was as one of the teens in The Goonies (1985).  She made a couple of movies with her boyfriend of the time, the late River Phoenix:  The Mosquito Coast (1986) and Running on Empty (1988).  Other film work includes Parenthood (1989), Stanley & Iris (1991), and as a friend of radical feminist Valerie Solanas in I Shot Andy Warhol (1996).  She has played many TV roles and been successful on Broadway, with three recent Tony nominations.

Beyond the final credits
The question of which actor appeared in the most movies doesn’t have a definitive answer.  It depends on how you define “movie” and “appearance,” for one thing (e.g., do cartoon voices count?).  Even then, records are incomplete, especially for older films and low-budget indies.  Toward the end of his life, John Carradine claimed to have appeared in more films than any other actor.  We’ll leave the counting to others, and even if he doesn’t have the record (it’s likely he doesn’t, especially if you consider Bollywood actors), he was nevertheless among the most prolific of actors. 


Kill Bill:  Vol. 2 (2004)
David Carradine, Uma Thurman


Quote of Note
“Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you.  But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again.  Ever.”
— Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), The Godfather (1972)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2010 @ 12:04 AM

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 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Tuesday Minute
No. 13 | January 19, 2010

It Runs in the Family

Our theme this week
Families with three (or more) generations of film actors

Featured this week
Monday         —   The Fondas

The Hustons

The essentials
First Generation:  Walter
Second Generation:  John
Third Generation:  Anjelica, Danny

walter_hustonIf Walter Huston had never done anything else, he’d still be remembered for that jig on a Mexican hillside in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).  But more he did.  A stage actor from Canada, he was in his forties when he went to Hollywood, soon after the first talkies were made.  He appeared in more than 50 movies before he died in 1950.  Some of his memorable roles were in Dodsworth (1937), The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), and the classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, directed by his son, John.  He received Oscar nominations for each of those four performances, including a well-deserved win for the last (“I know what gold does to men’s souls”).

john_hustonJohn Huston is best known as a director, one of the greats.  Most of his credits in the ’30s were for writing.  He made his directorial debut a memorable one, the classic adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Maltese Falcon (1941).  The film featured a cast for the ages and was one of six movies that Huston made with Humphrey Bogart.  A few of Huston’s other films include Key Largo (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The African Queen (1951), Moby Dick (1956), The Misfits (1961), Fat City (1972), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), and The Dead (1987).  He directed both his father and his daughter in Oscar-winning performances—Walter for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Anjelica for Prizzi’s Honor (1985).  John won Oscars for writing and directing The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and the Hustons are the only family with three generations of Oscar winners.  John Huston acted too, with memorable performances in Otto Preminger’s The Cardinal (1961) (he was nominated for an Oscar), as the corrupt Noah Cross in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1975), and in his own Wise Blood (1979).

anjelica_hustonAnjelica Huston has starred in a number of films with Jack Nicholson, with whom she had a long relationship.  They include the remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Prizzi’s Honor, and Sean Penn’s The Crossing Guard (1995).  She gave terrific performances in The Dead and The Grifters (1991), and got one of her three Oscar nominations for Enemies:  A Love Story (1989).  Huston’s most popular role may have been Morticia in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel.  She’s made three films with director Wes Anderson:  The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007).  Like her father, she has directed (Agnes Browne, 1999).

danny_hustonHalf-brother to Anjelica, Danny is perhaps the most active of the Huston clan currently.  He started as a director, then moved in front of the camera.  He’s appeared in a number of notable films, including Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams (2003), the screen version of John le Carré’s The Constant Gardener (2005), and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006).  He took over the role of William Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), and costars in the thriller Edge of Darkness, opening this month.

Beyond the final credits
Walter Huston starred in the 1938 Broadway musical Knickerbocker Holiday.  When taking the role, Huston asked that he be given a solo.  Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson agreed, and they composed “September Song” for the character of Governor Pieter Stuyvesant.  The show closed after six months, but ”September Song” went on to became a standard.  Huston’s recording became a hit years later, after it was used in the 1950 film September Affair.  The song has been recorded by many others, including Bing Crosby, Ezio Pinza, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Durante, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Reed, and Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen.


Chinatown (1924)
John Huston, Jack Nicholson


MAD FilmFest 101 Hint:
I had a hint for you about those characters with amnesia, but it seems to have slipped my mind…well, anyway, three of their five films start with the same letter.


Point of View
“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented.  They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.”
— Andy Warhol

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2010 @ 11:02 AM

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 18 Jan 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Monday Minute
No. 12 | January 18, 2010

It Runs in the Family

Bogart’s father was a surgeon, Olivier’s an Anglican priest, Cagney’s a bartender and boxer.  Actors come from every walk of life.  But for many actors, the family business is acting.  They grow up in show biz, the sons and daughters of actors and actresses.  We see that happen quite a bit.  What’s not so common, though, is the family of actors that passes the trade from the second generation to the third.

Our theme this week
Families with three (or more) generations of film actors

The Fondas

The essentials
First Generation:  Henry
Second Generation:  Jane, Peter
Third Generation:  Bridget (Peter)

henry_fondaHenry Fonda grew up in Nebraska.  He didn’t have a famous name, but his mother knew Dodie Brando (mother of Marlon), who helped him get his start at the community theater in Omaha.  He went on to do summer stock in Cape Cod, then Broadway, where he played the lead in the 1934 production of The Farmer Takes a Wife.  When the comedy was filmed the next year, Fonda reprised his role, and the struggling stage actor was suddenly a movie star making $3,000 a week.   Fonda went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest names.  He often played the idealist, the soft-spoken, honest type who would stand up for a cause, or for himself, when needed.  He appeared in many westerns and war movies, and over the years starred in an impressive number of top films:  The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Lady Eve (1941), My Darling Clementine (1946), Mister Roberts (1955), 12 Angry Men (1957), Fail-Safe (1964), and How the West Was Won (1968).  A year after he received an Honorary Oscar, he won his first Academy Award for acting, for On Golden Pond (1981).  The film featured Henry and Jane Fonda as father and daughter, their only performance together, with a strained relationship onscreen that paralleled difficulties between the two actors in real life.

jane_fonda_3Jane Fonda was the daughter of Henry and Frances Ford Seymour, the second of Henry’s five wives, who suffered from mental illness and killed herself when Jane was 12.  Jane modeled and acted on stage before making films.  Her first big success was the comedy western Cat Ballou (1965), which led to the film adaptation of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park (1967), opposite Robert Redford, and the sci-fi spoof Barbarella (1968).  Her career soared over the next decade, with mostly dramatic roles in films such as They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), Klute (1971), Julia (1977), Coming Home (1978), and The China Syndrome (1979).  Meanwhile, she become well-known for her political activism in support of civil rights, American Indians, and feminism, and for her opposition to the war in Vietnam (her 1972 trip to Hanoi was especially controversial).  In the ’80s, she turned to comedy with Nine to Five, then On Golden Pond, with her father, and as a psychiatrist in Agnes of God (1985)—though her best-known role may have been the aerobics guru she played in a very popular series of videotapes.  She retired from movies, then returned in 2005 to star in the hit comedy Monster-in-Law.

peter_fondaPeter Fonda is two years younger than his sister Jane.  He had his first big success as the Harley-riding “Captain America” of Easy Rider (1969), a countercultural landmark and a movie that changed Hollywood.  He had a hit with the car chase film Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974), teamed with Warren Oates for Race with the Devil (1975), and made other films playing the role of the rebel, a contrast to the more upright image portrayed by his father.  He won critical acclaim and an Oscar as the beekeeper in Ulee’s Gold (1997).  In supporting roles, he appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey (1999) and the western remake 3:10 to Yuma (2007).

bridget_fondaAs a five-year-old, Bridget Fonda made her first screen appearance in her father’s hit Easy Rider.  She was in a string of notable films of the ’90s, appearing in The Godfather: Part III (1991), Single White Female (1992), the English-language remake of La Femme Nikita, Point of No Return (1993), Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997), and A Simple Plan (1998).  She turned to TV in the new decade, then married (composer Danny Elfman) and had a child.  She hasn’t been in a movie since 2002.

Beyond the final credits
Though Henry was never known to be as politically outspoken as his daughter, he did take a controversial stand in 1947, joining Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and John Huston in an open letter to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  They sought an end to Congress’s investigations of Communist activity in Hollywood.  The investigations continued, however, and the political climate in Southern California during the blacklist era would be in part responsble for Fonda’s move to New York.  He returned to Hollywood in 1955 to play the title character in Mister Roberts, a role he had performed on Broadway.


Barefoot in the Park (1967)
Jane Fonda, Robert Redford


Quote of Note
“Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark.  I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look—wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build—I’ll be there, too.”
— Tom Joad (Henry Fonda), The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 18 Jan 2010 @ 03:09 PM

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