Henry Jaynes Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Elma Herberta (Jaynes) and William Brace Fonda, who worked in advertising and printing. His recent ancestry included Dutch, English, and Scottish.
Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater troupe directed by Dorothy Brando. He moved to the Cape Cod University Players and later Broadway, New York to expand his theatrical career from 1926 to 1934. His first major roles in Broadway include “New Faces of America” and “The Farmer Takes a Wife”. The latter play was transferred to the screen in 1935 and became the start-up of Fonda’s lifelong Hollywood career. The following year he married Frances Seymour Fonda with whom he had two children: Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda, also to become screen stars (his granddaughter is actress Bridget Fonda). He is most remembered for his roles as Abe Lincoln in ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’ (1939), Tom Joad in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ (1940), for which he received an Academy Award Nomination, and more recently, Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond (1981), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1982. Henry Fonda is considered one of Hollywood’s old-time legends and was friend and contemporary of James Stewart, John Ford and Joshua Logan. His movie career which spanned almost 50 years is completed by a notable presence in American theater and television.