MAKERS Profile

Jane Fonda

Actress, Author & Fitness Icon

In this video

Tagged as

Jane Fonda shares how she owned her own career and found new energy in her "third act."

Actor, producer, and activist Jane Fonda didn’t always know what she wanted to be. But when she took a class with Lee Strasberg at his famed Actors Studio (sitting next to Marilyn Monroe), she realized acting would be her field of choice. Initially, Fonda was repeatedly cast as the stereotypical “girlfriend,” until she was offered a role in the 1969 film “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” for which she received her first Oscar nomination.

After she realized she wanted more control over her filmmaking process, Fonda began producing her own movies, among them “9 to 5,” a film starring Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton, that spoke to real-life working women of the 80s. Around the same time, she began her series of aerobics videos, which eventually became the highest-selling exercise videos of all time.

When Fonda turned 60, she began what she called her “third act,” writing her memoir and relaunching her acting career with movies including “Monster-in-Law” and “The Butler.” In May 2015, she’ll launch a Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie,” with Lily Tomlin.

More From Jane

Good Girls Weren't Ambitious
When Fonda auditioned for Elia Kazan, she was forced to confront the stereotypes that ruled her life at the time.

I Might Have a Role to Play in That
When Sydney Pollack asked Fonda for her opinion on “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” she began to understand how important her role in a film could be.

I Was Really Enjoying Making Movies
Jane Fonda talks about what inspired “9 to 5,” and how it opened new doors for her.

Remain Part of the Movement
Fonda describes how she was on the ground as an activist, and why she was convinced not to quit Hollywood by a fellow member of the movement.

The Only Strategic Thing I've Ever Done
Jane Fonda talks about why she decided to do Monster-in-Law.

The Academy Awards Were Not Signed
When Jane Fonda learned the Academy Awards were not captioned or signed for deaf people, she planned a protest.

Not Enough Women Directors
Jane Fonda talks about the fundamental importance of female filmmakers.

It Ain't a Democracy
Jane Fonda’s definition of feminism, and why we haven’t achieved it yet.

Because, Why Not?
Why Jane Fonda started her blog.

Detoxify Masculinity
Jane Fonda talks about the problems boys and men face in our society, and how we can help them.

Movies Create Consciousness
Jane Fonda on why she co-founded the Women’s Media Center, and why representation matters.

What's Happening to Our Sons?
Jane Fonda's reflections after the tragedy of Columbine.