Home Uncategorized Astonishing: Jane Fonda Turns A Hot, Sexy Smart 75 Years Young

December 21st: I do believe the world is supposed to end today. Also, it’s the winter solstice. And Jane Fonda, the two time winner of the Academy Award, the great American actress after Katharine Hepburn and before Meryl Streep (and who gave us Meryl Streep in “Julia”), mother, grandmother, sister, activist, speaker of her mind, visionary, writer, and friend turns 75 years younger today. God bless her.

There have been books written about her, and she’s given us a full length memoir. Years and years ago, DA Pennebaker shot an entire documentary about her. For the smart people, she’s a hero–Jane Fonda gave voice to a generation when she was just finding her own, and enabled us to ask important questions of our government when it wasn’t fashionable, when it was dangerous, and when she had everything to lose after winning an Oscar for “Klute.”

After all she was also the daughter of a beloved movie star; she was Hollywood royalty. But she’d repositioned herself from sex kitten to thoughtful advocate. And she completely represented how the Sixties of pillbox hats and the Twist became the early Seventies of protests and ultimatums.

If your head remains buried in the sand, she’s still Hanoi Jane sitting on that tank. Please. She’s apologized over and over. The internet is still full of fictional tales about so called treasonous acts– all made up, well documented fantasies. Mistakes were made, yes, she’s the first to admit them. But we have to appreciate it when someone who has a lot to lose leverages their world to make a difference in ours. Fewer people do that every day.

Her GCAPP (Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention) foundation in Atlanta has helped thousands of teenage girls. Her work out books, tapes, and DVDs have always been cutting edge primers for mental and physical health.

None of this is accomplished without amazing focus, tenacity, and sheer brilliance. And it hasn’t been easy: her mother committed suicide. Her father was distant and difficult. She could have coasted, and taken life easy. She committed herseld instead to having the fullest life, mistakes and all, lived out in the open, come hell or high water.

It’s not over by a long shot. Seventy five? Jane Fonda does not retire. She’s got movies, and plays, and projects. She’s just been around the world promoting more workout DVDs. When she goes to the Cannes Film Festival–as she did in 2011–she steals the show from all the ingenues. Hot, sexy and smart at 75, that’s Jane Fonda, without hesitation.

The Oscars were for “Klute” and “Coming Home.” But in the 70s Jane took control of her career. Now every actress has a production company. Then, only Jane Fonda did. “Julia,” “The China Syndrome,” “On Golden Pond,” “9 to 5,” not to forget “The Morning After,” “The Electric Horseman,” “Comes a Horseman”– what a run. Even when  film didn’t quite work, like “Stanley and Iris” with Robert DeNiro, you could see the intentions were good.

The quintessential Jane Fonda film shows the main character on a learning curve. She starts with an established idea, or ethic, that is perfectly reasonable. Lots of people could live like the characters as we first meet them. But then everything is quesitoned, slowly, like an onion being peeled. And Fonda’s heroines learn something new. And we learn with them– even if it’s funny, as with “9 to 5” when Judy Bernly gradually realizes what her life could be.

Jane saw a long time ago what her life could be. I think she’s basically an optimist, which is sort of amazing. How does a person become that after everything that’s happened to her? Yesterday she wrote on her blog:

“When I was young–up till my 50s–I was sure that if I lived this long I’d be miserable, decrepit, ugly and alone.

Instead, I’m happier than ever, more at peace, healthy–well, there are times when my body hurts all because I have osteoarthritis. But that doesn’t define me. I’m basically healthy and have loving, intelligent, challenging children, grandchildren, friends and lover. I feel very blessed. I also know that this didn’t just happen, I’ve worked hard (and continue to) for this to be so.

I will turn 75 tomorrow, Friday 12/21/12, the day that the Mayans and others predicted a many-thousands-of-years-old era would come to an end. There are those who interpret this prediction as End of Days. I feel—as do many others–that it will, instead, mark an awakening, a new beginning.”

Really, no kidding, words to live by.





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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
5 replies to this post
  1. Dave, instead of regurgitating old propaganda, you should do some research. Find the facts, they will free you. Meet new people. Jane was on the side of ALL victims of that war – INCLUDING American men and women in uniform. If you are too stubborn to even consider looking at the reality, well, it’s your loss.

  2. Sexy or not … she is still “Hanoi Jane,” and loathed by every person who has ever worn a uniform. She is an embarrassment to our nation and a traitor who should have gone to jail for her Vietnam antics.

  3. Roger,

    As a self-professed student of film and major cinemaphile, I am a huge fan of Jane Fonda. She is an inspiration. I think it is long overdue for her to be forgiven for her brief lapse in judgment.

    75 and damn fabulous!

  4. Well, according to CNN, the Mayans living today view this day the same way – no apocalypse, but a fresh beginning ( and continuation!)

    I’m all for Jane too, I admire her courage and stamina and the activist part of her. In the midst of the most hateful backlash she went alone to meet angry war veterans and convinced many of them that she actually cared, and she went to live with Dolly Parton’s dirt poor people in the mountains to learn about another facet of life. And when she returned to films, she did it in the smartest way: In a comedy, falling on her behind! That took all the tension away.

    Yes, she also fell lock, stock and barrel for all the myths about female youth and what you have to do, but even if you don’t do the same, you have to sympathize with her reasons – hey, this is our only life.

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