Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda

A beloved, enduring screen star who embodied an idealized yet recognizable vision of the average but nonetheless intelligent and honorable American man, Henry Fonda began his acting career in his native Nebraska with the Omaha Community Playhouse. He worked his way to Broadway in 1929 and arrived in Hollywood in 1934. Fonda's benign, paternal presence landed him roles ranging from conscientious US presidents, in "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939) and "Fail-Safe" (1964), to the patient juror who saves an innocent man's life in "Twelve Angry Men" (1957). He continued both his stage and screen careers through the 1970s, performing in such fine films as the romantic comedy "The Lady Eve" (1941), the John Ford Westerns "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1939), "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and "Fort Apache" (1948), the Sergio Leone "spaghetti" Western "Once Upon a Time in the West" (1969, one of his rare villainous roles) and the political drama "Advise and Consent" (1962). Amazingly, for years Fonda's only Oscar nomination was for his moving work as itinerant farm worker Tom Joad in Ford's "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940); a year after the Academy granted him an honorary award, though, he won another statuette as best actor Oscar for his swan-song performance in "On Golden Pond" (1981).