‘I miss him so much!’: Jane Fonda, 85, talks the heartbreak of losing her movie star father Henry Fonda more than 40 years ago
Jane Fonda is unable to watch parts of the film On Golden Pond, the Oscar winning film she made with her father, Henry Fonda, more than 40 years after making it.
The vibrant actress, 85, looked away from a clip which was shown during an appearance on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? On HBO Max and CNN, explaining when asked why, ‘Because it makes me cry. I miss my dad so much.’
The show began streaming Friday morning and is scheduled to air on CNN Sunday.
The late actor won his one and only Academy Award for the film at the 1982 ceremonies, although he had been presented with an Honorary Award for his body of work in 1981.
Jane, who was sent to boarding school at age 12 after her mother’s tragic death by suicide, has described her father as distant, in spite of his being able to show great emotion on-screen.
Recounting the scene in which Jane’s character Chelsea tells her dad, Norman, she wanted to be ‘friends’ with him, the actress said she improvised parts of the scene.
Opened up: Jane Fonda opened up about her relationship with her late father, Henry Fonda, in an emotional interview with Chris Wallace on Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace? On HBO Max and CNN. The show streamed Friday on HBO and will air Sunday on CNN
‘I purposely did something that hadn’t been rehearsed because I wanted him to be surprised. And when I said “I want to be your friend” and I touched his arm, that we’d not rehearsed that, and he flinches. And he ducked his head and he puts his hand like this (demonstrating), but I saw that he was emotional.’
‘It’s funny, for an actor who doesn’t want to be seen as emotional, but he was terrified of emotions. And that meant a lot to me.’
Jane was teary as she described the experience, but said when the scene was shot, her reaction was completely different.
‘I’d had a hard time with the scene. It was so personal that when we actually got there to do it. I totally dried up. And I was… it was… it’s like an actor’s worst nightmare. And I asked him afterwards at dinner I said, “has that ever happened to you?”‘
The 80 for Brady star recalled her father said ‘no,’ and didn’t explain further.
By the time the Academy Awards ceremonies took place, Henry Fonda was too ill to attend, so when the winner was announced, Jane accepted the Best Actor award for him.
‘My father is so happy, he feels so fortunate to have been able to play the role of “Norman Thayer,” a character that he loves a lot and understands very well,’ she told the audience.
Henry Fonda died about five months later, on August 12, 1982 at the age of 77.
Co-stars: Jane and her late father, Henry Fonda, co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in the Oscar winning film, On Golden Pond. The actress said her father was very similar to his character Norman Thayer
Missing: When a clip from the film was aired during the interview, Jane looked away and when asked why, replied, ‘Because it makes me cry. I miss my dad so much’
The Grace and Frankie star said her father’s behavior was typical for men of his generation.
‘That movie On Golden Pond was kind of like a resolution in a way, my being able to say that to him in the scene. And he died five months later. And before he died, I was able to tell him, that I loved him and that that I forgave him for, you know, whatever didn’t happen.’
‘And I hope that he would forgive me for not being a better daughter. I got to say that to him. He didn’t say anything. But he wept. And I had never seen that before. I’ve never seen my father break down and weep. And I it was, it was powerful.’
The thrice married exercise guru has said she believed her relationship with her dad affected her relationships with men, including her three husbands, director Roger Vadim, politician and activist Tom Hayden and CNN founder Ted Turner.
Resolution: ‘On Golden Pond was kind of like a resolution in a way, my being able to say that to him in the scene… And before he died, I was able to tell him, that I loved him and that that I forgave him for, you know, whatever didn’t happen,’ she recalled (Pictured circa 1963)
‘I just assumed that nobody would be interested in knowing me, unless I was with a man who was really interesting, and they were all interesting.’ she admitted.
Now the actress and avid climate activist is happily living on her own and shared a saucy anecdote about telling her realtor she planned on living solo when she bought the house she now lives in.
‘I’ve got a drawer full of vibrators, but there’s no, no man gonna be there,’ she quipped.
‘I can honestly say, Chris, that I am…. I am happier than I’ve ever been.’
Happy: The thrice married and divorced actress contended she was ‘happier than I’ve ever been,’ and not looking for a man. ‘I’ve got a drawer full of vibrators,’ she said
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