Movie Stars: Fonda, Henry–Career

From the beginning of his screen career, in 1935, through his last picture, “On Golden Pond,” in 1981, Henry Fonda appeared in 106 films, TV programs, and shorts.

Since his first film, Fonda has never been out of work, or out of demand.

His screen career had spanned over four decades, from 1935 to 1981.

Projecting a benign, pleasant, reassuring presence, and more importantly calm sincerity, Fonda had largely played conscientious men, both historical and contemporary.

Those portraits include playing the U.S. presidents in John Ford’s 1939 classic, Young Mr. Lincoln, and in Fail Safe.

Fonda appeared in many critically acclaimed films, including “The Ox-Bow Incident,” in 1943, and Sidney Lumet’s stunning directing debut, “12 Angry Men” (1957), which he also produced, in which he played a decent juror who saves an innocent man’s life with his painstaking patience and quiet stubborness.

Like John Wayne, Fonda was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar twice, in 1940 for John Ford’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” and in 1981 for “On Golden Pond,” produced by his daughter, Jane Fonda.

Also like Wayne, but unlike Jimmy Stewart, He won the Oscar at his second nomination and at a rather old age, in fact at 76.

Like Wayne and Stewart, Fonda also made his mark in Westerns, which included his most villainous role, Frank in Sergio Leone’s 1968 cult classic Once Upon a Time in the West.

Fonda also made war films, and appeared in both TV and foreign films late in his career.