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Overview for Peter Fonda
Peter Fonda

Peter Fonda


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 23, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Cast ...


Known as Peter Honda in Japan for all his motorcycle commercials filmed and aired there

Some sources list 1940 as his birth year.

Fonda, the host of "Harley Davidson--The American Motorcycle" (TBS, 1993), still enjoys riding his Harley and tries to do at least one 3000-mile ride a year. Unfortunately, he had to cancel a planned millennial ride from Paris to Vladivostok when his safety couldn't be guaranteed in Russian bandit country.

"I stepped onto the stage of the Morosco Theater in 1961 for a Wednesday matinee of 'Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole'. I was in front of all the blue-haired ladies who come up from Philadelphia, and I could hear the murmuring: 'He looks like his father.'" --Fonda quoted in the Daily News, June 11, 1997

"People ask me... what it was like ... with Henry Fonda as my father. I say, 'Ever see "Fort Apache" (1948)? He was like Colonel Thursday at the table every day.' Jane'd say to me, 'What did you do?' I'd say, 'I didn't do anything. What is he so angry about?' 'I don't know.' But he wasn't angry at us. He was so painfully shy, and here he had two children and he didn't know how to relate to them, and it drove him inside more and more, and, as far as we were concerned, it created a facade of silent terror. It took us years to find out that he loved us very much, because it was hard for him to express it. He was a good actor because he could take that repressed emotion onstage or in front of the camera and say how he felt about things and be this person he couldn't be in his normal life. It was very hard for audiences to understand that. When Jane and I spoke out, they thought, 'What ungrateful children ...'" --quoted in Interview, June 1997.

About the special gift future wife Becky gave him on his 35th birthday: "It was her childhood copy of E.B. White's 'Stuart Little'. I couldn't talk, I was weeping so hard. Nobody in my fuckin' family knew that Stuart was a genuine hero, a mouse born into a regular family, and it all worked. It was a family as it's supposed to be. I used to think, I'm fuckin' Stuart Little. If Stuart can do it, I can do it. So I asked myself, 'What woman gives a grown man her childhood book?' And the answer was, 'The woman you're supposed to be with.'" --Fonda to Peter Biskind in Premiere, July 1997

Remembering the first time his father verbalized his love: "We both walked slowly to the front door. Once outside, he took me by the shoulders. It was as if he were pushing me away and at the same time drawing me close. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. Slowly and choking on the high-powered emotion, he said, 'I love you very much son. I want you to know that.'

"I hugged him so hard, I could feel the pacemaker in his chest. Tears streaming down my cheeks, I told him I loved him very much and kissed him on his lips. Something we had never done before. I quickly drove off, stopping at a nearby park to have the good hard cry I needed. Years of frustration fell off my heart like melting snow sliding off a roof." --From "Don't Tell Dad" by Peter Fonda, excerpted in People, March 16, 1998

On Hollywood's prevailing attitude toward him in the years since "Easy Rider": "'Fonda? That sonuvabitch? Isn't he up there in Montana just loaded on his ranch?' Well, no, I wasn't. I took drugs but I wasn't a druggie. I made an average of 1.3 films a year. Some were, you know, bad. But I did my job well. My father took everything he was offered. I'm sure he wasn't thrilled about being in 'The Swarm', but there he was." --Fonda to Bruce Weber in The New York Times Magazine, March 22, 1998

"Peter has gone through some difficult times. I equate it with tempering of steel. He emerged stronger and more flexible. He was always a fine actor and is now demonstrating the ability to be a finer actor than ever before." --Roger Corman quoted in USA Today, March 23, 1998

Of his character in "Ulee's Gold": "Three pages in, I knew I could be this guy. I'd sat at the dinner table with him all those years ago. I understood his depth, I knew his sadness. I knew what I'd studied in 36 years in motion pictures would come together to help me create him." --Fonda to the London Times, March 30, 1998

About the inspiration for "Easy Rider": "I was a little bit loaded, and I looked at a picture that had been left on the table for me to sign for somebody's cousin. It was a photograph from 'The Wild Angels' of me and Bruce Dern on a chop. I looked at the photo for a while and then thought about what I would look like if, instead of two guys on one cycle, I had each of the guys on a bike." --Fonda quoted in Neon, May 1998

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