Henry Fonda was born on this day in 1905. The now-legendary actor was pulled into the profession as a young boy by Dodie Brando–Marlon’s mother–who needed to cast a young male lead in a production at the Omaha Community Playhouse. By 1929 the actor had reached Broadway and in 1935 took to the screen, reprising the role he played on stage in The Farmer Takes a Wife. Shortly thereafter Fonda began working with director John Ford, with whom he made nine films, including his most famous, The Grapes of Wrath. Other mutual credits include some of cinema’s most widely regarded movies–Young Mr. Lincoln, My Darling Clementine and Fort Apache among them. In the midst of his career, Fonda found purpose serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and returned to film without ever having lost a beat. Notable post-war titles include War and Peace, How the West Was Won, Yours, Mine and Ours and the television miniseries “Roots.”
Factoid: Although a respected actor among the industry and American audiences, Henry Fonda had only received one Academy Award nomination–for The Grapes of Wrath–by the year 1981. As a result, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed upon him an honorary Oscar that symbolized his overall impact on cinema. Funnily enough, Fonda took home the Best Actor trophy the following year for his turn in On Golden Pond. His daughter, Jane, was also nominated that year for her supporting role in that same movie.