Peter Fonda: The Son Also Rises

Peter Fonda
Peter Fonda
photography by William Neal

How can you achieve  and succeed on your own,  growing up the child of one of America’s most admired personalities? Peter Fonda, the only son of the late great actor Henry Fonda, says that’s something he’s faced since the age of 4, when people who were total strangers began “laying an identity” on him as Henry Fonda’s son.

“My gift was what I learned from my father, without talking,” Fonda, 71, recalled in Dallas Friday night. “My goal was to be myself, not Henry’s son.” The younger Fonda arguably has accomplished that over the years, becoming a counterculture icon for his role in flicks like Easy Rider (1969) and earning an Oscar nomination for his star turn in 1997’s Ulee’s Gold.

When he went up against his old Easy Rider pal Jack Nicholson for the Best Actor nod that year, Fonda said, he learned a couple of things. All the Vegas oddsmakers were putting their money on Nicholson to win–correctly, as it turned out. And, he discovered there were at least 17 other people in the country with the name Peter Fonda.

He laughed out loud at the thought, recalling his own struggle to forge a distinct identity. “What were those parents thinking?!” he said increduously. Fonda (photo by Jeanne Prejean) was in town as an awards-presenter for Friday’s Dallas Film Society Honors, part of the Dallas International Film Festival.

Newsletter

Get a weekly recap in your inbox every Sunday of our best stories from the week plus a primer for the days ahead.

Find It

Search our directories for...

Restaurants

Restaurants

Bars

Bars

Events

Events

Attractions

Attractions

View All

View All

Comments