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Jane Fonda celebrates turning 77

December 21, 2014
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Happy birthday, Jane Fonda! As the celebrated actress, fitness guru, and acitivist celebrates turning 77, HELLO! Online takes a look at what the stars have in store for Jane and you… This is what Jane who is a Sagittarius, can be expecting today: In this modern age, everyone is an expert. We all have a specialist field. We all pride ourselves on being up to speed in some key subject. We all feel that - in one particular way, about one particular thing - we know more than anyone else. Maybe we do. Or maybe we are just kidding ourselves. Maybe, in order to tell genuine experts from the would-be experts, we need a very special team... of experts! Trust what you truly know in your heart now, and have the wisdom to seek help when you are out of your depth. 

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Jane Fonda was born to legendary actor dad Henry Fonda and his second wife, New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, who committed suicide when Jane was 12 years old. Henry continued Jane and her brother Peter's upbringing, and though he was a distant father, he co-starred with Jane in her 1954 stage debut in the Omaha Community Theatre.

The wealthy society girl nicknamed Lady Jane launched her adult career as a model, and went on to take the acting world by storm in 1960, making both her film and Broadway debuts and winning a Tony award. 

Upon leaving New York's Vassar College where, in her own words, she "went wild and got into lots of trouble", Jane's rebellious spirit carried her to Paris, where she found love with French director and future husband Roger Vadim.

The two, who married in 1965, collaborated on four projects, including the film that defined Jane's sex kitten image as a space-age buxom blonde 1968's Barbarella. 

Jane was far from typecast, however. In 1969 she won her first Oscar nomination for the Depression-era drama They Shoot Horses Don't They?, and two years later took home a Best Actress gong for Klute

Suddenly, her reputation as an actress matched those of her male contemporaries Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, and she became the actress who paved the way for every female power player from Meryl Streep to Julia Roberts. 

In 1972 she was transformed from on-screen bombshell to off-screen activist when she became involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement. And when she posed wearing only a helmet alongside an anti-aircraft gun in Vietnamese enemy territory, she earned a new monicker, "Hanoi Jane". 

"I will go to my grave regretting the photograph," she said in 2001, three decades after the image was first published. Jane's anti-establishment activism grew in 1973 when she left her director husband to marry Sixties radical-turned-politician Tom Hayden. No stranger to controversy, she became active in the civil rights and anti-nuclear movements and named her son, Bandits actor Troy Garrity, after a Vietnamese resistance leader.

She and Tom, who also adopted a daughter together, launched the production company IPC (Indo-China Peace Campaign), as Jane "couldn't get a job" in Hollywood.

IPC-produced films got Jane's political messages across while returning her to the Tinseltown A-list. She earned a Best Actress Oscar for the Vietnam-era drama Coming Home in 1980, and found commercial success with girl-power predecessor Nine To Five.

In 1982, Jane's work reflected her personal life when she healed her complicated relationship with her father Henry while co-starring with him on screen for the first and last time in the family drama On Golden Pond. He won his only Oscar for the role, and Jane, with her dad too ill to attend, accepted the gong for him with a tearful speech. He died four months later, aged 77.

In the early-Eighties Jane once again reinvented hersel as a perky workout queen. She launched a fitness company, Workout Inc, and released her first aerobics video, helping usher in the exercise trend.

But she hadn't shed her activist roots profits from her burgeoning empire were funnelled into her husband's campaigns and related organisations. After 17 years together, Jane divorced Tom in 1989 and withdrew from the spotlight. She made her retirement official in 1992, announcing she was leaving acting to spend more time with her third husband, media mogul Ted Turner, whom she had married the previous year.

As the millennium came to a close, however, so did her marriage to the billionaire founder of CNN, and the pair were divorced in 2001. Though she's gone through a number of transformations, Jane's activism has been a constant throughout her life.

These days her attention is focused on teen pregnancy - the Jane Fonda Center at Emory University deals with adolescent reproductive health and the former actress donated $12 million to Harvard University to study the role of gender in education. The born-again Christian (she took up the religion while married to Ted) was listed in Ladies Home Journal as one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century. 

Now in her seventies, in 2009 Jane returned to Broadway for the first time since the early 1960s, earning her second Tony nomination, before returning to the big screen in 2011. In 2012, Jane began a recurring role in Aaron Sorkin's media drama, The Newsroom, earning herself two further Emmy nominations.

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