Two-time Tony Award nominee and Oscar winner Jane Fonda receives the American Film Institute's 42nd AFI Life Achievement Award at a gala tribute June 5 in Los Angeles.
The American Film Institute’s 42nd Life Achievement Award gala on Thursday brought out a who’s who of Hollywood to praise Jane Fonda for her expansive career, kindness to young actors, portrayal of female characters, abundant energy, political activism, and, as presenter Michael Douglas stated, “her body,” quickly adding “of work.”
At the event, Michael Douglas and Meryl Streep were among the stars who gave speeches to honor Jane. She was selected as the 42nd recipient of the award after her father, Henry Fonda, received the same award 36 years before.
Director Mel Brooks began the tribute to Jane, continued by Meryl and Michael, who later handed out the trophy to the “Barbarella” star. During the speech, Michael recalled his experience working with Jane in 1979’s film “The China Syndrome”, “I learned that not only is Jane an amazing actress, but she is the world’s greatest multi-tasker. She was simultaneously an actress, she was a mom, she was a fitness expert and a brave, very courageous political activist.”
“Jane Fonda is American film royalty,” said Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI’s Board of Trustees, in a previous statement. “A bright light first introduced to the world as the daughter of Henry Fonda, the world watched as she found her own voice and forged her own path as an actor and a cultural icon. Today she stands tall among the giants of American film, and it is AFI’s honor to present Jane Fonda with its 42nd Life Achievement Award.”
“So, deep down, who really is Jane Fonda? She is one of a kind,” he continued to praise her, “Jane, you are true film royalty, not through birth, but through your talent.”
After the speech, Michael then gave the trophy, which he previously won in 2009, to Jane. The “Monster-In-Law” actress then expressed her happiness when receiving the trophy by saying, “I’m so happy to add another woman’s name to the list (of AFI award winners).”
The 76-year-old star began her career as an actress when playing with her father in “The Country Girl”, a charity performance in 1954. She met Lee Strasberg in 1958 who inspired her to become an actress. Later in 1960, she starred in her first movie, “Tall Story” with Anthony Perkins, which helped her shoot to fame.
Fonda, who was Tony-nominated for her performances in 33 Variations and There Was a Little Girl, received Academy Awards for “Klute” and “Coming Home.” The actress, who has also been seen on Broadway in Invitation to a March, The Fun Couple and Strange Interlude, has appeared in over 40 films.