Belfast Telegraph

Hollywood actor Peter Fonda dies aged 79

The scion of a Hollywood dynasty was best known for the 1969 road movie Easy Rider.

Hollywood actor Peter Fonda, left, has died at the age of 79 (Billy Benight/PA)
Hollywood actor Peter Fonda, left, has died at the age of 79 (Billy Benight/PA)

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Hollywood actor Peter Fonda has died at the age of 79 after suffering from lung cancer.

Fonda, who co-wrote, produced and starred in the classic 1969 road movie Easy Rider, died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles on Friday, his family said in a statement.

He was the son of Hollywood star Henry Fonda and younger brother of Jane Fonda, while his daughter, Bridget, is also an actor.

The statement said: “It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away.

“In one of the saddest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts.  As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy.

“And, while we mourn the loss of this sweet and gracious man, we also wish for all to celebrate his indomitable spirit and love of life.

“In honour of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”

He died at 11.05am local time, according to his family, with the official cause given as respiratory failure due to lung cancer.

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Jane Fonda has paid tribute to her brother Peter, who has died at the age of 79 (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Jane, 81, and herself a major Hollywood star, was among those to pay tribute.

In a statement, she said: “I am very sad. He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

British actor Cary Elwes praised Fonda’s work in independent films.

He tweeted: “RIP #PeterFonda. A legend not only on screen but for helping create the independent film industry. There will never be another like him. Our condolences to Bridget and his family.”

Comedian Kathy Griffin posted a thread to Twitter, recalling her first meeting with Fonda and calling him an “actor’s actor”.

She said he was not a “Hollywood phony” and would tell her to “keep doing my thing, man”.

Griffin added: “I honestly think if he was still with us, I’d see him somewhere, talk about politics, film, gossip a little bit, I would try to make him laugh, and he would probably end with ‘Stay cool, man’.”

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Petr Fonda, best known for the seminal 1969 road movie Easy Rider, has died (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Fonda was a well known figure of the 1960s counterculture movement. He earned an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay for Easy Rider, which also starred Dennis Hopper.

He was nominated for the best actor Oscar for the 1997 drama Ulee’s Gold. Fonda won the Golden Globe for the film.

Fonda was born in New York to Hollywood star Henry and his socialite wife Frances Ford Seymour.

During the 1960s as a member of the counterculture he met the Beatles at a home in Los Angeles. His conversations with John Lennon while on LSD inspired the song She Said She Said.

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Fonda is from a Hollywood family, being the son of Henry Fonda and the sister of Jane Fonda (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

He and Hopper starred in Easy Rider as a pair of long-haired bikers driving through the south of the United States.

Following the massive success of Easy Rider, the first counterculture film to be a hit, Fonda was highly sought after in Hollywood.

He starred in and directed The Hired Hand in 1971, among others. However, none reached the heights of Easy Rider.

In 1997 Fonda found another critically acclaimed role in Ulee’s Gold, which saw him in the title role as a Florida beekeeper fighting criminals threatening his family.

The actor had courted controversy in his final years. He was a fierce critic of Donald Trump and made headlines for comments he made about one of the president’s sons.

Reacting to US immigration policies which saw migrant children separated from their parents at the border, he tweeted “we should rip” Mr Trump’s son “from his mother’s arms” and “put him in a cage with pedophiles”.

He later apologised for the comments.

PA

From Belfast Telegraph