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Hollywood Legend Peter Fonda Passes Away at 79

August 16, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Easy Rider Peter Fonda

The acting world has lost one of its titans, as two-time Oscar nominee and Hollywood icon Peter Fonda has passed away. Variety reports that Fonda, who was a major part of the New Hollywood era of the 1970s, has passed away from lung cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 79 years old.

Fonda’s sister Jane issued a statement which read, “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.”

The actor’s wife Parky also released a statement on behalf of the family: “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…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 honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”

Fonda is best known for his work as a force in counterculture, in which he became a major figure with the release of Easy Rider in 1969. Fonda co-wrote, directed and produced the film, which became the film that broke open the New Hollywood era in the wake of the disintegrating studio system. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1998, deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

His acting career actually began several years earlier, with his first film role coming in 1963’s Tammy and the Doctor opposite Sandra Dee. Before then, he had done guest-starring roles on TV and worked on Broadway. He would go on to star in Roger Corman’s 1963 film The Wild Angels and Corman’s The Trip in 1967 before Easy Rider made him a household name.

Following Easy Rider, Fonda would go to directing and would helm 1971’s The Hired Hand and 1973’s Idaho Transfer. He did star in several other films, but his star status didn’t go the way many predicted. He starred in Futureworld, the sequel to Westworld, but had trouble finding work due to being “difficult.” He would go on appear in The Cannonball Run as Chief Biker and a host of independent films in the 1980s and 1990s until Ulee’s Gold in 1997 earned him his second Oscar nomination.

In the 21st century, he began appearing in roles that were seeking a Hollywood legend of Fonda’s stature. He played Mephisto in the original Ghost Rider in 2007 and Damien Blade in the motorcycle comedy Wild Hogs the same year. Other films included 3:10 to Yuma, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, Ocean’s Twelve, and Copperhead.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends and many fans of Mr. Fonda. He will be missed.

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Peter Fonda, Jeremy Thomas