Jane Fonda Quotes
“In psychologist Marion Woodman’s Leaving My Father’s House I read: “When humans suffer they are vulnerable. Within this vulnerability lives the humility that allows flesh to soften into the sounds of the soul.” Maybe this was what was happening to me. I felt lighter, as if a space had been cleared around me allowing coincidences (God’s way of remaining anonymous) to manifest. Maybe these coincidences had been happening all along and I just hadn’t been open to them. Now it was as though I were being led to them.”
“I think most of us have many personas inside us at the outset, but over time we lean to the one that is dominant and the others atrophy for lack of use. The difference with actors is that we are paid to become all the people inside us and to bring into us all the people we may have met along the way. Thus we remain instinctively aware of, unsettled by, curious about, empathetic toward, and eager to display all those potential beings we carry. Of all these, the empathy part is the most important and is, I believe, why actors—the good ones—tend to be open, progressive creatures: We are asked to get inside the skin of “other,” to feel with “other,” to understand “other.” Being able to see from this “other” point of view gives actors compassion.”
“Have you noticed how we are presented with the same lessons, over and over and over, before a tipping point is reached? The lessons we need to learn circle round us, closing in, until finally we are ready to take them in. Take them in. Those are the words that matter, because until I had embodied the lessons I was supposed to learn, absorbed them into the warp and woof of my being, they didn’t “take”; they remained a head trip and didn’t lead to changes in my behavior.”
“I needed to pay attention, to be ready to step through and descend into it, whatever it was. It felt archetypal. Something in me was being slain in the fires of pain so that some new thing could be born. I knew it and went with it, and in the alchemy of my pain, like flowers whose seeds open only in the presence of fire, tendrils of something new began to sprout. Pain for me was a Trojan horse, penetrating the protective walls I’d erected around my heart, bearing within it hints of a future I might never have awakened to had I tried to numb myself with busyness.”
“Perhaps you think that by intimacy I mean sex, so allow me to clarify. Sex can be intimate but isn’t necessarily so; sometimes it’s just the pleasurable stimulation of genitalia. By intimacy I mean an attunement between two people who, despite each other’s evident flaws, open their hearts fully to each other. This openness makes them vulnerable, so trust is key. So is self-love: It’s impossible to be truly intimate with someone if you don’t like yourself.”
“I am still baffled by those who feel that criticizing America is unpatriotic, a view increasingly being adopted in the United States since 9/11 as an excuse to render suspect what has always been an American right. An active, brave, outspoken (and heard) citizenry is essential to a healthy democracy.”
“I spent most of my time floating on an inflatable raft in the pristine Mediterranean waters, my big belly curving toward the sun, reading (incongruously) The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It rocked me to my core. Malcolm’s story opened a window onto a reality I had ignored. But the greatest revelation the book brought me was the possibility of profound human transformation. I was spellbound by his journey from the doped-up, numbers-running, woman-beating, street-hustling, pimping Malcolm Little to a proud, clean, literate, Muslim Malcolm X who taught that all white people were the Devil incarnate—to his final, spiritual transformation in Mecca. There he met white people from all over the world who received him as a brother, and he realized that “white,” as he had been using the word, didn’t mean skin color as much as it meant attitudes and actions some whites held toward non-whites—but that not all whites were racist. At the time of his murder, he was anything but the hatemonger portrayed in the American press. Somehow, through the horrors that had been his life, he had become a spiritual leader. How had this been possible?”
“What many people failed to do then (and continue to fail to do today) is admit what happened, understand the context, and make sure those circumstances never happen again. The winter soldiers showed us that redemption is possible when truth is spoken. Nothing can change until we acknowledge what is—as I have learned over time.”
“Then one night he brought home a beautiful red-haired woman and took her into our bed with me. She was a high-class call girl employed by the well-known Madame Claude. It never occurred to me to object. I took my cues from him and threw myself into the threesome with the skill and enthusiasm of the actress that I am. If this was what he wanted, this was what I would give him—in spades. As feminist poet Robin Morgan wrote in Saturday’s Child on the subject of threesomes, “If I was facing the avant-garde version of keeping up with the Joneses, by god I’d show ’em.” Sometimes there were three of us, sometimes more. Sometimes it was even I who did the soliciting. So adept was I at burying my real feelings and compartmentalizing myself that I eventually had myself convinced I enjoyed it. I’ll tell you what I did enjoy: the mornings after, when Vadim was gone and the woman and I would linger over our coffee and talk. For me it was a way to bring some humanity to the relationship, an antidote to objectification. I would ask her about herself, trying to understand her history and why she had agreed to share our bed (questions I never asked myself!) and, in the case of the call girls, what had brought her to make those choices. I was shocked by the cruelty and abuse many had suffered, saw how abuse had made them feel that sex was the only commodity they had to offer. But many were smart and could have succeeded in other careers. The hours spent with those women informed my later Oscar-winning performance of the call girl Bree Daniel in Klute. Many of those women have since died from drug overdose or suicide. A few went on to marry high-level corporate leaders; some married into nobility. One, who remains a friend, recently told me that Vadim was jealous of her friendship with me, that he had said to her once, “You think Jane’s smart, but she’s not, she’s dumb.” Vadim often felt a need to denigrate my intelligence, as if it would take up his space. I would think that a man would want people to know he was married to a smart woman—unless he was insecure about his own intelligence. Or unless he didn’t really love her.”
“...and my professional idol Vanessa Redgrave. There is a quality about Vanessa that makes me feel as if she resides in a nether-world of mystery that eludes the rest of us mortals. Her voice seems to come from some deep place that knows all suffering and all secrets. Watching her work is like seeing through layers of glass, each layer painted in mythic watercolor images, layer after layer, until it becomes dark—but even then you know you haven’t come to the bottom of it.”
- Date of birth: December 21, 1937
- Born: in New York, New York, The United States.
- Description: Jane Fonda is a two-time Academy Award-winning actress (Best Actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home), author, activist, and fitness guru. Her career has spanned over 50 years, accumulating a body of film work that includes over 45 films and crucial work on behalf of political causes such as women’s rights, Native Americans, and the environment. She is a seven-time Golden Globe® winner, Honorary Palme d’Or honoree, 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award winner, and the 2019 recipient of the Stanley Kubrick Excellence in Film Award as part of BAFTA’s Britannia Awards. Fonda is currently in production for the seventh and final season of Grace & Frankie, which will be Netflix’s longest running original series. It is for her work on the series that she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2017. She was last seen on the big screen in Paramount’s comedy, Book Club in which she starred alongside Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen. Fonda also premiered Jane Fonda in Five Acts, a documentary for HBO chronicling her life and activism, at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special in 2019. Jane celebrated her 80th birthday by raising $1 million for each of her nonprofits, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential and The Women’s Media Center. Currently, Jane is leading the charge on Fire Drill Fridays, a national movement to protest government inaction on climate change. Her latest book, “What Can I Do? My Path From Climate Despair To Action,” details her personal journey with the movement and provides solutions for communities to combat the climate crisis, will be released on September 8 via Penguin Press.