MUG SHOT

mugweb

I have gotten a lot of questions about my mug shot–what’s the story behind it? Is it a real mug shot? So here’s an abbreviated answer:

Late in 1970, I was starting a nationwide speaking tour about the Vietnam War and, in particular, about the Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) that some of us were organizing together with Vietnam Veterans Against the War. WSI was to take place in Detroit in early 1971, an American version of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal aiming to prove what soldiers and many of us in the anti-war movement already knew: The My Lai massacre, while greater in numbers of people killed at one time, was not an isolated incident, but a not-uncommon occurrence that was part and parcel of the U.S.’s war strategy.

My job was to raise money (all my speaking fees from the tour went to fund WSI) and recruit GIs who had seen or committed atrocities in Vietnam. You may wonder why someone who had committed an atrocity would want to testify. I am no psychologist but I met quite a number of soldiers who needed to heal from the psychic wounds of war by speaking out about it. About 150 such military personnel from every branch of service–Army, Navy, Marines, Special Forces–came to testify.

On the tour, I would describe what was intended with WSI and at the end of my speech I would ask veterans who wanted to be put in touch with the vets in Detroit to meet with me or with the vet who sometimes traveled with me. The comedian, Dick Gregory, also traveled with me some of the time.

My first speech was given at a college in Canada and when I re-entered the US at the Cleveland airport all my luggage was seized and gone through. They discovered a large bag containing little plastic envelopes marked (in red nail polish) ‘B’, ‘L’, ‘D’–signifying breakfast, lunch and dinner- that contained the vitamins I took with each meal. They confiscated that as well as my address book (which was photocopied) and arrested me for drug smuggling. I told them what they were but they said they were getting orders from the White House–that would be the Nixon White House. I think they hoped this “scandal” would cause the college speeches to be canceled and ruin my respectability. I was handcuffed and put in the Cleveland Jail, which is when the mug shot was taken. (I had just finished filming “Klute” so, yes, it was the Klute haircut).

Headlines across the country had the story of me being jailed on suspicion of drug smuggling. I was released on bond and months later, after every pill had been tested in a lab (with taxpayers money!) The charges were dismissed and there were a few paragraphs hidden in the back of papers that they were vitamins, not drugs.

The irony was that as a result of all the bruhaha over this, the college audiences for my speeches were never less than 2000 and sometimes as large as 10,000. Read my memoir “My Life So Far” if you want to know more.

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73 Comments
  1. HI Jane
    You are a courageous person with still so much to offer.I am reminded that Paul Newman said it was an honour to be on Nixon’s Enemies List.

  2. Hi Jane, I have written a few times, I have always loved you as a model & film actress & always inspiationial speaker…you are one of the most beautifullly photographed women in history and this mugshot is a classic. I have wrote you about my artwork of you I am still working on, I am very happy with it and hope to send it to you when done. By the way, I have a huge collection of very rare photo’s of you too, if your interested in any I would love to share them, your long time fan, Sam Miro.

  3. I don’t think young people today are aware of what a shock it was to have an established star of romantic comedys suddenly be marching in atiwar protests. [They Shoot horses Don’t They] had just come out and [Klute] had yet to be released, so Jane’s image was still strongly associated with films like [Cat Ballou] and [Barefoot in the Park.] [Barbarella] ,meant as a spoof, was considered more of a lark than anything else. Her protest showed that the outrage over the Viet Nam war had made inroads into Hollywood. Way to go Jane! You really shook em up.

  4. Have read–I did wonder about that photo though,…I wasnt sure when it was taken. Thanks for being a warrior for us!

  5. This brought back memories. I saw Jane speak at The University of Texas 1970 or 1971. I went to see “Barbarella” but saw someone who was more passionate about what she was speaking than I had ever seen. I was entranced. After she spoke she went into another room and some if us got to go in and ask more questions and was something I will always remember.
    Not long after that I tried to see her the day she went to Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas . I went with a friend whose father worked on base… I was driving a 1955 chevy with “flower power” flowers all over it, had long hair and was wearing a mexican poncho. The base police kihdly escorted us off base after he found out where her father worked. We didn’t get to see her darn it. She and her French friend were arrested I believe for trying to hand out literatureon base., I still have a picture from the paper of her being escorted into barracks that day. Yea Jane!

  6. Your mug shot brings back so many memories. I was at Kent State in 1970 – pretty naive about what was going on in the world. That all changed on May 4th when some of my classmates were killed or wounded. I went through a lot of soul searching that summer – questioned a lot of my beliefs and values. I also remember the passion you showed when you spoke at our campus. What you said helped me figure it all out. I thank you for that.

  7. Hello, Jane!

    I have read your memoir “My Life So Far” twice. I loved it, and of course you! This particular story about your “drug smuggling” was quite memorable. I found the sections of the book regarding the beginning of you activism very thoughtful and entertaining.
    Being a man in my mid-thirties, I had grown up with the “Hanoi Jane” perception of you, and i was excited and curious when your book was released.
    I have since passed the book along to a few people that were curious about it, but vowed never to buy it. They have told me how misunderstood all of your activism has been.
    To anyone who hasn’t read the book, read it!! This woman is will continue to be AMAZING!

    Thanks for letting me share,

    Ryan Chambers,
    Dallas, Texas

  8. Ms Fonda,
    Congratulations on your blog and your recent appearance on late night tv, I think Letterman, and your Broadway Show performances. Having lived in Berkeley in the late 60s, I recall those turbulent times well. I knew slightly a minister, Rev York, of the Free Church of Berkeley,who it is said presided at your wedding ceremony with the former California representative, before he was one. I have always loved your family and their many contributions to the theatrical and movie world. And, you look great!
    Carl Kakasuleff, Comedian in Indiana

  9. Thanks Carl

  10. I read Jane’s book last month and I think it should be compulsory reading for all women. I want to share it with all the special people in my life. I’ve already bought copies for 3 family members and 2 friends ranging in age from 18 to 71 and living in 4 different countries. I plan to buy copies for all of my female family members and friends over the next year. (I should stress though, as the contributors above attest, it’s not written exclusively for women by any means – in fact the only person I’m sharing my copy with is my husband.) We read many books, but for each of us, there are a small handful of books that touch us deeply and actually change us fundamentally. For me, this is one of them. Somehow, while ostensibly telling you about her own life (and there is a lot to tell!), Jane moves you to look at yourself deeply and also to empathize with all women in your life. And if it doesn’t do that for you, I can guarantee that – at worst – you’ll find it a hugely interesting and entertaining read. There is a lot more I would like to say to you, Jane, and I’ll write to you again soon, but in the meantime I’ll just say thank you. I’ve had an incredibly lucky life so far and have absolutely nothing to complain about / no scars to heal, so I’m not certain why your book had such a profound affect on me. I think it was mainly because you wrote so honestly and dared to share very personal experiences that people would tend not to talk about, but that we can all learn from even if we haven’t gone through them directly ourselves. It may just be the ultimate act of generosity! Thank you.

  11. I read Jane’s book last month and I think it should be compulsory reading for all women. I’ve already bought copies for 3 family members and 2 friends ranging in age from 18 to 71 and living in 4 different countries. I plan to buy copies for all of my female family members and friends over the next year. (I should stress though, as the contributors above attest, it’s not written exclusively for women by any means – in fact the only person I’m sharing my copy with is my husband.) We read many books, but for each of us, there are a small handful of books that touch us deeply and actually change us fundamentally. For me, this is one of them. Somehow, while ostensibly telling you about her own life (and there is a lot to tell!), Jane moves you to look at yourself deeply and also to empathize with all women in your life. And if it doesn’t do that for you, I can guarantee that – at worst – you’ll find it a hugely interesting and entertaining read. There is a lot more I would like to say to you, Jane, and I’ll write again to you soon, but in the meantime I’ll just say thank you. I’ve had an incredibly lucky life so far and have absolutely nothing to complain about / no scars to heal, so I’m not certain why your book had such a profound affect on me. I think mainly because you wrote so honestly and dared to share very personal experiences that people would tend not to talk about, but that we can all learn from even if we haven’t gone through them directly ourselves. It may just be the ultimate act of generosity! Thank you.

  12. Oops, I sent the same message twice! Sorry!

  13. Hi:

    I remember you coming to talk at the university I was attending, the University of Windsor.

    I can’t remember what year it was though. I was there from 71 – 74.

    Windsor is across from Detroit. Lots was going on back then.

    Those were interesting times.

    Like your blog.

    Regards,
    Paul

  14. It was February 1971 that you spoke at the University of Windsor. I found a reference in the book “Spying 101: The RCMP’s Secret Activities at Canadian Universities, 1917-1997.”

    I was in my last year of highschool back then. I believe your talk was at St. Denis Hall. The room was packed but I imagine most people were there to see Jane Fonda.

    I recall one fellow mentioned he could take over a DEW station if you wanted to. I imagine the Security Service, who were in attendance, made note of him.

    Regards,
    Paul

  15. Hi,

    I really respect what you did and for me the picture is very symbolic, I will be having it tattoo’d on my arm in the next coming months as a constant reminder of your bravery!

  16. The arrest wasn’t for treason? Too bad.

  17. Best picture of you. I recently viewed “Sir! No Sir!” and finally saw your efforts for what they really were, and not the propaganda.

    I’m dressing up as “FTA” you for a Halloween party – a great way to make a statement. I already ordered my shag wig 🙂

    Thank you,

    Kate

  18. Hello, I’m Luna, a painter who has linked a post to your website (http://janefonda.com/).
    I write you to visit it and I would appreciate if you could make a commentary about the beginning I have written about “Mug Shot” (http://janefonda.com/mug-shot/).
    Best Regards,

    Luna

  19. Hi Jane: I met you in Bakersfield when you were speaking out against the Vietnam debacle and I was a legal aid attorney and Vietnam Vet who turned peace activist and civil rights attorney later for the UFW at the ACLU in LA. My website, http://www.danielclavery.com explores my change of path, and My Lai and the Gulf of Tonkin lies, led me away from the defense department philosophy. I just published a memoir, All the Difference, http://www.amazon.com/All-Difference-Daniel-C-Lavery/dp/1482676532/ that reveals how a Naval Academy grad found a different path like you did when the powers that be challenged your intentions that were to spread the truth and stop the massacre. Thanks for your activism, spirit, determination, and conscience. Peace, Love, and Joy, Daniel C. Lavery

  20. As Irv Barnett’s daughter, I love seeing you use this moment in your history to promote such good work. My dad was proud to be your attorney and I strive to live up to his compassion for all. Blessings,
    Laura

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