With Marsha Mason at the L.A. Theatre Works 40th anniversary gala

With Marsha Mason at the L.A. Theatre Works 40th anniversary gala

This particular week began with rehearsals for a performance of a pivotal scene from the play, “Top Secret”, by Geoffrey Cowen about the Pentagon Papers. The cast included Stacy Keach and Holly Palance, Jack’s daughter. We were going to perform the scene at a fundraising gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of L.A. Theatre Works. ATW is a non-profit that gets well known actors to record classical and contemporary plays which are brought into schools, prisons and archived in libraries.

At rehearsal (below)


Event co-host JoBeth Williams opened the show. Hector Elizondo, Judith Light, Susan Sullivan, Edward Asner and Marsha Mason, were all there and are among the family of actors who’ve given their time to tape these audio theater productions that are broadcast weekly on NPR and heard around the world and have also included stars like Hilary Swank, John Lithgow, Annette Bening, Anne Heche, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, who just a few years back, performed “8,” about Proposition 8 and California’s gay marriage laws. The organization has now amassed a library of over 500 recorded plays — one of the largest anywhere. They’ve also developed an app used in schools, so students can hear Shakespeare performed by professionals while they read the prose.

In the scene, I played Washington Post publisher, Katherine Graham, as she was being asked to make a decision whether or not to publish the Pentagon Papers. The New York Times had had 3 months to make the decision (they published it and were sued by the Nixon Administration) and Graham was asked to do it in minutes, a decision that risked bringing down her paper.


The next day I did a photo shoot for an Italian magazine “Grazie.” I have a hard time with being photographed–hard time relaxing and not looking either posed or scared or angry or blah. But the photographer was one of my very favorites–Tony Duran. He’s taken wonderful pictures of me for “People” Magazine and others. He’s fun and gives me good direction and is funny and sweet. This time my hair was done by Steeve Daviault. I met Steeve while I was in Miami visiting my son. We were at the Lido restaurant at the Standard Hotel when both Troy and his wife, Simone, screamed, leapt up from the table and took this guy into their arms shouting with glee. Turns out he cuts Troys hair and has made-up and coiffed Simone for special events . . . like my AFI Awards. Well, she looked so exceptional at that event I made a note to use Steeve myself at the first opportunity and, as it happens, he is a favorite stylist of Tony Duran. Steeve is also a fantastic dancer and when I needed motivation to smile or laugh, he would samba right off camera for me.




After the photo shoot was done, the very interesting French journalist interviewed me for the magazine. (it’s an Italian magazine but they do a version in France as well). We talked about everything but fashion.


The next day, I had the pleasure, the thrill really, of dialoguing with Viola Davis as part of Variety’s program called “Actors On Actors” where two actors are paired up and interview each other about their work. When we arrived, Julianna Margulies and Clive Owen had just wrapped up.


Viola and I were photographed



And then we talked and I found it very interesting to hear her speak about her process–how she works on a character.


The day after that I went to Lily Tomlin’s office where we were interviewed about “Grace and Frankie”. We did four interviews there. This one was with “Out” magazine by phone. (Check out the poster!)


The last day, I went to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel where I was interviewed at a luncheon by Kimberley Hatchett, who is one of my financial managers at Morgan Stanley. M.S. invited a room full of friends and associates from the Los Angeles area, a few of whom I knew. Kimberly made a good interviewer and it was fun.


Here I am with my other Morgan Stanley advisor, Joe Eisler.


Walking out of the hotel after the lunch, I came upon this sight: A group of people holding 5 great danes.


And then Clive Davis invited a few friends to dinner at Craigs. L to R: Barbara Davis, Clive Davis, Jeff Guthrie, Jackie Collins, Richard and me. Elton John and David Furnish were also there with Lady Gaga and I forgot to tell her how much I loved what she did with Julie Andrews’ songs at the Oscars. What a voice!


It’s not that every week is like this but sometimes it is and especially now because I’m having to do interviews and photo shoots for Netflix and it’s quite busy.

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  1. I love this “week in the life” thing! I know you won’t believe me, but I have the exact same 9 to 5 poster behind my desk in my office. If I could attach a photo here, I would just so you don’t think I’m making this up. My husband gave it to me as a birthday present. It is actually from an Australian movie theater which you can tell because, as opposed to our G, PG, PG-13, etc., it has their rating system listed. It is my favorite birthday gift he has ever given me! I get several positive comments on it. I am looking forward to May 8th…I will definitely be binge watching Grace & Frankie that weekend. Have a great day, Jane. Rock on! 🙂

  2. An interview featuring Jane Fonda and Viola Davis? I can’t even… She’s a magnificent actress and a perfect match for a possibly inspiring interview with you. I cannot wait. But, of course, this is behind Grace and Frankie, which is my top series event priority (I watch the trailer almost every day, it’s just so promising).

    I haven’t seen a stage performance of yours unfortunately, I’d be so happy to see how you operate there and to feel your real presence (which shines so well on the big screen).

    I wish you a lot of strength for this busy period of your life! 🙂

    P.S. If it comes to the Emmys, I can give you advice on which episode to submit to the voters if you get nominated. I’ve had my education on that ;). I know I shouldn’t be talking about and you might get uncomfortable about this, but if it happens, I’ll definitely give you my two cents on which episode to choose and I don’t think one should shy away from such topics (a good episode choice is pivotal and basically the only thing that matters!). The key to winning: screentime+range+impact+focus on character. And you might get bonus points for being a motion picture superstar.

  3. Thank you Jane for sharing so much, it always gives me much energy.
    And my God how beautiful you still are.
    Also a very nice picture of you and Lili Tomlin, I only hope that Netflix in the Netherlands will also bring out Grace & Frankie, I saw the trailer an I cannot wait to see all of it.

  4. This was great! One of your best blog posts, as if I could choose the best one. You made my day with this. It’s always such pleasure coming online and seeing you’ve blogged about something again. Love the pictures, love having this little glimpse into your life. You looked beautiful, as always. And I can NOT wait for the Variety’s Actors on Actors talk with you and Viola not to mention your show on Netflix. I feel that you are one of the best actors in interviews. You have this very beautiful, articulate way of speaking and I love it and it makes watching your interviews so much fun. As if everything you do wasn’t already perfect, for example your writing. Thank you, once again xD

  5. Hello Ms. Fonda!

    What an exciting week you had!

    I am a freelance writer and interviewed an old acquaintance of yours, Bev Bowers from Cincinnati, Ohio. She suggested I asked you about a project I am doing, so here goes it: I would be greatly honored if you would consider contributing a short piece to a book about women and for women. I can give you all the details if you are interested. But one very important note about this contribution, you also get a page to promote anything you would like, for example any projects you may be working on or will soon be working on, etc.

    Please let me know if you are interested.

    Thank you;

    PJ Martin

    • PJ, I’m afraid I am over burdened with work at this time and unable yo contribute a piece for your book. thanks for asking. Sprry. xx

  6. Wow! What a week! You are one busy lady! You and Viola look great in the pictures! Two extraordinary talents!

  7. Oh Jane you are so sincere and open, there’s no phoniness and lies with you, and that so
    admirable. Not a lot of famous people are like that.
    I like your hair, it’s both elegant and cool. But basically you can pull every hairstyle; from long to short, it’s all in your character, it’s all in your powerful essence.
    It’s great that you continue to contribute so much to acting. I agree with you on Lady Gaga’s Oscar performance, though I don’t like her regular persona, those cheep masks and often lame lyrics, not all of them, but those commercial ones are so dull.
    Now I feel that I should use this moment to ask you a quickly question, if you don’t mind of course.
    When you went up there to receive your first Oscar (1972), how did you managed to keep your cool and not flip in that “Oh my God” eccentric mood, you just made one sweet, but reserved smile and wrapped it all with three-four words. Yes it was difficult year for you, but you were so clam, and I must use this word “awesome” to not make such a fuss about it, even though some colleagues of yours would walk through fire to get one.
    Love you ✌

  8. What I would do to visit Lily Tomlin’s office and have a cocktail with her and Jane Fonda!

  9. Jane You are WONDERFUL.We love you ! You are one active girl doing very very good things for the world ! If you need a quick laugh to lighten the load take a look at my two min comedic sketches. The first is Dr. Freud curing a woman’s fear of spiders and of course true to Freud it all revolves around the penis ! The second is my take on ‘Ask This Old House’ or in my sketch it is ‘Ask This Old Whore’ who gives advice to insecure couples on their sex life. Hope they make you smile! Much much love and respect – val patsiga

  10. Jane!

    You’re looking great as always! Which begs the question I’ve asked the past several years (always with the best replies!) — Will you be at Cannes for L’Oreal this year? Any idea what days or what designers?! Custom Versace always suits you <3


    • Blair—yes. I’ll be in Cannes. A pink Versace gown for one red carpet and a Sciaparelli gown for the premiere of “Youth”, which I worked on with the Oscar winner (Best Foreign Film last year) Paolo Sorrentino. love the movie. As amazing and unusual as “The Great Beauty.” It’s in Cannes in competition.

  11. Hi Jane!
    I am a big fan of yours,so you can imagine my delight when, about 15 years ago, I was sent out as a HOME HEALTH AIDE to help a patient recover from surgery and… lo and behold,right on her bedroom dresser was a picture of HENRY FONDA. So,of course I said,I see you have a picture of Henry Fonda on your dresser and she said,”Yes,he is my brother”!
    Yes, I met your kind,sweet aunt from Nebraska and also your cousin.
    I guess that explains why she had CNN ON THE WHOLE TIME I WAD THERE…haha
    I love your work.I have seen most of your movies and most of all I am delighted about your conversion to
    Also,you look AMAZING!!!

    • Colette, would that have been my beloved Aunt Harriet. In Scottsdale, AZ? Were you her Hospice nurse?

  12. HI JANE !!! Just stop by to say hello, and that I am always following your busy life trough the pages of Daily Mail, where you are so much loved from people all over the world ! Love, love your much long hair…Very busy here too, as I am traveling around Brazil, wich I didn´t know very well because I spent decades living in US. I wish you could some day come to visit us, with free time to go up to the Amazon, Bahia etc etc to see the magnificent places we have here ! Best regard from your forever fan,

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