Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

Patricia Bosworth. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (608p) ISBN 978-0-547-15257-8
Years after Fonda's bestselling autobiography, My Life So Far (2005) comes this comprehensive biography by her longtime friend and well-known biographer. Fonda and Bosworth met when they were both students at the Actors Studio in the 1960s. Shifting from acting to journalism, Bosworth eventually wrote acclaimed biographies of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and Diane Arbus. Beginning with an article in McCall's, she has been writing about Fonda since 1970, and she spent 10 years on this book, a probe of Fonda's psychological depths as well as her multifaceted life as actress, model, author, daughter, wife, political activist, feminist, fitness expert, and philanthropist. Career triumphs are balanced with equal time for forgotten failures, such as The Fun Couple, which "mercifully closed" on Broadway in 1962 after only three performances. Illuminating the infamous "Hanoi Jane" episode, Bosworth also offers probing details of Fonda's marriages and affairs, her insecurities, her strained relationship with her father and her fierce ambition. The remarkable reconstruction of long ago events has a fly-on-the-wall viewpoint, written with such intimacy that it sometimes generates the strange sensation of being present with Fonda and her friends. With access to Fonda's FBI files and personal papers, plus extensive interviews with her family and colleagues, Bosworth has succeeded in capturing Fonda's step-by-step transformation from wide-eyed, apolitical ingénue to the poised personality of recent decades. (Aug. 30)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Open Ebook - 608 pages - 978-0-547-50447-6
Paperback - 596 pages - 978-0-547-57765-4
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-1-84954-168-8
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