5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jane Fonda

On April 24, 1982, Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda released her first of her many bestselling workout videos. With the phenomenal success of her exercise books and videos, Fonda sparked the aerobics trend of the late 1970s and 1980s. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Jane Fonda.


She Sold 17 Million Workout Videos During the 1980s, VHS cassette tapes were popular and her workout videos have even been credited with convincing many families to purchase VCRs. When she released her first Jane Fonda's workout video, it instantly became the highest-selling VHS of all time. She followed it up with 21 more videos over the next 13 years. Ultimately, they sold more than 17 million copies, many of which are still in circulation today (if you can find them, not to mention a VCR to play them on!)

Fonda and Her Dad Were The First Father-Daughter Duo To Earn Oscar Nods Together Fonda and her famous father, Henry, acted together in On Golden Pond and became the first father/daughter duo to receive Oscar nominations together. Interestingly, the film depicted the pair in a strained relationship, which mirrored their relationship in real life. The film earned Jane her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Henry Fonda won the Academy Award for Best Actor but Jane   had to accept for him as he was ill at the time. He passed away five months later.


The Spelling of Her Real Name is Unconventional Jane Fonda was born Jayne Seymour Fonda on December 21, 1937. She obvious dropped the ”y” in her first name and ignored her middle name for most of her life.  If you are curious about her middle name, Jane was named after the third wife of King Henry VIII of England, Jane Seymour. There is an actual ancestry connection, though distant, to the Jane Seymour of old from her mother’s genealogy.  

She Has Been Protesting For Decades Fonda became an activist against the Vietnam War and made an anti-war documentary with her Hollywood friend Donald Sutherland. The two created an organization that ran counter to the well-known Bob Hope USO shows Hope would do for the troops in Vietnam. She also paired with feminist Gloria Steinham in support of the feminist movement. She highlighted her support for the movement when she co-starred in 9 to 5.

Many Americans Rejected Her Anti-War Activism Fonda earned the nickname "Hanoi Jane" when she went to North Vietnam in 1972.  That visit would connect her with the support of the North Vietnamese and being a traitor to the United States. The photo of her sitting atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun combined with the rumors she met with and betrayed American POWs held in North Vietnam, were events that could not be easily explained away. Once her participation in other activist groups was made known, she was largely perceived as anti-American by many Americans.