Hollywood legend Jane Fonda: I never thought I would live to be 80. Much less to be 80 years old with a blossoming career.
Jane tells her story in 5 acts
Raymond de Asis Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — This writer had an interview with Jane Fonda a couple of months ago. The Hollywood legend is the subject of a documentary about her extraordinary life and phenomenal career. Jane Fonda in Five Acts, directed by award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy now airing on HBO GO.

From Barbarella to her fitness videos, from her Oscar-winning roles to her Vietnam War activism — hers is a life like no other.

And no other person can tell her story best than Jane herself.

“I never thought I would live to be 80. Much less to be 80 years old with a blossoming career — a hit movie (The Book Club with Diane Keaton) and a hit TV series (Frankie and Grace with Lily Tomlin.)

“I feel blessed. I am five years older now than my father (Henry Fonda) was when he made On Golden Pond and died. I am surprised by my life. It is not at all what I expected. I come from a depressed bunch of people. My mother killed herself, my father suffered from an undiagnosed depression. I overcame that. I was very depressed for a long time and I’ve overcome that.

“It didn’t just happen — I worked hard and, yes, I am satisfied! I am proud of myself that I didn’t settle for what I almost settled for with all of those husbands. But I kept going on because I felt there’s more to it than this.

“My family motto is ‘Persevere.’ I am satisfied but there’s also more than a decade left if I am lucky. I hope that I will learn more and understand more before it’s all over.

“I am very lucky to be famous. It’s great to be a celebrity because what we can do and what I think is our obligation to do is act like repeaters. You know at the top of those mountains, you see all those towers? They pick up signals from the valleys so that the voices from the valleys can be carried wider and more people will hear. And that’s what I think celebrities do. And I consider that a great privilege.

“My main goal in life for myself is to try to become an authentic whole person and you can’t do that if you don’t embrace your shadows.”

At our interview, Jane was very candid about her troubled relationship with her father and her marriages to Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner.

“He hated the fact that I studied acting. He just thought that it was a terrible thing. He never really expressed himself emotionally; he hated emotions; hated to see people emotional and crying and he just didn’t want to talk about it.

“I think about all three of them all the time, all the time. In spite of all the difficulties and challenges, I am so grateful that I had that time with those three men. They were fascinating men. Vadim and I remained friends. You know, you split up and you hate them and you want to kill them. I wrote letters but I thank God I never sent those letters. But I can read the letters now. I can’t believe how angry I was! You’ve got to remember why you loved them in the first place so you can become friends again.

“Whenever I am afraid of something, I wrap my arms around it and I become its best friend. That’s why I’ve written two books about aging because it scared me and I wanted to know as much as I could. Know thine enemy, that’s a good mantra.”

JANE FONDA SUSAN LACY
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