Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Did You Know? #20

Even though he has been dead for nearly 28 years his face is easily recognized all around the world, and his life's work continues to entertain. Among the long list of his life's work include some of the greatest movies ever made, such as: The Tin Star; The Ox-Bow Incident; Mister Roberts; Yours, Mine and Ours; Fort Apache; 12 Angry Men; How the West Was Won; The Grapes of Wrath.

He is also fondly remembered for his limited, but powerful presence in the television western, The Deputy.

Born on May 16, 1905 in Grand Island, Nebraska, he was the son of William Brace Fonda and Elma Herberta Jaynes. William was a printer. Henry had early dreams of life as a journalist which lead him to the University of Minnesota, where he majored in journalism. He never completed his university studies, taking a job with a credit company before starting his acting career, at the urging of Marlon Brando's mother, in Omaha. Henry was 20 at the time. His acting career lead him to Cape Cod, MA, where he joined an acting troup called the University Players. This is where he met his first wife, Margaret Sullavan. After the end of their brief marriage, Fonda moved to New York where he roomed with Jimmy Stewart and worked on the Broadway stage.

His first Hollywood movie role came in 1935 with The Farmer Takes a Wife, and, with Fred MacMurray in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. That 1936 film just happened to be the very first film shot outdoors in Technicolor.

Fonda's second wife, Frances Ford Seymour, became the mother of a daughter, Jane (1937), and son, Peter (1940). Both of the Fonda children made a considerable impact as actors. Then came WW II, and the popular actor was driven to answer the call for armed service. Fonda joined the Navy, saying, "I don't want to be in a fake war in a studio."[1]

After three years of active duty, Henry earned a Presidential Citation and was awarded the Bronze Star. After his wife committed suicide in 1950, Henry would be married to Susan Blanchard, stepdaughter of Oscar Hammerstein, in 1950, to Italian Countess Afdera Franchetti in 1957, and to Shirlee Mae Adams from 1965 until his death in 1982.

Henry Jaynes Fonda's career was also highlighted with great accolades including an Academy Award for On Golden Pond, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Emmy nominations, Golden Globe Award, and a Tony Award for Mister Roberts.

In addition, Henry Fonda received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 1978 and, in 1999, that same group named him the sixth Greatest Male Star of All Time.

His acting career continued after the war all the way to the early 1980's. In 1979 he appeared in Wanda Nevada with his son, Peter, and in 1981 with daughter Jane in On Golden Pond. The latter film was his last before the beloved actor passed away on August 12, 1982.

The relationship between our Bragg family and Henry Fonda can be traced backwards to our father's 10th great-grandparents, Edmund Sherman & Joan Makin, who also is the 8th great-grandparents of Henry Fonda. Below is a chart demonstrating the connection.

Edmund Sherman & Joan Makin
Esther (or Hester) Sherman b.1606
Grace Sherman b.1616
Esther Ward b.1623
1st cousins Samuel Livermore b.1640
Daniel Burr b.1660
2nd cousins Anna Livermore b.1691
Elizabeth Burr b.1696
3rd cousins Abijah Bemis b.1723
Nathaniel Hull b.1726
4th cousins Beulah Bemis b.1759
Ezekiel Hull b.1765
5th cousins Lydia Pike b.1788
Platt Hull b.1787
6th cousins Almira Jacobs b.1827
Ezekiel Hull b.1813
7th cousins Henry Silas Jaynes b.1848
Rebecca L. Hull b.1841
8th cousins Herberta Krueger Jaynes b.1879
Frank Martin Bragg b.1867
9th cousins Henry Fonda b.1905
Orval Bishop Bragg b.1895
9th cousins, once removed
Don Cicero Bragg b.1920
9th cousins, twice removed

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