Peter Fonda dead at 79; ‘Easy Rider’ star was son of Henry Fonda, brother of Jane Fonda

August 16, 2019

by Lauren Jones

Peter Fonda, an actor whose counterculture image was cemented in his 1969 breakout movie “Easy Rider,” died of complications from lung cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 79. Peter Fonda was the son of legendary Oscar-winning actor Peter Fonda and the sister of Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda.

According to the Associated Press, Jane Fonda issued this statement: “I am very sad,” Jane Fonda said in a statement. “He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

The Fonda family also issued this group statement: “In one of the saddest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy.”

Peter Fonda, who was one of the producers and screenwriters of “Easy Rider,” received an Oscar nomination for co-writing the screenplay. In the movie, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (who directed the film) play two biker hippies. Peter Fonda also received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, his role as a beekeeper in the 1997 “Ulee’s Giold.” He had numerous roles in film and television. His other notable movies included the 199’s “The Limey”; the 2007 Western remake of  “3:10 to Yuma”; and the 2007 action film “Ghost Rider.”

In the last few years of his life, Peter Fonda (an unabashed liberal) was very critical of President Donald Trump and the Trump administration. In June 2018, Peter Fonda made several controversial anti-Trump remarks on Twitter. The most controversial was when Peter Fonda tweeted, in reaction to the Trump administration’s policy to separate families entering the U.S. illegally: “We should rip Barron Trump from the arms of First Lady Melania Trump and put him in a cage with pedophiles.” Peter Fonda later made a public apology for that tweet.

The controversy happened around the time that Fonda’s movie “Boundaries” (in which he had a cameo) was due to arrive in theaters. Some Trump supporters tried to pursuade Sony Pictures Classics from canceling the movie’s release, but those attempts were unsuccessful. (Click here to read Culture Mix’s interview with the stars of “Boundaries.” The interview took place before the controversy.)

Peter Fonda is survived by his third wife, Margaret DeVogelaere, and his two children: actress daughter Bridget; and son Justin, both from Peter Fonda’s first marriage to Susan Brewer. Peter Fonda’s last two movies are the war drama “The Last Full Measure” (due out in limited release on October 25, 2019) and the drama “The Magic Hours,” whose release date is to be announced.