Peter Fonda, 'Easy Rider' Star and Counter-Cultural Icon, Dies at 79 from Lung Cancer Complications
Peter Fonda, star of 1969’s ‘Easy Rider’ and counter-cultural icon, died this morning at the age of 79 from respiratory failure due to lung cancer. Fonda was the son of acting legend Henry Fonda, the younger brother of Jane Fonda, and the father of Bridget Fonda.
"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," said his family rep Friday afternoon. "And, while we mourn the loss of this sweet and gracious man, we also wish for all to celebrate his indomitable spirit and love of life."
The family statement concluded: "In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom."
Fonda received an Academy Award nomination as a screenwriter for ‘Easy Rider,’ which he shared together with Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern.
Nearly 30 years after ‘Easy Rider,’ Fonda's star turn in 1997’s ‘Ulee’s Gold’ as a beekeeper and Vietnam War vet whose family had nearly fallen apart earned him a best actor Oscar nomination.
For a while after ‘Easy Rider,’ Fonda lived on an 82-foot sailboat. "I was writing during that period, and I got about as much writing done as a child in a sandbox," he told the L.A. Times in 1984.
In the years before ‘Ulee’s Gold,’ he had become a cinematic recluse, living in Livingston, where he had two ranches and 300 acres and rejoiced in the solitude. "Most people can't hang in with me," he said in a 1997 interview. "I have a tendency to go tangential."
Despite his stints of reclusiveness, Fonda has a total of 116 acting credits to his name with three current projects still set to be released. In addition to his daughter Bridget, Fonda had a son Justin, by his first wife, Susan Brewer. With his second wife, Betty Crockett McGuane, the pair had a combined family, including her son Thomas McGuane.