In 1950, when Fonda was 12, her mother died by suicide while undergoing treatment at Craig House psychiatric hospital in Beacon, New York. Later that year, Henry Fonda married socialite Susan Blanchard, 23 years his junior; this marriageended in divorce.
Fonda attended Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut; the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York; and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Before her acting career, she was a model and appeared twice on the cover of Vogue.
Fonda became interested in the arts in 1954, while appearing with her father in a charity performance of The Country Girl at the Omaha Community Playhouse. After dropping out of Vassar, she went to Paris for six months to study art. Uponreturning to the US, in 1958, she met Lee Strasberg; the meeting changed the course of her life. Fonda said, "I went to the Actors Studio and Lee Strasberg told me I had talent. Real talent. It was the first time that anyone, except my father – who had tosay so – told me I was good. At anything. It was a turning point in my life. I went to bed thinking about acting. I woke up thinking about acting. It was like the roof had come off my life!"
These photographs showcase one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood in her late teen years, and into her very early twenties.