This permanent A list actor became the father to an 11 pound boy, who was his first and only son, and announced to the world that he “had his linebacker.” The boy, who later became an actor himself, grew up to be a string bean, and the father never forgave him for that.
The father was also very thin, but was extremely cruel to the boy growing up because he was thin too.
Peter Fonda on the Pain of Losing His Mom to Suicide — and How He Reconciled with His Dad Henry
As a member of a Hollywood dynasty, Peter Fonda‘s life was filled with triumphs — but the son of screen legend Henry Fonda certainly had his fair share of trauma as well.
For most of his life, Peter, who died on Friday after suffering respiratory failure due to lung cancer, was estranged from his father. Their complex relationship only seemed to worsen in the 1950s when his mother Frances Ford Seymour Fonda tragically died by suicide.
Much of the pain he endured was detailed in his 1998 book, Don’t Tell Dad: A Memoir, and though he once referred to his father as a “forbidding figure,” he eventually reconciled with him before Henry’s death in 1982.
As the second-born child to Henry and Frances, “Peter soon learned that having glamorous parents and luxurious homes in Los Angeles and suburban Connecticut didn’t mean having a storybook childhood,” reads an excerpt from his memoir.
When Peter was 6-year-old, his father sent him to boarding school. For years, Peter viewed the legendary actor, who was remote and often away on set, as a “starchy” man opposed to the “archetypal decent man” the world had come to know in the movies.
One of Peter’s earliest memories of his father was when Henry left for the war in 1943 — “I remember the smell of his skin, his rough, unshaven face rubbing mine as he hugged me goodbye,” he wrote — and a particularly more scarring one when he returned to visit his family.
“The night he came back, we gathered in the living room and listened to many stories,” Peter wrote. “After a while, I wandered off to his dressing room to look at the little things that were his ‘personals.’”
Peter shuffled through his father’s watch and dog tags before coming across a bowl of pennies and candies — one of which he took to eat without permission.
“[I] climbed onto the couch next to him, and he noticed I was sucking on the candy,” Peter recalled in his memoir after returning to the living room. “He asked me where I got it, but the look on his face and the tone in his voice were terrifying.”
“I told him I had just found it. He bellowed that I was a liar,” he continued. “I jumped off the couch and ran for my life with Dad in hot pursuit. I made it into my bathroom, locking the door, but then Dad kicked the door in.”
“He picked me up by my small, terrified neck and carried me into my bedroom, giving me the spanking of my life,” Peter said.
The actor also noted how his father was “embarrassed” by his skinny figure, so much that he would attempt to help Peter gain weight by drinking goat’s milk. – Source
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