The granddaughter of Henry Fonda, daughter of Peter Fonda, and niece of Jane Fonda, Bridget Fonda was to the celluloid manor born. Although her famous lineage may have initially helped her when she was starting out, she has evolved into a strong performer in her own right, noted for the grit, spirit, and complexity of her performances.
Born January 27, 1964, in Los Angeles, Fonda had her first film experience at the age of five, when she accompanied her father to the set of Easy Rider. That aside, she didn't see her father much during her early years, but the two still managed to form a bond. After her parents' divorce in 1972, Fonda went to live with her mother, actress Susan Brewer, in Los Angeles. She first became involved with the theatre when she was cast in a school production of Harvey. Sustaining her interest in acting through her teenage years, Fonda went on to study drama at New York's famed Lee Strasberg Institute. Although she suffered severe stage fright during her first two years, she was able to overcome her fears, and, upon leaving the institute two years later, she began to find work on the stage.
Fonda made her film debut with a non-speaking role in the 1982 comedy Partners, and it was not until 1988 that she had her first speaking role in a feature film. That year, she appeared in both You Can't Hurry Love and Shag, the latter opposite Phoebe Cates as one of a group of girls looking for a good time in Myrtle Beach. The following year, Fonda earned her first measure of acclaim with her portrayal of real-life good-time girl Mandy Rice-Davies in Michael Caton-Jones' Scandal. The combined impact of her favorably reviewed performance in that film and her lead in another 1989 film, Strapless, effectively gave Fonda a small bit of land on the Hollywood map.
In the early 1990s, Fonda began to work steadily in features, starting with a small but memorable role as a reporter in The Godfather Part III (1990). She went on to star in such films as Cameron Crowe's Singles (reportedly, Crowe wrote Fonda's role specifically for her), Single White Female (1992), Bodies, Rest, and Motion (1993), Point of No Return (1993), and It Could Happen to You (1994). Having demonstrated her talents in a number of romantic comedies, the most successful being Singles and It Could Happen to You, Fonda surprised and delighted many an observer when she took on the role of a perpetually stoned, ill-fated beach bunny in Jackie Brown (1997). The following year, she portrayed another atypical character in A Simple Plan, earning raves as Bill Paxton's pregnant, increasingly crazed wife.
Over the next several years, Fonda would be selective about her projects, appearing memorably in Jackie Brown, Lake Placid, and on the Chris Isaak Show.