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Easy Rider Star Peter Fonda Dies At 79

Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider

Actor Peter Fonda, a two-time Oscar nominee who was best known for his work in 1969's Easy Rider, has passed away today at the age of 79. He passed away this morning at 11:05 am at his home in Los Angeles due to respiratory failure from lung cancer.

Per Deadline, his family issued the following statement:

“It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that Peter Fonda has passed away. Fonda, 79 years old, passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 16th at 11:05 am at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by family. The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer. 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. 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. In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom. From his Family.”

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Fonda was born on February 23, 1939, to famed Hollywood actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Fonda in New York City. His career started out on Broadway portraying an Army private in Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole. Following this performance, he was later awarded the Daniel Blum and New York Drama Critics Award as the most promising young actor of 1961. His career evolved over time and he began making his way over to the silver screen, following in the steps of his father and older sister, Jane. His first role in a film was in Tammy and the Doctor in 1963, followed by numerous other projects in both television and film that also included two Roger Corman films, The Wild Angels and The Trip. Not long after these productions, he landed one of the starring roles in Easy Rider in 1969, which officially put him on the Hollywood map.

Along with starring in the movie, Fonda also helped co-write and produce the film which also starred Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. It told the story of two motorcyclists who went from LA to New Orleans for Mardi Gras following a profitable drug deal. The film was praised by audiences and critics alike, becoming one of the biggest films of the late 60s. His original screenplay for Easy Rider, which was also written by his co-star Dennis Hopper and screenwriter Terry Southern, was nominated for an Oscar in 1970. Even though he didn't win, Fonda would go on to garner another Oscar nomination for his acting in the 1998 film Ulee's Gold and later won a Golden Globe in 2000 for The Passion of Ayn Rand. Easy Rider recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its release on July 14 as well.

His sister, Jane Fonda, reflected on her relationship with her younger brother, exclaiming in a statement that, "He went out laughing." He's survived by her, his wife, Margaret DeVogelaere; his daughter, Bridget Fonda; and his son, Justin Fonda.

R.I.P PETER FONDA - FEBRUARY 23, 1939 - AUGUST 16, 2019

Source: Deadline

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