R.I.P. Peter Fonda, ‘Easy Rider’ Star and Counterculture Icon, Dead at 79

Posted by Janiya Rolfson
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R.I.P. Peter Fonda, ‘Easy Rider’ Star and Counterculture Icon, Dead at 79

It’s with sadness today that we report Peter Fonda has passed away at the age of 79. TMZ confirmed the iconic actor died in his Los Angeles home on August 16 from respiratory failure due to lung cancer. His family, including sister Jane Fonda and father Henry Fonda, released a statement.

“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. 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.”

Via Variety, Jane Fonda also released a solo statement: “I am very sad. He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

Fonda became a key figure in the counterculture movement of the 1960s with long-haired, anti-authority biker roles in films like Roger Corman‘s The Wild Angels and the Jack Nicholson-penned The Trip, often alongside Bruce Dern and Dennis Hopper. In 1968 Fonda starred in, produced, and co-wrote with Hopper and Terry Southern the epochal road trip movie, Easy Rider. Directed by Hopper, the film garnered Fonda his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His second would come 28 years later, a Best Lead Actor nod for his performance in Victor Nunez‘s Ulee’s Gold.

More recently, Fonda played a major role in the 2007 Oscar-nominated Western, 3:10 to Yuma, alongside Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. His last credited role, in the dystopian sci-fi Skate God, is set to be released in 2020.

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