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Bridget Fonda - Biography & Career

Bridget Jane Fonda was born January 27, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, the eldest daughter of Peter Fonda and Susan Brewer. Named after Bridget Hayward, a step-aunt who committed suicide, Bridget merged from a family tree of Hollywood stars.

Her grandfather Henry and her father Peter both enjoyed celebrity status while her aunt Jane, in addition to a prolific acting career, would almost single-handedly bring about the 1980's home fitness craze with her series of exercise videotapes. Given this familial environment, it was natural that Bridget would be introduced to acting at a young age. Her first on-set experience came at the age of five, when she accompanied her father throughout the filming of Easy Rider, the film that would make him a 1970's icon.

Bridget's parents divorced in 1972, and she and her brother Justin settled in Coldwater Canyon, a suburb of Los Angeles, to be raised by their mother. In spite of her ancestry, it wasn't until Bridget was in her high-school years at nearby Westlake School for Girls that an interest in acting developed, as she was cast in a school production of the comedy Harvey.

Her career aspirations now awakened, Bridget moved to New York City at the age of 18 to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied theater. Learning to act professionally initially proved difficult for Bridget, as the expectations of her instructors and peers alike were raised by her family name. Having acknowledged that the bar was raised for her, Bridget's sense of increased pressure translated into chronic stage fright that would follow her throughout her time at NYU.

By the time of her graduation, however, Bridget demonstrated her innate acting talents to her peers and, perhaps more importantly, to herself. Any doubts as to her renewed sense of confidence were quickly erased by her first job, as her character appeared nude and engaged in sex in a segment of the 1987 collaborative art-house film Aria. This role was accompanied by a number of stage performances throughout New York City, and her first speaking part in a film, in 1988's You Can't Hurry Love.

While these first few performances went largely unnoticed -- as they were situated within projects that were either obscure or poorly received -- 1989 proved to be a breakout year for Bridget. Appearances in three films, Strapless, Shag and Scandal, launched Bridget into the public eye, and her performance in the latter, a film inspired by real-life sex scandals in the British Parliament, was critically applauded, earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

More roles followed suit, beginning with a portrayal of Frankenstein author Mary Godwin Shelley in 1990's Frankenstein Unbound (wherein INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence received the unlikely casting call to take on the part of poet P.B. Shelley). In the same year, Bridget appeared in The Godfather III, playing a reporter desperate to interview Michael Corleone. Her first major supporting role arrived in 1991, alongside Michael J. Fox, in Doc Hollywood.

By 1992, Bridget built up an acting resume that boasted a large quantity of professional appearances, but relatively little in terms of the quality of the roles or the films that framed them. While there is some debate as to whether a lead role in 1992's Single White Female is considered Bridget's first high caliber part, there is little doubt that her performance in the box-office success was her most expressive to date, one which flung open a number of doors for her. Later that same year she was cast in Cameron Crowe's Singles, taking on a role specifically written for her, as the girlfriend of the struggling musician portrayed by Matt Dillon.

In 1993, Bridget played Ash's girlfriend Linda in the present day cult classic Army of Darkness, and starred in Point Of No Return, an adaptation of La Femme Nikita. She also appeared in Bodies, Rest and Motion alongside her then boyfriend Eric Stoltz.

Throughout the '90s, Bridget remained one of the busiest actresses in Hollywood, appearing in more than thirty films. While this enormous workload brought with it a number of questionable career decisions, namely participation in such projects as 1994's Little Buddha, The Road to Wellville and It Could Happen To You, it also produced a number of memorable roles.

Past performances won Bridget the approval of such respected directors as Sam Raimi, Luc Besson and Quentin Tarantino, leading to parts in 1996's City Hall, 1997's Jackie Brown, 1998's A Simple Plan and the 2001 Jet Li vehicle Kiss of the Dragon. In 1997, producer David E. Kelley offered Bridget the lead on his series Ally McBeal, a job she rejected in favor of pursuing further film work. She met Kelley again in 1999, when she took on a major role in his satirical thriller, Lake Placid.

In 1998, Bridget's relationship with Eric Stoltz came to an end, and it wasn't long before she began seeing country-music star and actor Dwight Yoakam, who she remains involved with to this day (and whose 2000 directorial debut, South of Heaven, West of Hell, she starred in).

Recent years have witnessed an eclectic mix of appearances from Bridget. Her performance in Kiss of the Dragon is but one of several film jobs she has taken on in the new millennium, alongside 2000's Delivering Milo and The Whole Shebang, and 2001's Monkeybone. She has made cameos on The Chris Isaak Show and Fox's horror series Night Visions, and was a catalogue lingerie model for fashion retailer H&M in 2001. In spite of her father Peter's claim that she is the most talented actor of the Fonda clan, Bridget has made it clear that she will continue to challenge herself, leaving us guessing where she'll pop up next.