Jane Fonda Talks about Aging and her TV Show

By Francine Brokaw

When the cast and showrunners of the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie” met with members of the press recently, it was clear they were having a great time together making the show. For Jane Fonda, it is a new experience because she has never starred in a television series, although her list of films goes back to the 1960s.

Fonda has been awarded many nominations over the years and won the Emmy two times: for the 1978 movie “Coming Home” and the 1971 movie “Klute.” She has been outspoken about her political beliefs through the years and even garnered hostility against her and branded a traitor for the time she spoke out about the Vietnam War and appeared on behalf of the North Vietnamese. But politics aside, there is no doubt Ms. Fonda is a wonderful actress.

Fonda took a fifteen-year break from acting before returning to her profession in the 2005 film “Monster-in-Law.” She took several more acting roles and in 2012 appeared periodically in the HBO series “The Newsroom.” Today she stars alongside Lily Tomlin in the Netflix series and loves every minute of it. Tomlin and Fonda had worked together in the 1980 film “Nine to Five” and have a great relationship, so it was fortuitous they work together in this new series.

Fonda is now in her 70s and her character of Grace is approximately the same age. “I think it's one of the reasons that the show is successful, is that it gives people hope,” Fonda told the Television Critics Association. Her character is starting a new life after her husband came out of the closet with Tomlin’s onscreen husband.

“I think 70, that's when things started to really happen for me,” Fonda explained about aging. “I've never had to go to a studio every day for five months. It's fabulous. When you're 78, having a steady job like that, I absolutely love it.” After describing the duties involved in promoting the show as well as starring in it, she stated, “To have what to me was like a revolutionary experience like that when you're my age, that's pretty great. So I love 70s.”

Ms. Fonda also acknowledged she thoroughly enjoys working again with Tomlin. “Well, we do have a special bond and a friendship. I love being with her for all kinds of reasons, but she has a funny bone. I come from a long line of depressed people. And she has a true funny bone. That's one of the reasons I love going to work every day. I get to spend time with somebody whose take on everything comes from a place of funny, which for me is total catharsis. I mean, it's just fabulous.”

With pay channels and a slew of new cable networks, there are going to be more great shows for older people. While the three original networks still produce shows for younger viewers, the middle-age baby boomers are having a great time with shows reflecting aging in a fun way.

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