Actor Peter Fonda dead at age 79

One of the actors notoriously linked to the hippie movement of the 1960s has sadly passed away.

Peter Fonda, most famous for his role in “Easy Rider,” died at home with his family at the age of 79.

Fonda was battling lung cancer and died of respiratory failure, his family said Friday.

Early Success

Peter Fonda’s first credited movie role was in 1963, playing Dr. Mark Cheswick in “Tammy and the Doctor.”

His career didn’t exactly take off immediately following that movie, but in 1969, that all seemed to change when he played Wyatt in “Easy Rider.”

Both he and Dennis Hopper would win Academy Award nominations for their roles. Considering the success of his father, most believed this was the beginning of yet another illustrious film career for another Fonda.

Peter, however, was unable to create the same magic his father had, although he hardly starved. After dozens of middling movies, he would once again earn a nomination for “Ulee’s Gold,” but that would be his final brush with greatness in the film industry.

Fonda would cash in on his biker image in several other films, like “Wild Hogs,” but many times these were smaller bit parts.

Even so, the industry treats him as though his career rivaled that of his legendary father, Henry Fonda, who starred in some of the most memorable films during a time period that stretched over five decades, including “The Grapes of Wrath,” “On Golden Pond,” and “Midway.”

What many people do not know is early on, there was no love lost between Peter and his father. Actually, the two spent most of Peter’s early years at odds, until they reconciled in 1979 after appearing in the 1979 film “Wanda Nevada” together.

Outpouring of Affection

After his sister Jane Fonda announced his passing on Friday, condolences began pouring in. Uber-liberal director Rob Reiner was among the first to express his sorrow, calling Peter Fonda a “revolutionary filmmaker during a revolutionary time.”

Many of other remembrances concentrated on how important “Easy Rider” was to its generation. Actress and writer Illeana Douglas stated, “EASY RIDER depicted the rise of the hippie culture, condemned the establishment, and celebrated freedom.”

Rest in peace, Peter, your fans will miss you.

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