Tag Archives: The Grapes of Wrath

Actor: Henry Fonda

Perhaps Fonda's greatest role was in 12 Angry Men, which he also produced and which was nominated for Best Picture. Uploaded by battleshippretension.com.

The one word that comes to mind when I think of Henry Fonda is “unflappable.” I can’t remember a scene in any of his films, though I’m sure there must have been some, where he was anxious or distraught. Maybe that’s why he was often cast as an authority figure.

He was President in Young Mr. Lincoln and Fail-Safe… a marshal in My Darling Clementine… a college professor in The Male Animal… a nominee for Secretary of State in Advise and Consent… a police commissioner in Madigan… and a military officer in Fort Apache, Mister Roberts, The Longest Day, and Midway.

Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath, the role that made him a star. Uploaded by robertegger.org.

Fonda won acclaim for his roles in other films, including The Ox-Bow Incident and 12 Angry Men (probably his finest role). He received an Academy Award nomination for The Grapes of Wrath and finally won for his final major role in On Golden Pond. He also received the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980. In addition to film, he also acted in sixteen Broadway productions, and was recognized for Lifetime Achievement by the Tony Awards in 1979.

Of course, he became the paterfamilias of a prominent acting family that includes son Peter Fonda, daughter Jane Fonda, and granddaughter Bridget Fonda. Sadly, he wasn’t particularly close to his children. Yet both Peter and Jane were at his bedside when he died from heart disease in 1982.

He couldn’t describe his acting style, and his natural greatness frustrated Jane, who worked hard on what’s called Method acting. But it’s that effortless, smooth, natural grace that we remember when we think of Henry Fonda. President, Professor, Admiral, Marshal, Commissioner Fonda.

The Arts: John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was one of the three greatest American novelists of the twentieth century. Uploaded by stripes.com.

John Steinbeck was one of the three greatest American novelists of the twentieth century. Uploaded by stripes.com.

O ye aspiring writers, harken unto the story of John Steinbeck. Who dropped out of college. Who moved to New York to be a writer, but got nothing published. Whose first three published novels are all but unknown. Who went ten years before finally achieving some critical success with Tortilla Flat.

Once the literary world discovered Steinbeck, it recognized his giant talent. The list of his books reads like your high school summer reading list: Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, East of Eden, The Winter of Our Discontent, and Travels with Charley.

He served as a war correspondent during World War II for the New York Herald Tribune. He chronicled commando raids against the Germans on Mediterranean islands, and published many of his columns later in the book Once There Was a War. The book was made into a documentary, joining 17 other filmed versions of his works.

The National Steinbeck Center, uploaded by discovernortherncalifornia.com.

The National Steinbeck Center, uploaded by discovernortherncalifornia.com.

And, aspiring writers, don’t forget this: John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom From President Lyndon Johnson.

If you ever make it to Salinas, California, be sure to visit the National Steinbeck Center and appreciate this literary shrine. Who knows – there may be a museum built in your honor some day.