Throughout a career that spanned over five decades, actor Henry Fonda played the roles of charming, funny and principled men, including Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and Davis a.k.a Juror #8 in 12 Angry Men. However, these portrayals were a far cry from his off-screen persona.
Fonda’s life was riddled with drama resulting from his many tumultuous relationships. The actor was married five times, but it was his marriage to his second wife, Frances Seymour Brokaw, that led to an unfathomable tragedy.
The actor and Brokaw tied the knot after meeting meeting on the set of their movie, Wings of the Morning in 1936. During their marriage, they welcomed two children, Jane and Peter. However, a few years later, the couple were forced to spend some time apart after Fonda enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He fought in the Second World War and even received the Bronze Star Medal according to the Times.
Soon after Fonda returned home, things between him and Brokaw started to get sour. He was allegedly involved in an affair with a 20-year-old woman, which prompted him to ask Brokaw for a divorce.
“Jane Fonda’s father was cold and a bully, not to mention a shameless womaniser, but—too young to understand mental illness—his daughter always blamed the alarming behavior of her manic depressive mother for the break-up of her parents’ marriage,” read a profile on Daily Mail.
Unfortunately, his decision to end his marriage with Brokaw bore tragic consequences.