Frances Ford Seymour

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Frances Ford Seymour
Born (1908-04-14)April 14, 1908
Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Died April 14, 1950(1950-04-14) (aged 42)
Beacon, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Suicide
Occupation Socialite
Spouse(s) George Tuttle Brokaw
(m.1931-1935; his death; 1 child)
Henry Fonda
(m.1936-1950; her death; 2 children)
Children Frances de Villers Brokaw
Jane Fonda
Peter Fonda
Parent(s) Eugene Ford Seymour
Sophie Mildred Bower

Frances Ford Seymour (April 14, 1908 – April 14, 1950) was a Canadian-born American socialite, the second wife of actor Henry Fonda, and the mother of actors Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda.

Early life[edit]

Born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, she was a daughter of Eugene Ford Seymour and Sophie Mildred (née Bower; July 13, 1886 – April 15, 1974). According to daughter Jane Fonda, medical records revealed that Seymour was a victim of recurrent sexual abuse in her childhood.[1][2]


On January 10, 1931, she married George Tuttle Brokaw, a millionaire lawyer and sportsman, whose previous marriage, to Clare Boothe Luce, had ended in divorce. They had one child, Frances de Villers Brokaw (October 10, 1931–March 10, 2008, known as "Pan"), who later married Francesco Corrias, and became a painter.[3][4] By this marriage Frances Ford Brokaw also had a stepdaughter, Ann Clare Brokaw (1924–1944).

A year after George Tuttle Brokaw died, she married actor Henry Fonda on September 16, 1936, at Christ Church, New York City. She had met Fonda at Denham Studios in England on the set of the film Wings of the Morning.[5] The couple had two children, actress Jane (born December 21, 1937) and actor Peter (born February 23, 1940), but their marriage was troubled. According to Peter Fonda, these difficulties later gave him an empathy for the marital problems of actor Dennis Hopper, his co-star in the 1969 film Easy Rider.[6]


Frances Ford Fonda committed suicide by cutting her throat with a razor on her 42nd birthday while she was a patient at Craig House, a sanatorium in Beacon, New York.[7] This suicide came days after Fonda asked her personally for a divorce and left hurt feelings on both sides.


  1. ^ Trafford, Abigail (2005-05-03). "Mothers, Lost And Found". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-01. Fonda is able to track down old medical records and learns that her mother was sexually molested as a child. She also interviews her mother's friends. A very different mother emerges. 
  2. ^ "Jane Fonda reveals mother was sexually abused as a child before committing suicide when actress was 12". New York Daily News. 2014-09-29. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  3. ^ The Corrias had a daughter, gallery owner Pilar Corrias.
  4. ^ Craven, Jo (2008-10-12). "Pilar Corrias: a new gallery for a new era". 
  5. ^ Christopher Andersen (1990) Citizen Jane
  6. ^ Chris Ayers, "Uneasy riders", Sunday Times Magazine, 22 June 2014
  7. ^ Bosworth, Patricia (2011-09-24). "Connected, Darkly, to Jane Fonda". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]