Frances Ford Seymour

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Frances Ford Seymour
The Fondas in 1938
Born(1908-04-04)April 4, 1908
DiedApril 14, 1950(1950-04-14) (aged 42)
Cause of deathSuicide
George Tuttle Brokaw
(m. 1931; died 1935)

Henry Fonda (m. 1936)
Children3, including Jane and Peter Fonda

Frances Ford Seymour (April 4, 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").

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.[3] The couple had two children, actress Jane (born December 21, 1937) and actor Peter (February 23, 1940 – August 16, 2019), but their marriage was troubled. According to Peter Fonda, these difficulties later gave him empathy for the marital problems of actor Dennis Hopper, his co-star in the 1969 film Easy Rider.[4]


Frances Ford Fonda committed suicide by cutting her throat with a razor blade 10 days after her 42nd birthday, while she was a patient at Craig House, a sanatorium in Beacon, New York.[5] Her suicide came three and a half months after Fonda asked her for a divorce.[6]

She is buried in Ogdensburg Cemetery, Ogdensburg, New York.


  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. ^ Andersen, Christopher P. (1990). Citizen Jane: The Turbulent Life of Jane Fonda. Dell Pub. p. 450. ISBN 9780440209430.
  4. ^ Ayers, Chris (22 June 2014). "Uneasy riders". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ Capretto, Lisa (August 17, 2015). "How Jane Fonda Uncovered The Truth About Her Mother’s Death". HuffPost. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  6. ^ Bosworth, Patricia (24 September 2011). "Connected, Darkly, to Jane Fonda". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 18 July 2018.

External links[edit]