View source for Henry Jaynes Fonda
===1925-1927=== Dorothy Brando (b.~1895), was an amateur actress and the co-founder of the Omaha Community Playhouse. She was also the mother of [[Marlon Brando]] (b. 1924) and a friend to Henry Fonda's mother Herberta. She first got Henry Fonda interested in acting, but she was not a part of the cast or crew of his first role Roderick "Ricky" White in the play ''You and I'' at that playhouse, which ran for only four performances in Oct 1925. It's quite possible that the credit for encouraging Henry Fonda might go to the man who directed him in five of his first six plays there, a man named Gregory Foley. The first newspaper mention of Henry Fonda I find is Feb 1926 (''Waterloo Evening Courier'', 24 Feb 1926, pg 10), when he appeared at "The Strand" playing the role of Major John Hay, secretary to Abraham Lincoln, who was played by George Billings. I here correct Biography.com which is probably citing Kevin Sweeney who incorrectly reports that this occurred only in the Summer of 1927. Answers.com [http://www.answers.com/topic/henry-fonda here] states that Billings and Fonda toured for three months, after which, he returning to Omaha, became "assistant director at the Omaha Community Playhouse." In April 1926, Henry Fonda was "a pirate" in ''Captain Applejack'' which ran for four performances. In May he was "a footman" in ''The Swan'' which ran for four performances. In Oct 1926, it was Gregory Foley who asked Henry Fonda to play the starring role of Merton in ''Merton of the Movies''. That December, he was "Tilly" the musical clown in ''He Who Gets Slapped'' which ran for four performances. Richard Coe goes on to state that Henry once starred opposite Dorothy Brando in O'Neills ''Beyond the Horizon''. "Dad had a $30-a-week job as a clerk at the Retail Credit Company in Omaha, but [[Marlon Brando]]'s mother a friend of my grandmother's, got him involved in the Omaha Community Playhouse, where dad was offered the part of Merton in the play ''Merton of the Movies''." (''My Life'', page 34) I think Jane here is rushing through the early chronology, and just focuses in on Merton because Merton was Henry's first '''starring''' role, and so stands out. The story of the play ''Merton of the Movies'' is that Merton is a terrible actor. When film producers see how funny his over-acting is, they put him in a comedy but tell him it's a drama. In Apr 1927, "Greg Foley then offered him a job as the assistant director for the 1927-28 season for a flat salary of $500." ([http://books.google.com/books?id=cXscbDlSt0cC&pg=PA174&dq=quigley+fonda&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U39AcYrmvws1oFAbB65Dv1tHM7a5g#PPA5,M1 Sweeney, p5])
Henry Jaynes Fonda
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