Center Fonda Jane

Brother Peter fights back tears

About 2,000 of Jane Fonda’s closest friends gathered at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall Monday night to fete the activist, entrepreneur and retired thesp at the 28th annual Film Society Spring Gala Tribute.

“I’m very moved,” a red-gowned Fonda told the assembly at the end of the tribute, which featured film clips ranging from the sublime (“Julia”) to the ridiculous (“Barbarella”) … to the French (“Tout va bien”).

“It was painful,” Fonda said of having to revisit evidence of her early, somewhat kittenish acting style. “Boy, am I glad my voice dropped.”

Delivering encomia, Debbie Reynolds remarked that Fonda has an excellent class of ex-husbands (compared to hers, Eddie Fisher) and Peter Fonda fought back tears, joking that his late father took “great pride in saying that a Fonda can cry at a great steak.” Vanessa Redgrave read gorgeously from American labor poet Thomas McGrath’s “Coal Fire in Winter” and Lily Tomlin thanked Fonda for offering her a role in “Nine to Five,” which she said she is “more proud of than anything, except maybe being on the Glen Campbell show.”

Joining other speakers Sally Field, Sydney Pollack and Film Society chair Ira Resnick at the tribute and the Tavern on the Green gala after-party were guests Rosanna Arquette, Henry Fonda’s widow, Shirlee Fonda, Barry Levinson, Mark Rydell and Brooke Shields.

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