Fun with Dick and Jane

GOOD MORNING: Fadeout: FBI JANE FONDA LIE FIZZLES was the sizzling banner of Daily Variety, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 1975. The story went on to tell how the FBI, with the approval of J. Edgar Hoover, had concocted a story to try and trick me into printing a fake letter accusing Jane Fonda of threatening the life of President Nixon. Details of the entire memo from the FBI were reprinted here. The Bureau had read an item in my column of June 11 in which I reported “Jane Fonda wings back from Chi to speak here Saturday p.m. at the Embassy Auditorium for the Black Panther Defense Fund.” The FBI then created an entirely fictitious incident at the fundraiser as “reported” by the FBI’s “informant” who claimed Fonda threatened Richard Nixon “and any other m—– f—– who stands in our way.” Jane appeared in Federal Court Dec. 15, where she had been pursuing a $2.8 million civil rights suit against the government since 1973. Daily Variety continued to report that Jane said FBI memos support her charges that the Nixon administration organized a campaign to discredit her political activities. Further, Jane said, “Those of us who opposed the Nixon administration were being made to appear irresponsible, dangerous and foul-mouthed.” And she denied making any threats against Nixon’s life. Fonda reports the incident in her book, “My Life So Far” (Random House) and she reprints part of the FBI letter and adds, “Army Archerd knew me and to his credit, declined to print the letter. There would be more of the same to come.” But not to me from the FBI. I never printed their first letter. And although they said they would send it, I never did receive it. Nor would I have printed it — or anyone else’s letter — without checking the authenticity.

FADE IN: I SPOKE with Jane Fonda Monday morning as she set out on her book tour. Jane spent Sunday watching her first film in 15 years, “Monsters-In-Law.” She viewed it alone (on disc) and told me, “I liked it. It’s fun.” She liked it so much, she, “I have an idea for a sequel.” … She described her role as a four times wed-and widowed “Barbara Walters-like, very famous TV interviewer who is let go. She’s neurotic, difficult, over the top.” She tries to discourage the marriage between her son, played by Michael Vartan, and Jennifer Lopez. However, there’s no role for Lopez in the sequel, she tells me. But don’t try to read anything into that — they all got along famously in the making of the movie, says Paula Weinstein who produced with Chris Bender. The trio of costars will p.a. the pic together and appear at the L.A. preem April 29 and Atlanta’s May 7 to benefit one of Jane’s favorites, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Jane tells me she will be accompanied to the L.A. preem by son Troy Garrity, who will costar in “Lake City” with Cissy Spacek for producer Mark Johnson. He describes the story as an intense family drama set in the South. In her book, proud mother Jane says, “I turn to Troy when I need support.” And as for Weinstein, who was Jane’s first agent before becoming a producer, Jane says, ” She is one of my most cherished friends to this day.” Paula next starts “Diamonds.” Meanwhile, Fonda’s agent remains Kevin Huvane and he knows she is anxious to find another good film. After I spoke with Jane, her schedule for the day included two print interviews, three TV shows and four on radio. And this was the start of a 2½ month long tour for book and movie. She sounded the same as she has in the more than 30 years I’ve known and reported on her. “We’re still at it,” she laughed with that unmistakably hearty and honest admission … She wasn’t downed by the advance reprinted excerpts from her book — the well-worn Vietnam era or sexual escapades during her marriage to Roger Vadim. If anything, she was as “up” as ever the morning after the airing of her interview on “60 Minutes” with Leslie Stahl. The interview was trimmed due to the coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II. And as of late Monday, “60 Minutes” was planning to air the remainder of Stahl’s interview with Jane this coming Sunday. It will be depend on how much will have been aired/read about Jane during this week. She talks easily about chapters of her life in which she reminds of her (current) good relationships with ex-husbands Tom Hayden and Ted Turner, including Hayden’s family. She admits, “I am still in love with Ted in many ways.” All this despite the fact she tells of the three men’s infidelities. Would she marry again? There’s no one on that scene now. She says she looks at marriage as “a two-way dance.” One thing in her future is certain she says: “I try to be a better person. ” Yes, Fonda insists she will always continue to be politically active. But when I asked howcum she didn’t lend her name to recent candidates, she said, kinda sadly, “I carry a lot of baggage.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content