Actor and 1960s Icon Peter Fonda Dead at 79

From “Easy Rider” to “The Limey,” a career of memorable roles and collaborations

Peter Fonda in 1970
Peter Fonda, pictured here in 1970, died today at the age of 79.
Art Zelin/Getty Images
By Tobias Carroll / August 16, 2019 7:12 pm

Peter Fonda, the actor and director best known for his role in the film Easy Rider, died earlier today at the age of 79. According to a report at The Hollywood Reporter, his death was the result of respiratory failure due to lung cancer. 

In addition to his role in Easy Rider, Fonda produced and co-wrote the film — the latter of which was in collaboration with Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern. The trio were nominated for Academy Awards for their work on the film, which made both Fonda and Hopper iconic figures to a generation of Americans. 

Fonda was also Oscar-nominated for his role in the 1997 film Ulee’s Gold. The ’90s were a fruitful time for Fonda, and included a starring role as Van Helsing in Michael Almereyda’s cult 1994 film Nadja, an arthouse riff on vampire films. He also made a memorable appearance as the antagonist in Steven Soderbergh’s 1999 crime drama The Limey, in which he magnificently played against type as an amoral record producer.

The statement announcing his death that was released by his family earlier today ends with a memorable flourish: “In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”

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