What the Hell Happened to Bridget Fonda?

Bridget Fonda

Bridget Fonda

Bridget Fonda came from Hollywood royalty.  Peter Fonda is her father and Jane Fonda is her aunt.  Her grandfather was the legenday Henry Fonda.

In the late 80’s, Bridget Fonda was hailed as one of America’s most promising young actresses.  In the early 90’s, she seemed poised for a break-out that never happened.  And then, she disappeared faster than you can say “Steve Guttenberg in the 90’s”.

What the hell happened?

This one actually has a fairly simple explanation.  Fonda basically walked away from her career to start a family with former Oingo Boingo frontman and current movie soundtrack composer, Danny Elfman.  I figure we may as well get that out of the way up front so the answer won’t seem too anti-climactic.  But What the Hell Happened articles are more about they journey than the destination.  So, let’s walk through Fonda’s career so we can appreciate what she left behind for the love of Jack Skellington.

Bridget Fonda and Danny Elfman

Bridget Fonda and Danny Elfman

Yeah, keep on smiling, Oingo Boingo!

fonda - easy rider

Bridget Fonda – Easy Rider – 1969

At the age of four, Fonda appeared in her father’s 1969 cult classic, Easy Rider.

Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper played hippies who ride motorcycles across the American Southwest.  Along the way, the two come across a commune where they stay for the day.  Four-year-old Bridget played one of the kids in the commune.

James Cameron originally wrote The Terminator with Bridget Fonda in mind to play Sarah Connor.  In the original script, the character was much younger.  Had Fonda agreed, The Terminator would have been her movie debut.  When she passed, several actresses were considered.  Debra Winger was cast but changed her mind before filming started.  Eventually Linda Hamilton landed the role.

fonda - aria

Bridget Fonda – Aria – 1987

Fonda’s first credited role wasn’t until 1987’s Aria.

Aria asked the question, “What can we do to sex up opera?”  The answer turned out to be to “add some sex scenes”.  Viewers were treated to opera, pretension and nudity.  I believe I saw it twice.  I was really into pretentious opera movies at the time.

Fonda’s segment centered on a young couple who consummate their relationship in Las Vegas and then try unsuccessfully to commit suicide.  All set to “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde.  Seven minutes, well spent.

I tease Aria.  It was actually a very well-regarded art film.  It won the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival that year.  And it had Elizabeth Hurley naked.  Sixteen-year-old lebeau approved of both.

Bridget Fonda - You Can't Hurry Love - 1988

Bridget Fonda – You Can’t Hurry Love – 1988

In 1988, Fonda appeared in the romantic comedy, You Can’t Hurry Love.

David Packer played a guy from Ohio who moves out to LA when his cousin promises him a hot job in advertising.  When he gets there, he finds himself handing out flyers on the beach.  As a frustrated single, he joins a video dating service where Fonda works.

David Leisure, who was appearing in popular commercials at the time as the character, Joe Isuzu, had a supporting role and was featured heavily in the movie’s marketing materials.  Sally Kellerman, Charles Grodin and Kristy McNichol all had cameo roles.

Gandahar/Light Years - 1988

Gandahar/Light Years – 1988

Fonda also did voice work in the English dub of the French animated science fiction movie, Gandahar or Light Years as it was called in the US.  Fonda voiced the Head/Historian.

I remember seeing this weird little cartoon in the very same art house where I watched Aria in 1987.  Glenn Close, Jennifer Grey and Christopher Plummer were also featured on the English language version.

Next: Scandal and Shag


Posted on October 7, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 237 Comments.

  1. Hard to believe he didn’t mention Single White Female- probably her most important role, with a serious hot sex scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Actress possibly better than some of the other family member’s, just finished watching Assassin, great movie, she could of been massive movie star, but I can see why she would like to retire to bring up her family, it is very hard place to be.


    • I was really surprised and disappointed that she never caught on as a major star. She definitely has talent. And she had the look. She just never got the right roles to move her forward.


    • Too bad she was never in a movie titled ‘assassin’. Maybe you’re thinking about someone else.


      • Yes she was “Point of No Return” is titled “The assassin” in just about every market except for the US.


        • Aha… Are yo implying that if something doesn’t happen in or to the typical manufactured Merkins it’s not worth mentioning….? At least not within conventional Merkin culture…? Bridget Fonda, like the entire Fonda clan, is neither typical nor myopic. Nor is she conventional. She lives her own lfe, her own choices. She’s a woman in full. I’m glad she gave us those fine prrforamces. I’m glad too that she recognised in time that ‘fame’ Merkin style can be hollow and destructive. Her choice of family first was an exemplary one.


        • Me too. She’s obviously an intelligent and beautiful person. I so agree with everything you said. I think I’ve seen all her movies, and all her dad’s, aunty’s and grandfather’s as well. Love ’em all. We watched Assassin on TV last night for the third time. A great movie. Bridget F turns in a real, believable, understated, and uniquely sexy performance each time.


      • Point of No Return…


  3. On Dutch commercial television(on Veronica television) l watched the film Point of no return last night. Great movie, good actress she is.
    Hopefully she will make her way back to the cinema. Giorgio.Rotterdam The Netherlands.


  4. Until a couple moments ago, I’d never heard of “what the hell happened to …” — kind of a snarky, s.hitty-attitudinal site. Hey, she’s set for life. She quit making movies. It’s not as if she walked out of a lab 3 days before find a cure for cancer. But hey, who am I to argue with words of a one-named writer?


    • Hugo, my friend, it’s all in fun. Snarky? Sure. That’s intentional. Shitty? I like to think I don’t fall on that side of the line. Especially with regards to Ms. Fonda. I think I have made my appreciation of her work fairly evident. You seem to feel I was overly critical. I’d love to hear you elaborate on that.

      See, your last line tells me you appreciate a little snark. Well done.


      • Bit of an overreaction Hugo.. if you don’t mind my saying that. A lot of times the very question of WTHH is not an insult or even snarky. Sometimes it’s a compliment of sorts, especially with someone like Fonda who has an enduring fan base. WTHH has really taken on quite a variety of different meanings and has generated very different kinds of answers. Then again sometimes it can be more on the snark side. I don’t know anyone who sits around pining for the next Seagal movie. And if so, it’s still apparent that it is indeed, all in fun.


        • Thanks RB. I can see where someone who is new to the series would read a single article and find the tone off-putting. It’s not intended to be for everyone. Having said that, I didn’t exactly go after Bridget Fonda.


    • Ewwww! That’s awful. You can’t go around making comparisons. Fonda is no less a person because she a) was an actress, b) was not a research oncologist, or c) chose family over film fame?
      Or are you suggesting you are couch-potato inconvenienced by both the notion she is a woman and the fact that she has an independent mind?
      BTW, why shoot Messenger leneau? He’s doing the essential work here putting the conversation topics on the Interweb table. All we have to do is enjoy.
      Or not, as is your preference. But why be insulting?


  5. She was a great actress when will she return..


    • I would like to think so, but I’m not holding my breath. I think she’s happy enough doing her thing outside the public view.


      • And her husband does quite well. I see his name very often in movie credits. So, along with the funds she enjoyed with her own career, and the support of a successful husband for the future, I wouldn’t hold my breath either.

        But it is always interesting to watch the stars come and go in the ‘night sky’ of the silver screen, and once in awhile, to get a chance to see some of the same stars you gazed at and appreciated once before return. Seeing many of the old action stars from the 80s and 90s reappear over the past few years has been a fun experience for the most part.

        I just watched a movie that had been collecting dust on the shelf for awhile now ‘Kiss of the Dragon’ after a craving for some Jet Li style ass-kicking entertainment, and stumbled on this site after wondering whatever happened to the female lead. Now I know.

        Interesting site, I’ll have to check out some of the other past stars that have drifted over the horizon.



        • Glad you found us. I hope you’ll stick around.

          Speaking of Danny Elfman and his success as a composer, my oldest daughter is going through a Simpsons phase at the moment. Elfman, of course, wrote the Simpsons theme song which play several dozen times a week on FXX. I would imagine the residuals from that piece of music alone pretty much guarantee that neither he nor his wife will ever have to work again if they choose not to.


  6. 10 Awesome Actors Who Just Dropped Off The Face Of The Earth:

    10. Bridget Fonda

    You may recognize Bridget Fonda from films as varied as Point of No Return and Monkeybone. She had worked with Sam Raimi, Jet Li and starred in the crazy 90s hit Single White Female. Her last credited role was a television film called Snow Queen. That was 2002.

    It wasn’t like Fonda was having trouble finding parts. She was beautiful and talented and in her prime when she suddenly disappeared. In 2001, she starred in Monkeybone opposite Brendan Fraser and Kiss of the Dragon opposite Jet Li.

    Where is the actress now? 2003 was a big year for her. Fonda suffered a fracture in her vertebra after a serious car crash in L.A. Though that probably didn’t have long term effects on her career, she also married film composer Danny Elfman that same year and the two are still married and raising a son. The best guess here is that Bridget Fonda walked away from Hollywood to start a family. We wish her luck, but hopefully we can see the Jackie Brown actress on the big screen again someday.


    • Re: Bridget Fonda:,10717571,2

      Boy there was a real push back in the late 80s early 90s to make her a huge star but it didn’t really happen. I think the tipping point for her career was the American remake of La Femme Nikita that was a huge flop. It was supposed to make her an action star but it didn’t happen. In all honesty while I liked her a lot and enjoyed a lot of her performances she always kind of seemed like a poor man’s Jodie Foster, of course her big draw was her last name, but that could only last for so long. I’d be interested to see if she comes back in middle age roles. It seemed to me like her career goal was about stardom and not acting so I would be surprised if she returned.

      by: Anonymous reply 25 08/07/2011 @ 08:11PM

      Loved her in “Single White Female” as well.

      I think she could have bridged the gap into successful middle-aged roles, a la Laura Dern. But it’s nice to see someone who can take it or leave it.

      by: Anonymous reply 27 08/07/2011 @ 08:45PM


      • Film ‘stars’ you thought were going to be massive, and really weren’t:

        Fonda was already retired when she became romantically involved with Elfman.

        She was interested in being a film star, but certain incidents in her personal and professional lives at one point had her deciding to retire in 1999. She didn’t outline those incidents but regarding her career, she hinted at being pressured over her appearance and age, which had her being offered almost nothing but unsuitable roles. Once she made her decision, she still had to fulfill the remaining agreements, so she worked until she could retire in 2000 or 2001. She shared this story at a Women in Film event a few years ago.


  7. I just loved how you kept saying for ‘some reason’ it was a flop. (g) She had horrible taste in the projects she chose. As a movie goer, she became one of the ‘bellwether”s of whether I would like the movie or not. If she was in it, I stayed away. Garbage material with talented people in it is still garbage. Actually, when someone consistently chooses these types of movies to act in, I have to conclude that personally they appeal to them and they don’t to me, so I’ll go watch someone else.


    • I can’t agree with you. For one, I liked a lot of her movies. Some of them fell short. But I don’t think Fonda made very many movies that were clearly destined to be bad. For example, Godfather 3 and Point of No Return had to look like sure-things on paper. A Simple Plan and Jackie Brown were good movies. It Could Happen to You and Singles were movies that could have been solid hits but just didn’t connect with audiences.

      Perhaps the majority shared your point of view and avoided Fonda. But I doubt it. I think most people just didn’t register her one way or another.


      • The only obvious mistake she made was in turning down Ally McBeal- but movie stars turning down TV is nothing new.

        The Road to Wellville might have been a bit out there- but it was with Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Broderick – it wasn’t like she was doing a Uwe Bolle movie.

        She probably could have been in a few more mainstream roles than some of the indie-type stuff she did- but she just might not have been offered these roles over Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, etc-

        She’s hardly a female James Caan – who basically turned down every great role of the late Seventies(!!)


        • I remember really wanting to see The Road to Wellville. And when I finally did, my enthusiasm slowly drained from me. But no, you can’t blame her for wanting to do it.


  8. BTW,today Bridget hits the half-century mark!!!


  9. I’ve heard David Kelley mentioning that Bridget wasn’t even on his list during the search for
    his Ally,BTW!!!!


    • Interesting- Fonda gave interviews where she said it- its all over a google search I just did.

      It wouldn’t be the first time this sort of thing is disputed. Producers/actors/agents do have their agendas.


  10. like all her movies…has that fonda face that keeps you looking at her…wish she would have made a sequel to point of no return…girl action figure…loved it


  11. In my opinion she was the most attractive “rising young actress” of the 90s – but she had kind of a cold and unlikeable personality onscreen, which I think people never responded to despite her looks. There was also the nepotism factor to turn people off, and since the Fondas were pretty unpopular anyway… I’d say that’s what the hell happened.


    • In that regard, I wonder if Bridget Fonda is sort of an opposite variation of Drew Barrymore, who you can also make the argument wouldn’t have gotten as far as she did in part because of the famous acting dynasty that she came from. I’m not necessarily saying that Drew pretty much “took” Bridget’s career per se, I’m saying that while you can argue that Drew Barrymore has never been the greatest actress from a technical standpoint, she none the less had sort of a “magnetic charm and quality” (perhaps something that Bridget couldn’t immediately fall on) about her to make you know overlook her limitations.


      • I wasn’t on board until you got to the end. I do think Barrymore got a lot of mileage out of her charm. Fonda, on the other hand, didn’t have that bubbliness. In that respect, I think you’re right. I don’t really buy that Fonda’s family held her back in any way. I doubt she would have gotten as far as she did without her family connections.


        • I hope I didn’t phrase my words incorrectly or poorly when discussing the differences between Drew Barrymore and Bridget Fonda’s career arcs, because part of my point is that you can make the argument that both women (regardless of overall acting talent) wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did in the first place w/o their famous family connections.


        • Sure family connections help a lot for getting in the door- but that’s it. A lot of actors have kids- many tried acting- and never did much. Look at all Clint Eastwood’s kids- for example.


  12. Seems she was a victim of her family’s excess baggage,perhaps????


    • It’s possible. Although I don’t think the casual audience member knew or cared about her family connection. I just don’t think she connected with audiences for some reason. To some extent, I think it was the projects she chose. But I’m sure some people also found her “cold and unlikable”.


  13. Blink And You Miss ‘Em: Celebs Who Were Famous For, Like, Five Minutes:

    Bridget Fonda (daughter of Peter, granddaughter of Henry, niece of Jane) was a huge star for a red hot minute. She lit up classics like Singles and Single White Female with her quirky pixie beauty, and managed to bring some class to The Godfather Part III. And then nothing! She was in a terrible car accident in 2003 that damaged her vertebra, which might be why she slowed down — but her presence is sorely missed. We’d love to see her playing Gwyneth’s big sister in a family dramedy about pristine Upper East Side wasps.


  14. Longtime favorite in the 90s … Think she was underappreciated by the audience. IMHO she has acting talent.


  15. Loved her in Single White Female, shame she walked away. I wish her well in whatever she chooses to do with her life.


  16. 17 Career Comebacks We’d Love To See:

    Bridget Fonda
    Best known for: “Jackie Brown,” “Single White Female,” “Singles”
    Last seen in: “The Whole Shebang”
    Comeback plan: “Looooooouisssssssss. Looooooouuuuissssssss.” Fonda was the real deal, smart and funny and casually gorgeous, and she seemed to be able to find fun notes to play even in weak material. She hasn’t worked at all since 2002, and her last theatrical feature was 2001. She’s got a young son, and she’s married to Danny Elfman, and she may be perfectly happy with that. But I’d love to see her work again, and it would take someone (maybe Tarantino, who gave her one of her very best roles as the sharp-tongued Melanie in “Jackie Brown”) to write something worthy of her enormous wit to remind audiences just how great she is.
    – Drew McWeeny


  17. I remember her most in Point of No Return. There have been many versions of this plot through the years but none as good and no one has ever played her character as well. She was so believable.


  18. Maybe I missed this but saw nothing regarding the huge accident she was in in this article to which I was surprised not to see written here. Forgive me if I missed this if it’s in this article/post but she was in a serious car wreck and her car plunged off an embankment in which she suffered head and neck injuries and a back fracture. That isolated likely want she suddenly stopped acting. This occurred in early/mid 2000s


    • It is addressed very near the end of the article:

      In 2003, Fonda was in a car accident in which she flipped her Jaguar. Fonda lost control of her vehicle due to weather conditions. She sustained a slight fracture of two thoracic vertebrae and was rushed to the hospital. Remarkably, her injuries were not terribly serious and she was able to recover at home.

      I could probably give it a little more attention. But frankly, there isn’t much more out there. By this point, Fonda was largely out of the public eye. Although there is little doubt it must have been a contributing factor.


  19. Good for her, she had a taste of Hollywood but apparently, decided being happy was more important. Still, after watching Single White Female, I was hoping to see more of her, she was excellent in that, one of my favorites movies from that period. Hope she’s happy and doing well, too lazy to read the entire article 🙂


  20. I liked Bridget Fonda, but I think her husband has had an amazing musical journey. I know Oingo Boingo wasn’t huge per se, but I really like the songs “Weird Science” and “Dead Man’s Party” (who can ask for more?). I mean, “The Simpsons” theme and the ambiant 1989 “Batman” instrumentals? Love it.


  21. Colorado semi-native

    I liked her in Point of No Return. She was very good. She may not be one of our all time greatest actresses but you can’t accuse of her of over acting. Don’t compare her to Jodie Foster. Foster over acts in all her moves. I like the more nuanced performances.


    • That’s true. I won’t accuse Foster of over-acting in every performance. But her performances do tend to be showier than Fonda. I think some would accuse Fonda of underselling sometimes. So if you think Foster is going overboard, Fonda’s going to see just about right by comparison.


  22. Like many, I thought that Bridget Fonda would become a star. Kind of in the mold of her aunt Jane.
    But Jane Fonda, (always in spite of the polarizing impact she developed and still retains to some), was pretty good at picking projects. Bridget Fonda simply was not.
    That is, if box office success is the standard. . .. which it generally is.

    I enjoyed her in some of the (not quite) bombs, but not hit movies such as Road to Wellville and Singles. She seemed best – and perhaps more comfortable – in ensemble casts and in movies which were not rom-coms, but had an overall comedy flair to them.

    She never seemed to be the ‘leading lady’ type even in the roles she was. The best example of this would be “Single White Female” where despite top billing she seemed the second fiddle.
    Action films were not her forte. She was not particularly believable in Point of No Return. She just came across as too nice.

    Drew Barrymore seems to be the actress she should have become. Barrymore knows her strengths and is better at picking projects.


    • Was Fonda bad at picking projects? If you are judging based on the final outcome, I would say so. But based on the info she had at the time, she picked some movies that looked like sure-fire winners. How could Godfather 3 be anything but a huge boost to her career? Point of No Return looked like a franchise in the making. It Could Happen to You seemed like a charming rom com – just what her career needed. Singles was going to be the BIG Gen X movie. A Simple Plan could have been Fargo. The list goes on and on. Heck, even Monkeybone probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

      I need to revisit Point of No Return. I had no problem with tiny little Fonda as an action hero. But I tend to be willing to suspend my disbelief where that is concerned. Her one rom com didn’t work out well, but I didn’t think she was in any way responsible for that movie’s shortcomings. I think dramatic roles were her strong suit. She just picked the wrong dramas despite the fact many of them – like City Hall – seemed like blue chips at the time.

      Definitely agree about Single White Female. She took the bigger, boring role while JJL got the showy supporting role.


  23. Being a chronic pain sufferer myself, I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that her career ended in 2002 and she had ‘semi’-serious injuries in the car accident in early 2003. It doesn’t take much, especially dealing with the spine, to all of a sudden be living a life with chronic nerve pain. Invisible, but debilitating pain. To look at a person dealing with this you would never know there’s anything wrong and many would never let on that there’s anything wrong, all while going through hell internally.
    I hope to hell that’s not the case and I have no way of knowing for sure, but the timing just seems a little too coincidental to me. I have a feeling that it plays a much larger role than we realize.


  24. What in the hell happened to Bridget Fonda???

    I was watching SWF last night (one of my faves) and realized I haven’t seen her in movies in awhile. The last movies I remember her in were Lake Placid and Jackie Brown (another fave). She was really poppin in the 90’s, what happened? I saw on wiki that her last movie was in 2001?! Anyone have any info?


    She was no longer the hot “It” girl.

    Hollywood has a shelf life for their actresses.

    Once they hit 30, Hollywood wants them to play the “mother” role. No longer taking their clothes off and being sexy.

    When they hit 40, they play the grandmother role.

    Men, on the other hand, get to be 50 and annoy us showing off their naked bodies, while some young hot 20 something year old has to pretend she’s getting off on him sexually.


    Cliff-notes: she married Danny Elman in 2003. he’s a well-known and well-paid musician who does film scores for big movies, so he’s not hurting for money. good for her for stepping away and having the means and support to do so.


    Nothing really and that was kind of the problem. Her career was stop and go, stop and go, it just never really took off and when she got married she basically just walked away and focused on raising a family. I don’t know if it’s because she wasn’t making the right choices or she wasn’t being offered the roles she wanted but she said F it and left.


  25. LeBeau,

    Bridget Fonda’s best movie is the one with the big alligator living in the lake. It’s stupid, stupid, and stupid. After seeing the movie at least 50 times I can certainly say it is stupid. But I keep watching it anyway. Does that make me stupid too, or maybe just mesmerized by her grace and beauty? I think there were other actors in the movie too but I can’t remember…

    Brad Deal


    • As much as I was a Bridget Fonda fan at the time (and remain so today) even I have to admit Oliver Platt steals Lake Placid.

      I was initially very let down by the movie. By my expectations were set overly high. I rewatched it about a year ago and I found it pleasant enough. I was just hoping for a little more. Either more thrills or more satire. It never really nails either tone.

      As for her best movie, for my money, it’s A Simple Plan. Very under-rated flick.


      • I agree with you totally about A Simple Plan, such a great, highly underrated movie. Billy Bob Thornton received an Oscar nom for the film, but Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda, Gary Cole and the rest of the cast were also all in top form too. I would recommend giving the original novel A Simple Plan by Scott Smith a read, it’s still one of my favorite novels of all time.

        I’m on the fence about what Bridget Fonda’s best film is, though, because as great as A Simple Plan is I’m also a huge fan of Jackie Brown, which Fonda was also excellent in.

        By the way Brad I liked Lake Placid too, a fun little creature feature. Liking it doesn’t make you stupid, everybody (me included) has their own guilty pleasures….


  26. BF films were not stellar projects regardless of her talent or looks – most were B- scripts. I think she did the most that she could with the work. As for her choosing to leave Hollywood? She married well and successfully – that, plus her former earnings offered her the choice to focus on family and other interests. She is lucky to have the choice and is hopefully enjoying a satisfying life doing things outside the glare of the film kliegs. Smart actresses these days would be well advised to learn other aspects of the film industry and launch their own production companies and find female empowered scripts. These sadly are still in short supply as are female directors, producers and studio heads – it remains a sexist industry.


    • I agree with all of your commentary on the industry. On a personal level, Fonda has done very well for herself. I think you’re being a little dismissive of her filmography given that it includes Jackie Brown and A Simple Plan. A lot of her movies looked like they could have been star-making turns. But none of them really panned out. Were most B-scripts? Probably. But there were some winners mixed in. And she worked with some great directors and co-stars.


  27. Rough Magic is one of my favorite films, quiet, quirky, retro. She and Russell Crowe have great chemistry. The art direction is incredible. I think the only wrong note was the actor who (over) played her fiance, he’s either a terrible actor or was poorly directed.

    I wouldn’t be interested in seeing a film described as a combination of magical realism, screwball comedy and noir but thank god I saw the movie without knowing anything about it first.


  28. I first saw Bridget in “Point of No Return” (or whatever name you folks seem to be pointlessly arguing about) and thought she was AWESOME! I’m so glad to have found this publication to let me know what happened to her. Thanks! It’s good that she kept her head up and kept trying, and there is alot of respect to have quit for her family! So many from that era dropped into addictions and other self-destructive lifestyles. Love ya girl! Dignity is such an admirable quality!


    • Thanks for the kind words, Jan. I’m glad you found us too. I’m a big Fonda-fan as well. Even though her career ended prematurely, it was on her own terms. She seems to be living a charmed life even if it is mostly outside of the public eye.


  29. bridget very sexy..


  30. Mother Brain’s Top 10 Underrated Actresses Not Yet Covered:

    4) Bridget Fonda

    Arguably one of the most in demand actresses of her day to eventually disappear from the limelight. Though her first on-screen role was a bit part in her father, Peter Fonda’s iconic hit Easy Rider, she didn’t hit big time until the early 90s with a string of hits: Godfather III, Doc Hollywood, Single White Female, and Singles. The latter two made her a symbol of the Generation X era in Hollywood. Those films as well as her turns in action movies (Point of No Return) and indie crime dramas (Jackie Brown, A Simple Plan) helped Fonda to escape the shadow of her famous family name. But after a string of flops and transitioning into motherhood, Fonda disappeared from show-business in 2002 and has rarely been seen in public since.

    Trivia: Spouse of legendary composer, Danny Elfman.


  31. I read somewhere she was in a serious car accident. She probably rethought her life and career.


  32. I luv ur site, blog, whatever! 😀 I know Bridget from the late 80s here in NYC, even went to her graduation party. She was best friends with some of my friends, and was always so very cool and super nice 🙂 And a Great talent! Later, when I was living in London, my friend interviewed her on the set of Scandal and said Hi for me. She said Hello back and asked how I was. This was before email and social media of course so I lost touch w her after that. But I did see Aria, Scandal and Shag in London when they came out over there, loved them all! 😉 That’s great she’s married to Danny Elfman, I’m a big fan of his work as well. Thanks for filling us all in on her “missing” years. All the best, Tina xox


  33. Love kiss of the dragon. Fonda and jet li had great chemistry. Lake placid a very funny movie. Meredith salinger is hot.


  34. Hollywood Nepotism: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly:

    I liked Bridget Fonda, too. I just think she’s a typical Hollywood case- did well for a decade or two, then grew out of the ingenue/leading lady stage, and just didn’t want to fight to remain relevant because she had other things she wanted to do. It’s not like she needed to work.


  35. Retrospective / Review: Army of Darkness (1992)


  36. Point of no return
    Terrible remake of luc bessons la femme nikita


  37. After being seriously injured in a vehicle accident in which her vertebrae was fractured, she retired from acting. Serious injuries take a lot of time to recover from; so naturally she focussed upon that and her family rather than the vacuous world of hollywood. Period.


  38. 10 Famous Actresses Who Don’t Act Anymore

    Bridget Fonda

    Bridget Fonda is the daughter of Pete Fonda, granddaughter of Henry Fonda, and niece of Jane Fonda! Guess a career in acting was inevitable! She is best known for her roles in Singles, The Godfather Part III, Point of No Return, and Jackie Brown. She was reportedly offered the lead role in Ally McBeal, but turned it down to focus on her film career. She made cameo appearances in films until 2002 but has not been in a movie since. She got married to composer Danny Elfman in 2003 and seems to be enjoying her time as a wife and mother to their son Oliver.


    • 40 Stars Who Vanished Without a Trace From Hollywood

      Bridget Fonda

      Bridget Fonda made her mark with movies like Single White Female and Jackie Brown, but for some reason she decided to leave acting behind, with 2002 TV movie Snow Queen her last film outing to date. Fonda married composer Danny Elfman in 2003, so perhaps she wanted to spend more time with him instead.


        • 15 Actors Who Disappeared After Hit Movies


          For over a decade now, a lot of people have asked the question, “What the hell happened to Bridget Fonda?” She comes from Hollywood royalty: Henry Fonda, Peter Fonda, Jane Fonda; all legends in the entertainment industry. Bridget Fonda fit right in there when she first stepped onto the scene in Easy Rider. The absolutely stunning sweetheart adoringly stole the spotlight in mostly everything she did.

          Early on in You Can’t Hurry Love, Bridget seemed destined for stardom. Her long list of credits include: Doc Hollywood, Single White Female, Singles, It Could Happen to You, Jackie Brown; the list goes on. But in 2002, she appeared in the TV movie, Snow Queen, and after that, her career just froze. The end of it seemed to coincide with her marriage to Oingo Boingo’s Danny Elfman (who strangely enough pulled his own disappearing act with his band in 1995). The two found love and started a family together. While Elfman of course went on to become an award-winning composer for just about every single movie ever made, the only appearance Fonda has made in recent years is standing beside her husband on a red carpet.


      • Actors/Actresses Who Were Once Big/Almost Big But Now Have Seemingly Vanished

        A number of these people mentioned seemingly vanished because they wanted to — Bridget Fonda is a remarkably sane woman, given her background — she just didn’t like doing the Hollywood thing anymore; she wanted a stable family life. Her pal Phoebe Cates made pretty much the same move, given that she, too, came from a Hollywood family and had enough of it.

        Some of these people saw their careers vanish — like Shelley Long, Sean Young, Ken Wahl — because they had fragile psyches. Being an actor is very tough, given all the rejection, fame, power, harassment, the roller coaster lives that are only as good as the present….etc etc…. I’ve worked in and out of Hollywood most of my life and have only met a few actors who I thought seemed stable.

        All the more amazing that Matthew Perry, given that he’s had more problems staying sober and sane than just about anyone, has been able to maintain his career. He has a terrific manager, which often helps a great deal. That’s what most people don’t realize — it’s often the support staff that keeps a career going, a supportive agent, a smart manager, a good lawyer, a solid shrink, and everyone else who takes 10 percent, 15 percent, or more…. These people might sound like they make a lot of money, and many of them do, but they often are supporting many other people off that salary.


        reply 280 8 hours ago


  39. My understanding is that she suffers from memory loss from a car accident.
    Sometimes life makes a choice for us.


  40. I so loved No Way favorite by far


  41. The CURSE of The Godfather

    Bridget Fonda (Grace Hamilton)

    Another up-and-comer, who’s part in the movie unfortunately ended up mostly on the cutting-room floor. Looks like most of her screen time went to Sofia Coppola’s “performance” instead gasp She was good in a small part in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, and was offered the lead role in Ally McBeal (later given to Calista Flockhart) but turned it down to focus on her film career – which has ended up being a very bad decision since she hasn’t done anything of note since 2002.


  42. I think Bridget had more taker than her papa


  43. What Happened to Bridget Fonda – News & Updates

    Coming from greats like Peter, Henry and Jane Fonda, one could imagine Bridget Fonda would have been born to hold the keys to Hollywood. After a career spanning three decades and almost fifty appearances to her credit, she’s mostly left the public eye. Despite a career filled with ups and downs, nothing much ever came of Bridget and her tale is quite similar to many hopeful actors and actresses. Let’s take a look at the life of Bridget Fonda.


    • Actors/Actresses Who Were Once Big/Almost Big But Now Have Seemingly Vanished

      Bridget Fonda was everywhere in the ’90s: The Godfather Part III, Scandal, Single White Female, Singles, Point of No Return, Jackie Brown. Now, wikipedia lists her as “retired.”


      reply 43 6 hours ago

      [R43] – Bridget Fonda seriously injured her back after she flipped her car in Malibu shortly before she was supposed to guest star on The Practice. She never acted again and ended up marrying and having a kid or two with Danny Elfman. She’s definitely one I’d love to see make a comeback in a good TV series.


      reply 51 6 hours ago


      • Today’s Blind Items – She Quit Forever

        A few years ago it seemed like you could not watch any movie without seeing this actress. She was everywhere. She was the it girl. She was the next big thing. She was in big movies and blockbusters and even got nominated for some of the bigger awards and then one day, she was gone. Vanished. She was B+ list at the time and now, if she decided to come back, she would probably still be close to a B because of her name and what she did in her short time. She has talked about coming back but she went through some of the roughest times that I have ever heard. She was in her late teens when she really got noticed and that is when it became hard. There was the movie with the method actor who has been nominated for an Academy Award and is A list all the way. He decided that he was going to do drugs for the movie and insisted she do the same. He said he would get her fired if she didn’t, so there she was in an alley in a city she had never been before smoking crack with an actor who said it was all part of the process. When he forced her to have sex with her “to keep things real,” she wondered if that was part of the process too. Apparently his process involved him having sex with every female on the production.

        There was the producer who kept wanting her to read for a part and would keep insisting that she come at the end of the day to his office. After everyone left for work. She knew what was going to happen. She knew it and knew it and told her agent she didn’t want to go and why couldn’t she meet the producer somewhere else. The agent told her the producer always did it that way. A soon as she got to his office and he reached for her breast she ran screaming from the office and never went back. Her agent acted like it was a big misunderstanding and he would get her another meeting with the producer. Maybe they could go to dinner or something.
        She talked about the time she had agreed to do a love scene, but with no nudity and the director kept her in her trailer for three hours yelling at her that she needed to get naked for the scene to make it real. There was that word again and she was tired of it. He gave her something to take and then had sex with her and she finally agreed to get naked for the movie. There she was in front of 30 other people having sex on camera and the director yelling at her to make it more real. more sexy. He never even used the scene. It ended up on the cutting room floor. She later heard he had hours of footage of actresses from scenes just like hers that ended up in his home but never on screen. He loved the power.

        After one too many gropings on set or coke being offered to her. Our actress just left. She walked away. One second she was there and one she was not. She says she has quit forever.

        Re the Bridget Fonda guess: the film could be Singles and the method actor, Matt Dillon. Don’t know if he’s A-list, but he’s Academy Award nominated. The unfamiliar city would be Seattle.

        I’d like to take a baseball bat to the keyboard of anyone who types “FTW”…

        Bridget Fonda was ~38 when she left Hollywood. In 2003 she had a major car accident AND married Oingo Boingo frontman/frequent Tim Burton collaborator Danny Elfman. This blind says the actress was in her late teens when she really got noticed. Bridget Fonda spent her years between 18 & 22 at NYU’s Tisch School, and her breakthrough roles all occurred in her mid-to-late 20s. She was TWENTY-EIGHT when she starred in Singles. Keep trying…

        I thought of Bridget Fonda right away. I’m not sure that Hollywood family cred gives you a pass on treatment like this, not until you are A list, and even then, you’re still a woman, so… there is SO much competition for parts. If you believe the Toothy Tile blind you know Jakey had to blow a producer to get Prince of Persia, and then that Gwyneth did the Casting Couch for Shakespeare in Love – both Hollywood families. I’m sure the examples go on and on.

        I was very curious about Bridget’s total disappearance a few years back and found out that she was in a horrible car accident that shattered her spine or something, and rehab has been slow. So – I don’t know.

        If this is Fonda I think the last example is Quentin Tarantino / Jackie Brown.

        I’m still on the Bridget Fonda bandwagon.

        This blind doesn’t specify that the way this actress was treated is THE REASON the actress quit. Just that she quit and she “went through some of the roughest times that I have ever heard.” according to Enty.

        The thing is, the types of things she “went through” are par for the course in H’wood. We know this. This shit happens all the time. But this actress didn’t expect it, didn’t want to play that game, and eventually it may have been a contributing factor to her quitting.

        I suspect the sex scene movie was Jackie Brown with Tarantino. At that point in Fonda’s career, she probably didn’t want to do nudity or simulated sex, and she’d been in a LTR with Eric Stoltz, though they broke up soon after this. The one sex scene in Jackie Brown evidently had the nudity cut out of it.

        Yes, I think something’s misleading [purposefully] in the BI.

        Bridget Fonda quit too early, was everywhere, and might have been noticed as a late teen. I’m really liking this guess—she might have believed she was protected from the nasty side of HW and gotten bullied anyway. I can really see this… Except, she’s got a lot of credits under her belt. And I don’t like “what she did in her short time” — BF was around for a long time (1993+). Her career can’t be described as a “short time”.

        (Neither can Phoebe Cates and others who had lots of movies then just petered out with poor films.)

        I got nothing from the “Where Ever Happened To” database LOL (they’re all either still working, or were only one hit wonders). So I’m also thinking someone more recent (late 90s-mid2000s). But I can’t think of any “recent” B+ list actors who aren’t still acting.

        Just throwing this out for the Bridget Fonda guess – she was in Singles, so the method actor could be Matt Dillon although I don’t know if he’s A-list, but he is Academy award nominated. The ‘city she had never been before’ could be Seattle.


        • I always felt she went into acting due to family legacy and not really because she loved it or was seeking fame. So I am not surprised she just left comepletely, it is a shame though because she was a natural and one of those rare actresses that were not only gorgeous but also likeable and genuine.


          reply 52 Last Monday at 11:31 PM

          This is an interesting thread. I recall reading a review of one of her films many years ago where the critic focused mainly on Bridget. He said she had a bright future and she was very smart to take supporting roles as she built her resume. I thought about that critic’s assessment some years later when I realized she had completely disappeared from acting. It’s good to know she chose to walk away.


          reply 76 Last Tuesday at 6:38 AM

          I agree that her sudden departure, not just from acting, but most public appearances is odd – especially after all her success and the fact that her husband is still actively working in the biz. But to each his own – I don’t know her story.

          I did read a blog post a few years back by a guy who worked at a high end furniture store in LA. He mentioned that she was one of a number of regular celebrity customers. She was polite and easy to deal with. The thing that made Bridget remarkable for this poster was how often she came in the store and how much she bought. He implied she was a compulsive shopper. She never asked prices – she bought huge expensive, one-of-a kind items frequently.

          She was SO down-to-earth that she’d try to load items in her vehicle rather than ask this high-end store to deliver. But the blogger never felt that they (the store staff) got to know her in spite of her being in the store on a regular basis – she sort of kept people at arm’s length, albeit politely.

          Maybe she did have a bad experience with a stalker or some other similar experience.

          —She’s Entitled to Her Life

          reply 93 21 hours ago

          Even before she retired, the good roles seemed to stop coming or she was phasing herself out. There was that movie with Jet Li and then her guest stint on the Chris Isaak Show.

          But reading this thread, I’m reminded that she had an impressive run. She was terrific in Scandal, so good that she deserved a Best Supporting Actress nomination (she was far better than Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias). Speaking of Roberts, I think Fonda should have had a bigger career than her because Fonda is a far better actress. Even Fonda’s own romantic comedy, It Could Happen to You, is a pure delight. Singles and Single White Female helped define the early ’90s in cinema and pop culture.

          One of her best performances is A Simple Plan. Throughout the film, Fonda pulls back the mask to show her character’s true intentions. The last look of her character is just brilliant acting. Billy Bob Thornton was nominated, but I thought Fonda’s work was just as deserving. Perhaps even better.


          reply 101 20 minutes ago


  44. Bridget Fonda is the most beautiful girl ever.

    I’ll love her forever.


  45. Nostalgia Critic: Balto (1995)

    This film has grown a large following, but despite it being beloved, are there a FEW things that might be off about it? The Nostalgia Critic reviews the animated movie Balto.


    • Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: Balto (1995)

      The Nostalgia Critic made fun of it, but do Doug and Rob actually not like the animated nostalgic classic, Balto?


  46. What was your WORST celebrity encounter??

    Another former entertainment journalist here:

    Shelley Long: Just a pretentious and unpleasant as her well-deserved reputation.

    Ted Danson: Quite pleasant, but strangely slow thinking and possibly stupid.

    Bridget Fonda: The nicest actor I ever interviewed — but she got out of the business.

    Jennifer Jason Leigh: Shy, weird, and somewhat disorienting to talk to, as though she were living in another reality.

    Melanie Griffith: Lived up to her reputation by picking her nose while we were talking, although she didn’t flick it at me, as she did to a friend.

    Ray Liotta: Another one who doesn’t understand that he’s not the biggest star in Hollywood.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger: One of the most interesting interviews I ever had, and possibly the only star who asked me questions about my life, and, actually listened to the answers.

    Glenn Close: Avoid at all costs. Seriously seems to think she is the Queen of the World.

    Doris Day: Met her when she was quite old, and found her totally charming, particularly if you talked about animals.

    Phyllis Diller: My favorite interview of all time — saw her just before she died, and even then, she managed to be funny, sharp, and very grateful for her career.

    Roseanne Cash: One of the nicest celebrities ever.

    Joni Mitchell: Bitter, angry, and filled with hostility to a world that does not realize that she, and she alone, invented music.

    Susan Sarandon: So self-important you’d think she invented the entire world. Like Kathleen Turner, confuses having played intelligent people in movies with thinking that she’s intelligent.

    Tim Robbins: Just plain weird. Really, really weird.

    Charlie Sheen: So f***ed up that I couldn’t do the interview. Had to call the magazine and plead to be taken off the case.

    etc. etc.


    reply 417 Yesterday at 8:16 AM


  47. Nostalgia Critic: Monkeybone (2001)

    Just because it’s dark and weird doesn’t mean it’s good. Nostalgia Critic looks at the strange madness that nightmares are made of, Monkeybone.


  48. The Real Story Behind Bridget’s Fonda Disappearance from Hollywood
    She was big box office and had a good career ahead of her as part of the famous Fonda clan, then 15 years ago, she called it quits and hasn’t been seen on the screen since.
    The official line is that she decided to retire and raise a family after marrying Danny Elfman, but I’ve also heard rumors that her exit from Hollywood was because of something sinister – like a sexual assault by a showbiz big wig or something to that effect. Father Peter and Aunt Jane have been very mum on Bridget.

    Anybody in the know have the real scoop?

    —Anonymous (677 views)

    27 replies 26 3 hours ago

    I hope she makes a comeback. I really enjoyed her…SHAG, A SIMPLE PLAN, JACKIE BROWN, LAKE PLACID, POINT OF NO RETURN, SINGLES, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE…she had a good run.


    reply 11 2 hours ago

    On another thread someone said she got into a bad car accident. Never heard anything about it.


    reply 15 2 hours ago

    Loved this b**** one of the few Hollywood actresses I could stand!! She made her money and lived a normal life -smart lady


    reply 17 2 hours ago

    Plus she was adorable in it could happen to you. Good actress very likable and was hot as hell in her prime.


    reply 18 2 hours ago

    After Bridget’s involvement in the Profumo scandal she wisely dropped out of the radar and became a recluse…..


    reply 19 2 hours ago

    She lived with Eric Stoltz for eons, eight years. Wonder why they didn’t marry. Didn’t he have a very short marriage with Robin Wright in the 1980s?


    reply 20 2 hours ago

    Bridget was perfection in the ‘La Femme Nikita’ remake ‘Point of No Return’, which had a really great cast and soundtrack (Nina Simone). She was surprisingly believable as the reluctant anti-hero/action star and she looked phenomenal to boot.


    reply 21 2 hours ago

    The rumor has long been that her and Elfman’s child is a special needs kid. He’s about 12.


    reply 22 2 hours ago


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