Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...
actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York
White Plains, New York
White Plains is a city and the county seat of Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located in south-central Westchester, about east of the Hudson River and northwest of Long Island Sound...
, with Joan Tompkins
Joan Tompkins, legally known as Joan Swenson was an American actress of television, film, radio, and stage, who co-founded with her husband, Karl Swenson, an acting company in Beverly Hills, California...
. He made his Hollywood debut in 1935, and his career gained momentum after his Academy Award
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...
-nominated performance as Tom Joad
Tom Joad is a fictional character from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath portrayed by Henry Fonda in John Ford's film adaption.-Role in the novel:...
in The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath (film)
The Grapes of Wrath is a 1940 drama film directed by John Ford. It was based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Nunnally Johnson and the executive producer was Darryl F...
, a 1940 adaptation
Film adaptation is the transfer of a written work to a feature film. It is a type of derivative work.A common form of film adaptation is the use of a novel as the basis of a feature film, but film adaptation includes the use of non-fiction , autobiography, comic book, scripture, plays, and even...
of John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...
's novel about an Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...
family who moved west during the Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...
. Throughout six decades in Hollywood, Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in such classics as The Ox-Bow Incident
The Ox-Bow Incident
The Ox-Bow Incident is a 1943 American western film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe, Harry Morgan and Jane Darwell...
, Mister Roberts and 12 Angry Men.