Monday, April 30, 2018

Hank and Jim

Hank and Jim: The Fifty Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart by Scott Eyman  367 pp.

Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart met when they were young actors just starting out. They developed a friendship that lasted in spite of their many differences. Their friendship 4relied more on proximity than conversation. They were happiest just being with each other, frequently not even speaking, making model airplanes and kites, or reminiscing about their days as struggling young actors. Both were very affected by their military experiences that neither discussed; Fonda in the Navy in the Pacific Theater and Stewart flying bombing missions over Europe for the Army Air Corp. The two were wildly different in many ways. Stewart married once at the age of 41 and remained married until his wife's death, Fonda married five times. Fonda was liberal politically while Stewart was very conservative. Stewart had a loving and involved relationship with his twin daughters and stepsons but Fonda's relationship with his children was a prickly one at best. That these two men stayed so close, even during the times they didn't see each other for months or even years is fascinating. Eyman used archival material and interviews with the Fonda and Stewart families and friends to flesh out the story of these two different men who were both legendary actors and devoted friends.

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