Actor and filmmaker Peter Fonda emerged from the long shadow cast by his father, Henry Fonda, to establish himself as a counterculture icon and maverick filmmaker with "Easy Rider" (1969) and later, a capable character actor in "Ulee's Gold" (1997), "The Limey" (1999) and numerous other film and television projects. Born Peter Henry Fonda on February 23, 1940 in New York City, he was the younger brother of Jane Fonda and the son of Henry Fonda and his second wife, Frances Ford Seymour. By his own account, his childhood was marked by privilege - he attended prestigious schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut and attended the University of Nebraska Omaha at the age of 17 - but also sadness due to his father's strict attitude towards his upbringing and his mother's death by her own hand while committed to a mental hospital when he was ten years of age. Like his brother and sister, Fonda decided to pursue a career in acting, and joined a community playhouse while attending the University of Nebraska; he would make his Broadway debut in a production of Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole in 1961, with his screen debut coming a year later on an episode of "Naked City" (ABC, 1958-1963). His tall and handsome bearing made him ideal for romantically available young men, like his small-town medico in "Tammy and the Doctor" (1963), though he proved equally skilled as troubled sensitive types, like his timid GI in Carl Foreman's harrowing war drama "The Victors," which earned him a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer. But off-screen, Fonda had delved deeply into the growing counterculture scene in Los Angeles, befriending members of the Beatles and experimenting with LSD. Word of his proclivities had a negative impact on his acting career, but Fonda rebounded after being cast as a motorcycle gang leader in Roger Corman's "The Wild Angels" (1966). A major hit with young audiences, it was soon followed by Corman's "The Trip" (1967), with Fonda as a stressed-out commercial director who found personal freedom through LSD use. While promoting the latter film, Fonda seized upon the idea of making a biker film with sociopolitical context, and teamed with another Hollywood iconoclast - Dennis Hopper - to produce, co-write and star in "Easy Rider" (1969). The independent production, directed by Hopper, who co-wrote the script with Fonda and Terry Southern, followed two bikers (Hopper and Fonda) across an America where the pursuit of personal freedom was often met with fear and violence. Produced for less than $400,000, "Easy Rider" was a huge financial success and netted Oscar nominations for its screenplay and for co-star Jack Nicholson, who played the bikers' freewheeling lawyer. More importantly, it helped to upset the Hollywood production paradigm, which had already upended itself with bloated productions that failed to draw in audiences, while a perceived B-picture like "Rider" could reap $40 million at the box office. The lessons learned by "Easy Rider" would provide the leverage for young filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Michael Cimino to make their own studio films, though Hopper and Fonda were unable to parlay its popularity into their own filmmaking careers. Fonda would direct "The Hired Hand" (1971), a moody Western drama that paired him with the iconic character actor Warren Oates; the film was poorly received and failed upon its release, though it would find an appreciative following and tour the festival circuit in the early 2000s. Its follow-up, the downbeat science fiction film "The Idaho Transfer" (1973) performed even worse, and for the next decade, Fonda worked primarily as an actor in pictures that traded on his rebellious screen image. Some, like the cycle/suspense thriller "Race with the Devil" (1974), were better than others, and allowed Fonda to return for a third stint in the director's chair; the resulting film, "Wanda Nevada" (1979), with Fonda as a drifter who fell for 13-year-old Brooke Shields and his father as a prospector, earned mixed reviews. For much of the decade that followed, Fonda could be seen in low-budget genre films, save for a brief appearance as a comic biker in "The Cannonball Run" (1980) and a well-received turn as a cult leader in "Split Image" (1982). But the rise of the independent film scene of the 1990s provided him with fresh opportunities from filmmakers who viewed him as their spiritual godfather; he was a motorcyclist in "Bodies, Rest and Motion" (1993), which starred his daughter, Bridget Fonda, and played both Dracula and Dr. Van Helsing in Michael Almereyda's microbudget thriller "Nadja" (1994). Roles like these led to Fonda's career-reviving turn as a taciturn Florida beekeeper in "Ulee's Gold" (1997). His performance - which drew comparisons to his father in terms of gravity and bearing - earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and led to a string of high-profile projects that drew on his counterculture past and newfound elder statesman status. He was an unscrupulous Los Angeles record producer in Steven Soderbergh's "The Limey" (1999), a bayou Prospero in a TV take on "The Tempest" (NBC, 1998), Ayn and earned a Golden Globe as Ayn Rand's husband in "The Passion of Ayn Rand' (Showtime, 1999). Like his father, he appeared in more than his share of Westerns, including a remake of "3:10 to Yuma" (2007), and kept up his association with the biker spirit in "Wild Hogs" (2007) and "Ghost Rider" (2007), which cast him as the Devil himself. Fonda worked steadily over the next decade, and if the projects tended to be unremarkable - save perhaps the Western "The Ballad of Lefty Brown" (2017) and the comedy "Boundaries" (2018) with Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga - Fonda seemed pleased to be working and respected for his own talents. While preparing for screenings of a restored version of "Easy Rider" to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the 79-year-old Fonda succumbed to lung cancer at his home on August 16, 2019.