ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Do We Do When Legends Die?

Updated on August 16, 2019
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.


For an Average Fan of

Peter Henry Fonda, he was a laid-back, slow-talking and complex to the wall. He loved to smile even when there was no grand plans in his vivid imagination. Fonda was born February 23, 1940 and sadly, Fonda passed silent away August 16, 2019. I know that his millions of fans both inside the United States and world for that matter, were shocked. Even with Fonda’s battle with lung cancer, he stood proudly facing a cold, uncertain death who was probably very reluctant before taking him home, because there those hints of shining hope that his closest friends and family thought that he would face cancer with the same tenacity as he did in his film work.

But that reality of Fonda pulling-out of his sickness quickly faded away with Fonda not saying words of future dreams or prolonged promises. Simply said, it was Fonda’s time to leave the race of life which we knew, but (sometimes ignored) that he was not made of granite. Fonda was human. And he was the first to admit it.

Fonda was an American actor. Not a ‘good’ actor, but a deep well of talent which he was able to ignite with a wink. Peter Fonda was the son of another Hollywood legend, Henry Fonda, younger brother of Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget and Justin Fonda (by first wife, Susan Brewer, stepdaughter of Noah Dietrich). Fonda was a part of the counterculture of the 1960s. A big, involved role in the casting of “Capt. America,” in Easy Rider in 1969, now a cult classic. Fonda did not shun the character nor the message that he carried for “that” era and changes it soon brought.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Easy Rider (1969), and the Academy Award for Best Actor for Ulee's Gold (1997). For the latter, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. Fonda also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999).


Peter Fonda Played

the role of “Wyatt,” who role the famous tricked-out motorcycle (with the American flag’s colors) and Dennis Hopper, was “Billy,” who went with “Wyatt” to ride to Louisiana to meet some good friends who “Billy” knew well, which included young starlet Karen Black and Easy Rider gave a chance to Jack Nicholson, who played “George Hanson,” a semi-successful lawyer whose heart belonged to traveling so “Billy” and “Wyatt” did not have to beg “Hanson” to come aboard with their traveling.

By the way, Dennis Hopper was not only one of the principal writers, along with Fonda and Terry Southern, but directed the block-buster film, Easy Rider, loved by the Hip Generation as well as members of the Establishment who came on slowly to love this film. As well as “Wyatt,” who many fans would confuse the role with Fonda in real life. The transformation from real life Peter Fonda to “Wyatt” was amazing. But the most-amazing thing about “Wyatt,” was his ability to absorb the conversation around himself without interrupting to share thoughts that were relevant to the topic. Peter Fonda was, as many said, a massive load of natural talent on two legs.

Fonda quickly tapped into this seemingly-endless imagination as he took on the role of “Verge Likens,”a young man who saw this father murdered and the criminal “Riley McGrath,” played by Show Business icon, Robert Earnhardt, got away with it.

Years passed and “Likens,” had planned his revenge on “McGrath,” in such a mild, yet-solid portrayal of Fonda’s acting that was both psychotic and so soft-spoken as an unemployed barber that his brother had given him to go away from their hometown and head for Barber College and “Likens” passed the test be a barber which was the major part of his revenge.

Peter Fonda "Wyatt" and Dennis Hopper "Billy."
Peter Fonda "Wyatt" and Dennis Hopper "Billy." | Source

The Main Scene Opens

with “Likens” having convinced “McGrath,” that he, “McGrath,” was in need of a shave because of his having to be seen in public as to bolster his power over the citizens in his town. As a side note: the two actors, the veteran, Earnhardt and Fonda presented their roles spot-on. No mistakes or flub-up’s. Classic Alfred Hitchcock at his best.

As the scene continues, “Likens,” in his soft-spoken manner talks to “McGrath” about both their lives and how each would end-up and to make this scene produce suspense,”Likens”is seen with this psychotic smile across his lips and now, “McGrath” has suspected something about “Likens” being the son of the man whom “McGrath” murdered in cold blood. “McGrath’s” forehead and face are soaked with sweat and now “Likens” has his sharp straight razor gently shaving “McGrath’s” throat. A close look would tell that you could detect “McGrath’s” body begin to shake and tremble.

The scene is at its climax and “Likens” has that smile on his face and to make his vengence fulfilled, before he began to shave “McGrath,” he locked the door to his office to keep any citizens from interrupting him as he slowly tells “McGrath” about how him, his brother and mom, had to scratch-out a living thanks to their father being murdered by “McGrath,” but his voice is shaky and coarse with fear and he begins to beg “Likens” to have mercy on him.

This is the best-written part of the scene: “McGrath” then dies of a massive heart attack and “Likens” runs to the locked door to tell the spectators that “McGrath” is dead and there was nothing that he could do, speaking of “Likens.”

So What Was

more important, Peter Fonda’s acting or his writing? I would wager that his acting and getting all that could be retrieved from the character that he was playing and just falling back into that quiet, confident image of true self-esteem.

There will, in all reality, be several questions surrounding Fonda’s death. Some questions are already asked and answered, and there may be more that will fade out into the Grand Arena of Life as Fonda himself has moved into.

As for his moniker of being a legend, I am not going to argue this point, because of the many unanswered questions is how do you survive when a legend dies?

May you rest in peace, Peter.

August 16, 2019_______________________________________________________

© 2019 Kenneth Avery


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)