Peter Fonda was born in New York City on Feb. 23, 1940. The son of actor Henry Fonda, the young Fonda studied acting at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and became a successful actor in his own right. Motorcycles and counter-culture were common threads in some of his early work, including the 1966 film The Wild Angels.
In 1969, Fonda produced and acted in the film Easy Rider. Regarded as an important film commentary of the era, Easy Rider explored the conflict between freedom and societal standards in 1960s America. The film also helped to popularize the custom chopper movement, and generated new interest in V-twin motorcycles.
An experienced rider, Fonda conceptualized the “Captain America” bike he rode in Easy Rider. He hired Cliff Vaughs to coordinate production of the bike, which was built by Los Angeles shop owner Ben Hardy. The bike became an iconic symbol of the 1960s and, decades later, the Captain America replica bike in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum still stirred powerful emotions among visitors.
Fonda’s career includes over 100 titles as an actor, director or producer. He has supported numerous motorcycle-related charity fundraising events, including the Love Ride and the Easy Ride for Autism.
Fonda was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.