During the production of the 1981 film On Golden Pond, tensions arose between two of its stars, Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. Hepburn, who played Fonda’s on-screen mother, apparently never warmed up to her co-star, and even went so far as to tell her to her face that she didn’t like her. Fonda has since revealed that this was a devastating blow, comparing it to being told by God that she was worthless.
Things didn’t get much better on set, as Hepburn continued to criticize Fonda’s lack of glamour and awareness, telling her that she never could have made it as an actress in Hepburn’s heyday. Fonda, who was in her 40s at the time, tried to be respectful of Hepburn’s seniority, but it was clear that the two women would never be close.
Despite their rocky relationship, Fonda did call Hepburn to congratulate her when she won her fourth Oscar for her role in the film. However, Hepburn’s response was less than gracious, telling Fonda that she would never be able to catch up to her in terms of awards and recognition.
Although Hepburn’s competitive nature may have posed challenges for her fellow actors, Fonda acknowledges that it served as a valuable lesson in terms of self-presentation. This experience taught her the importance of being mindful of how she presents herself to others, both in her personal and professional life. Ultimately, it appears that even tumultuous working relationships can result in personal growth and development.