In video released Wednesday (1 May), Jane Fonda reflects warmly on her friendship with slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
Fonda, speaking at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Conversations With Coco event, worked with Milk in 1978 to fight the Briggs Initiative, a ballot measure seeking to ban gay teachers in California.
‘We were friends,’ Fonda told drag performer Coco Peru. ‘He was the most wonderful, loveable.’
She added that Milk had a ‘huge generous heart (and) spirit.’
Fonda, then at the peak of her power as a movie star and political activist, was one of the few celebrities to step forward to fight the initiative which would have not only banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools, but also possibly anyone who supported gay rights.
‘He asked me to come up and work with him,’ said Fonda who that year won the second of her two Academy Awards for best actress for her performance in Coming Home.
The Briggs Initiative was defeated in early November 1978 but later that month, Milk was murdered by fellow San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Dan White.
‘It was a big loss,’ Fonda told Peru.
Milk’s story was told in a feature film that won Oscars for screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and for actor Sean Penn who, Fonda said, ‘nailed him – that whole spirit.’
Fonda’s appearance, which took place before a sold out audience on 20 April, was a fundraiser for The Center. She has agreed to try and raise more funds by auctioning of an extremely rare picture of her with Milk (only 2 exist).
The auction ends on Harvey Milk Day on 22 May. https://www.charitybuzz.com/