Jessica Biel Is 'Forever Grateful' for Working with Peter Fonda on Her First Movie Role

Jessica Biel and Peter Fonda

Jessica Biel is honoring late actor Peter Fonda.

Biel, 37, paid tribute to the star on Instagram after his family confirmed his death after suffering respiratory failure due to lung cancer. He was 79.

“I had the honor working with #PeterFonda on the first movie I ever made (as an angsty teenager with a nose ring),” Biel said of the 1997 film Ulee’s Gold.

“Ulee’s Gold was a huge opportunity and he believed in me. I’m forever grateful for him and the impact he had on me and my career,” the mother of one wrote alongside a throwback photo of the pair.

“I’m sure countless others can say the same. Rest in paradise,” Biel concluded.

Peter won a Golden Globe Award for best actor in a motion picture drama for his role as a widowed beekeeper and Vietnam veteran Ulysses “Ulee” Jackson, who raises his granddaughters because his son is in prison.

Biel’s heartfelt message comes after stars and directors, including Peter’s sister Jane Fonda, shared a flood of tributes to the late actor.

In a statement to PEOPLE on Friday, Jane, 81, called Peter “my sweet-hearted baby brother, the talker of the family,” adding, “I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

Kate Hudson, Ava DuVernay and director Rob Reiner were among those who expressed their condolences on social media.

“My heart goes out to Jane over the loss of her brother,” Reiner tweeted on Friday. “Peter Fonda was a revolutionary filmmaker during a revolutionary time. Born in the house I now live in, his spirit will be missed.”

“Rest In Peace, Kind Sir,” director DuVernay added, alongside a selfie with Peter.

Hudson shared a photo of Peter to her Instagram Story, writing, “Sending love to the Fondas and friends.”

Peter Fonda and Jane Fonda

Peter — who was born in New York City to screen legend Henry Fonda and Frances Ford Seymour — was best known for his starring role as Wyatt in 1969’s Easy Rider, which he also produced and co-scripted.

At the time of his death, he was in pre-production for a movie called Skate God, expected to release in 2020, according to IMDb. The last film he acted in was The Last Full Measure, which is expected to be released later this year.

In a statement to PEOPLE his family said, “While we mourn the loss of this sweet and gracious man, we also wish for all to celebrate his indomitable spirit and love of life. In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom.”

Following the news of his death, actress and The Last Full Measure costar Diane Ladd, who starred alongside Fonda in her first film, Wild Angels in 1966, told PEOPLE: “Peter was a friend, a wonderful actor, and a great humanitarian. He rang a bell for culture. He will indeed be missed.”


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