Afdera Fonda (Franchetti) MP

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Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Preganziol, Veneto, Italy
Managed by: Tina
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Afdera Fonda (Franchetti)

Baroness Afdera Franchetti is an Italian Baroness, descendant of an old Jewish Venice family that intermarried with the Rothschild family and eventually converted to Catholicism. She is best known as the fourth wife of American actor Henry Fonda.

She is the daughter of Baron Raimondo Franchetti, a famous explorer who traveled extensively in Ethiopia, during the 1920s and 1930s, and who was a consultant to Benito Mussolini and an envoy to Ethiopia for Italy's fascist government in the 1930s. Her mother was Sara Louise de Rothschild (1834-1924). Baron Franchetti died in a plane crash in 1935 when Afdera was three years old, and while the Italian government monument in his honor speculates that engine failure was responsible for the fatal crash, in her autobiography, Never Before Noon, Afdera Franchetti alleges he was murdered by a British agent provocateur on the orders of Winston Churchill.

Her brother, the Baron Raimondo Nanuk Franchetti, was a friend of author Ernest Hemingway, who hunted with him in San Gaetano.

Afdera Franchetti was married to Henry Fonda from 1957 to 1961; they met in Italy while he was filming War and Peace with Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer. Franchetti was roughly 23 years old when she married Fonda; his eldest child, Jane, was 18.

She was once arrested for drug smuggling, as detailed in her autobiography, for one "joint," which she brought in her luggage for a friend without knowing that possession of this small amount of marijuana was a serious offence.

Franchetti liked to describe herself as Holly Golightly, the heroine of Truman Capote's novel, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Afdera knew Capote rather well and spent many weekends with him at house parties in Southampton, Long Island.

Franchetti's dismissal of Capote was true to character. She was at a dinner party at the home of Lord Forte in Knightsbridge when one of the guests with the surname Bourbon claimed descendency from the Portuguese royal family. Franchetti brushed aside the claim because she "knew every member of the family and he wasn't one of them." As the young Franchetti was a fixture among aristocratic circles in Europe before her marriage to Henry Fonda, she was very likely correct in this case. As Fonda's wife, Franchetti became familiar with the important people of New York society and Hollywood glamour.

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Afdera Fonda's Timeline

1931
July 8, 1931
Preganziol, Veneto, Italy
1957
March 10, 1957
Age 25
1961
1961
Age 29