'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79

Peter Fonda (Photo: AFP)
Peter Fonda (Photo: AFP)

Los Angeles - American actor Peter Fonda, whose starring role in classic road movie Easy Rider made him a symbol of 1960s counterculture, died Friday aged 79 at his Los Angeles home following a battle with lung cancer, his family said.

Fonda was the son of famed Hollywood actor Henry, and the brother of activist and actress Jane, who described him as "my sweet-hearted baby brother" in a statement sent to AFP.

"I am very sad ... I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing," she said.

Fonda co-wrote and produced 1969's Easy Rider, in which he appeared alongside its director Dennis Hopper and a young Jack Nicholson.

The wildly successful film about two bikers travelling through the great outdoors of the American Southwest in a quest for freedom became an anti-establishment cult classic.

It earned Fonda an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and is credited with ushering in an era of counterculture, independent filmmaking.

The image of Fonda with his legs stretched out on his Harley-Davidson chopper painted in the colors of the American flag became emblematic of the era - one of two bikes used in the film sold at auction for $1.35 million in 2014.

Fonda would play anti-hero biker roles many times in his career.

An employee from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce places flowers on Peter Fonda's star on the Walk of Fame on August 16He enjoyed a renaissance almost three decades later when he was nominated for the best actor Oscar for "Ulee's Gold" (1997), but lost out to Nicholson.

Fonda began his career as a stage actor on Broadway in his native New York.

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