Jane Fonda says Michael Jackson visited the set because he was eager to get close to costar Katharine Hepburn

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
October 14, 2015 05:15 PM
Chris Walter/WireImage

Leave it to Jane Fonda and Michael Jackson to do something truly off the wall.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning actress reveals that she got close to the King of Pop while she filmed On Golden Pond in the early ’80s – and the pair indulged in a little swimming in the buff.

“[He] came and stayed for 10 days,” she told THR in a new interview filmed in front of a student audience at the Loyola Marymount University School of Film & TV. “We lived together. I went skinny-dipping with him – also, by the way, with Greta Garbo.”

(The skinny-dipping revelation comes just months after Russell Crowe said that a giddy Jackson would prank-call him in the years before his death in 2009.)

Fonda, 77, says Jackson was eager to join her on the set of the Oscar-winning film, which costarred Katharine Hepburn and real-life dad Henry Fonda, even if Hepburn was initially less than eager to embrace the musician.

“When I first asked her permission, she was not happy,” Fonda recalls. But it was On Golden Pond‘s production crew who ultimately convinced her otherwise. ” ‘You don’t understand. It’s Michael Jackson,’ ” Fonda recounted the crew as saying.

The two-time Oscar winner – whose latest movie, Youth, opens Dec. 4 – said Jackson was eager to be a fly on the wall on the On Golden Pond set and learn from Hepburn, who was one of his heroes.

“She accepted him; he wanted to be a movie star,” Fonda said. “He had just finished doing The Wiz. And he had a tape recorder with him, and every day I would bring him to the set, and in between scenes she would sit down in a chair and pull over a chair for him and tell him stories.”

“Every story embedded a lesson,” Fonda continued. “For example, she talked about Laurette Taylor – and anyone who was alive to see Laurette Taylor in Glass Menagerie has seen as great a moment of acting as [there is]. So she described to Michael seeing this transcendent piece of acting [and how] she then saw her 25 or 30 years later playing the same role, [and] the magic was gone. And she said to Michael, ‘She wasn’t hungry anymore.’ What a great thing to say to a young, rising star like Michael: ‘You gotta stay hungry.’ ”

It’s a lesson that resonated for Fonda as well. When asked whether she’s still hungry she replied “Oh, you have no idea.”