During an onstage interview with Miss Coco Peru at L.A.’s Gay & Lesbian Center‘s Renberg Theatre April 20, Fonda discussed her illustrious career before a mostly LGBT audience. After she gave a big shout-out to her pal, Nine to Five costar Lily Tomlin and Tomlin’s longtime partner Jane Wagner for getting her involved with the Center, Fonda then shared memories of working alongside Milk on the Briggs Initiative, which banned gays and lesbians and basically anyone who supported them from working in California’s public schools.
Fonda said the two were friends and when he asked for her help, she agreed to go to San Francisco to fight the discriminatory initiative, which was defeated in November 1978.
“He was the most wonderful, lovable, huge, generous heart and spirit,” Fonda recalled. “He was a big lug.”
The two-time Academy Award-winning actress also commended fellow double Oscar-winner Sean Penn for his convincing portrayal in the 2008 film bio.
In addition, the longtime LGBT ally has donated a rare photo of herself arm-in-arm with Milk (shown above). It was taken at by photographer Roger Ressmeyer at a political rally opposing the Briggs Initiative in 1978 and is currently being auctioned with the proceeds going to the non-profit Center. The auction is now open on CharityBuzz through May 22 (that’s Harvey Milk Day, mind you). Fonda has graciously offered to autograph it personally to the winning bidder.
Ressmeyer shared his memory of snapping the photo of the two at the rally.
“As a young photographer working for Time/Life magazines, it was awe-inspiring to meet with Jane Fonda and take this and other photos at one of her appearances to help make the world a better place,” he said. “I was friends with Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk, and simply thrilled to capture this rare moment on film.”