Details were still sketchy, but Hayden was being remembered as not only a state politician and the intellectual leader of liberals protesting the Vietnam war in the 1960s, he was also tinged with some Hollywood glamour for his marriage to fellow anti-war activist Jane Fonda.
Hayden was the lead author of the 1962 student “manifesto” that argued against the war and a founder in the early 1960s of the radical left Students for a Democratic Society. His activism led to involvement in violent demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, and he was then prosecuted by the Nixon Justice Department as one of the “Chicago 7.”
He then was hired to teach a political science course at Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood. Despite the name, an inaccurate report by the then-national wire service UPI characterized the campus, which closed in the early 1980s, as being a Catholic girls’ school. It was neither Catholic nor only for girls by then, but Dr. Mary Jean Pew, the academic dean who hired Hayden, began receiving hate mail from across the nation from war supporters and outraged Catholics.
Hayden was also one of many informal advisers to then-Secretary of State Jerry Brown before Brown ran successfully for governor the first time in 1974.
During his marriage to actress Fonda, the couple together worked against the Vietnam war and also on behalf of numerous other liberal causes.
He was a prolific author of books focusing on political and government issues viewed from the left, but he failed to win races for California governor, U.S. Senate and Los Angeles mayor. He did win an Assembly seat in 1982 from the Santa Monica area. He served 18 years in the Assembly and State Senate.
“He was the radical inside the system,” top Hayden adviser Duane Peterson told the Los Angeles Times.
The Times also cited a photograph from the late 1970s showing Hayden looking at his 22,000 page FBI file stacked about 5 feet high. FBI agents urged he be placed on something called a “Rabble Rouser Index” due to his abilities as a speaker, his appeal to intellectuals and his work in support of “the Negro.”
Fonda and Hayden divorced in 1989 after their 1973 marriage, but in her 2005 autobiography she explained the attraction. “I wanted a man in my life I could love, but it had to be someone who could inspire me, teach me, lead me, not be afraid of me. Who better than Tom Hayden?”
Hayden had a tough relationship with his father who rejected his son’s activism. They didn’t speak for 13 years, according to the Times.
The paper said Hayden is survived by his wife, Barbara Williams, an actress and singer, their adopted son, Liam, Troy Garity, a son from his marriage with Fonda, and Hayden’s sister, Mary Hayden Frey. He is also survived by stepdaughter Vanessa Vadim and her two children.
There was no immediate word of services.
— Staff and wire reports
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