'Easy Rider' Actress Says Peter Fonda Was the "Ultimate Movie Star"

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Toni Basil and Fonda in 1969's 'Easy Rider.'

"As much turmoil as he had in his younger years, it gave him insight into the business that enabled him to have a big picture of the whole Hollywood scene," remembers Toni Basil.

He was so sweet, so laid-back, so drop-dead beautiful. He was this ultimate movie star — he didn't act like it, but he looked like it. He had such a gentle nature. You didn't get this crazy ambitious feel from him, which is maybe part of the reason people didn't know him for being as extraordinary as he was.

He was very generous and very helpful [on the set]. He was very interested in what people were doing. "What is your life like? How are you doing?" And he totally understood Dennis [Hopper]. He knew what to expect. They were just a great match.

When you grow up in that kind of mega family you have a different approach to the business. As much turmoil as he had in his younger years, it gave him insight into the business that enabled him to have a big picture of the whole Hollywood scene. It meant something different to him. He had seen people come and go. He took a different journey than any of us. 

This story first appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.