by Leona

Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergan and Mary Steenburgen. When combined together, their years of being in the movie industry have exceeded 100 years. That’s the depth of talent of these exceptional group of women. In Book Club, they play lifelong friends who, after reading Fifty Shades of Grey in their monthly book club, make life-changing decisions in their life.

We now know Keaton, Fonda, Bergan and Steenburgen as established actresses, but before they are the esteemed thespians they are now, let’s look back at where they started.

Jane Fonda

Fonda’s talent runs deep. She’s a two-time Academy Award winner (having being nominated for seven times) for the movies for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978) and a two-time BAFTA winner. Her father is Henry Fonda, an acclaimed actor himself, and that rubbed off on the young Jane, who got interested in acting when she was 17. She got her start in stage productions in the 1850s, which laid the foundations for her film acting career in the 60s. Her very first movie is called Tall Story in 1960, and her career reached a breakthrough with Cat Ballou (1965), in which she played a schoolmarm turned outlaw.

But she gained worldwide stardom when she played the title role in the science fiction spoof Barbarella (1968), which gave her a sex symbol status.

Since then, she hasn’t stopped acting since, and even started a second career as an exercise maven, producing and starring in exercise videos. Although she attempted a retirement in the 1990s, she couldn’t stay away from the screen and made a return in 2005 in Monster-in-Law opposite Jennifer Lopez. To date, Fonda has appeared in 47 TV series and movies and shows no signs of slowing down.

Did you know: Jane Fonda and her father were the first father-daughter pair to be Oscar-nominated the same year for On Golden Pond.

Diane Keaton

Like Fonda, Keaton started her career in stage and moved to films in 1970. Her very first role is in the film Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), while her major role was in 1972's The Godfather, where she played Kay Adams-Corleone, wife of Al Pacino's Michael.

The Godfather

It was her long-time collaboration with co-star and director Woody Allen that bore the most fruits. They worked on films such as Play It Again, Sam in 1972, Sleeper (1973) and Love and Death (1975), before Annie Hall, where Keaton won an Academy Award for Best Actress.

To avoid being typecast after Annie Hall, Keaton accepted diverse roles and received Academy Award nominations for Reds (1981), Marvin's Room (1996) and Something's Gotta Give (2003). With her later movies, she’s taken on a more comedic turn and she’s really thrived with this genre.

Did you know: Diane Keaton’s real name is Diane Hall, and Woody Allen’s 1977 Annie Hall is written for and named after her.

Candice Bergen

It’s hard to mention Candice Bergan without associating it with Murphy Brown, an investigative journalist, a role she played for a decade. Unlike the two above, Bergan started her career as a fashion model, posting for the likes of Vogue, miles apart from hard-nosed journalist Murphy Brown, which earned her five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards throughout the ten-year run.

She made the switch from modelling to acting in the 1966 The Group, followed by a string of other movies, including Gandhi (1982), in which she played Documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White, and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. But it was the role of Murphy Brown that showcased her acting and comedic talent.

Did you know: Candice Bergan is the first female host of Saturday Night Live.

Mary Steenburgen

The youngest of the four, Steenburgen may not be a familiar name as the other three but she is no less talented. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role of Lynda Dummar in the 1980 film Melvin and Howard, which is only her third role. Her first movie role was in 1978, in the 1978 Western Goin’ South, and she’s since added a lengthy list of acting credits under her belt.

Apart from that, Steenburgen also dabbled in singing and songwriting, and is signed to Universal Music as a songwriter.

Last Vegas

In fact, in the 2101 movie Last Vegas, Steenburgen plays a lounge singer and even performs one of her original compositions on screen.

Did you know: Steenburgen was discovered by Jack Nicholson in the reception room of Paramount's New York office, and was cast as the female lead in his movie, Goin' South.

In Book Club, Adding to these fine company of women is the supporting cast of Alicia Silverstone, Don Johnson, Andy Garcia, Richard Dreyfuss and more.