Tom Hayden, prominent social activist, politician dead at 76

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Veteran social activist and politician Tom Hayden, a stalwart of America's New Left who served 18 years in California's state legislature and gained a dash of Hollywood glamour by marrying actress Jane Fonda, has died aged 76, according to media reports.

Hayden died in Santa Monica, California, after a long illness, The Los Angeles Times reported on its website.

SEE ALSO: Trump lands first major paper endorsement

"A political giant and dear friend has passed," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote on Twitter, adding "Tom Hayden fought harder for what he believed than just about anyone I have known."

RELATED: Tom Hayden

Hayden, who forged his political activism as a founding member of Students for a Democratic Society, which stood at the core of the 1960s anti-war and civil rights movements, was principal author of the group's revolutionary manifesto, the Port Huron Statement.

RELATED: See prominent people who have passed away in 2016

16 PHOTOS
Notable people we lost in 2016
See Gallery
Notable people we lost in 2016

January 4 -- Robert Stigwood, manager of the Bee Gees and Cream.

(Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

January 4 -- Country singer Craig Strickland was found dead at age 29 from hypothermia.

(Photo via Instagram)

January 6 -- Pat Harrington, Jr., actor in 'One Day at a Time,' died at 86 from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

January 14 -- Actor Alan Rickman, popular for playing Professor Snape in the 'Harry Potter' films, died at 69 after battling cancer.

(Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)

January 18 -- Glenn Frey, founding member of The Eagles, died at age 67 due to complications from multiple ailments.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

February 2 -- Jibri Bryan, #34, of the Mercer Bears was killed in a shooting at age 23.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

February 4 -- Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died from the effects of Parkinson's disease at age 74.

(Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

February 4 -- Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, the sixth person to walk on the moon, passed away at 85 under hospice care.

(Photo via NASA)

March 9 -- Beatles producer Sir George Martin passed away at age 90, as announced by Ringo Starr on Twitter.

(Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

March 16 -- Singer Frank Sinatra Jr.

(Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

March 29 -- Oscar winning actress Patty Duke, at the age of 69.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) 
Actor Tommy Ford passed on October 12, he was 52 years old. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images)

Agnes Nixon the creator of 'All my children' left us on September 28th at the age of 93.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Darrell Ward the star of 'Ice Road Truckers' life was taken in a plane crash, he was 52 years old. 
Popular voice actor Jack Riley passed on August 19th. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The University of Michigan student ventured into the Deep South, where he joined voter registration campaigns and was arrested and beaten while taking part in the "freedom rider" protests against racial segregation.

Hayden, however, became perhaps best known as one of the "Chicago Eight" activists tried on conspiracy and incitement charges following protests at the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was ultimately acquitted of all charges.

A New York Times book review of his 1988 memoir, "Reunion," one of more than 20 books published under his name, called Hayden "the single greatest figure of the 1960s student movement."

Outliving contemporaries Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton, Hayden remained active in left-wing politics well into the 21st century, posting on Twitter just a week ago.

Winning election himself to the California state Assembly in 1982, and then the state Senate a decade later, Hayden went on to serve a total of 18 years.

RELATED: See iconic photos from the Vietnam War

23 PHOTOS
Vietnam War photos
See Gallery
Vietnam War photos
A US soldier from the Third Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, mans a gun turret on tank along Route 13, Vietnam, 1967. (Photo Co Rentmeester/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
View from the gun turret of a tank as US troops and vehicles from the Third Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, drive along Route 13, Vietnam, 1967. (Photo Co Rentmeester/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
As part of Operation 'Cedar Falls,' armored personnel carriers (called ¿Zippo Tracks¿) from the 1st squadron 4th Cavalry burn field in the so-called 'Iron Triangle' region, Vietname, January 1967. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
American TV news correspondent Mike Wallace of CBS News reports from a trench during the Vietnam War, 1967. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
VIET NAM - 1967: American UH-1 Huey helicopter lifting off as personnel on the ground protect themselves from propeller wash somewhere in Vietnam. (Photo by Larry Burrows/Time Magazine/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
U. S. soldiers of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry on Zippo Tracks armored personnel carriers incinerating Iron Triangle area during Operation Cedar Falls. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
U. S. soldiers of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry on Zippo Tracks armored personnel carriers incinerating Iron Triange area during Operation Cedar Falls. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
U. S. soldiers of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry on Zippo Tracks armored personnel carriers incinerating Iron Triangle area during Operation Cedar Falls. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
U. S. soldiers of 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry on Zippo Tracks armored personnel carriers incinerating Iron Triange area during Operation Cedar Falls. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Peace demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War around the Washington Monument. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Peace demonstrators sitting in protest to the Vietnam War w. military police in riot gear standing by. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
US Marine teaching Vietnamese villager how to spin-cast. (Photo by Co Rentmeester/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US Navy Corpsman Robert Miller examining girl in village of Hao Hiep. (Photo by Co Rentmeester/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US Marines meeting with village chief to discuss problems of village security. (Photo by Co Rentmeester/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US Marine with S. Vietnamese Soldier checking ID of man in village of Hoa Hiep. (Photo by Co Rentmeester/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
2nd March 1966: Viet Cong guerillas patrolling a water zone during the Vietnam War. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson (CR) attending meeting on the Vietnam War. (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US Nazi Party ldr., George Lincoln Rockwell, speaking at podium embellished w. swastika w. henchman, & his future alleged assassin, John Patler standing beside him during speech supporting Vietnam War. AT MALL (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US Army Captain Peter Dawkins, during tour of duty in Vietnam, working as advisor to an Vietnamese Airborne Battalion, 1966. (Photo by Charles Bonnay/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - NOVEMBER 11: Visitors leave flowers at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. for Veterans Day on November 11, 2014. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - NOVEMBER 11: Visitors leave flowers at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. for Veterans Day on November 11, 2014. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - NOVEMBER 11: United States Park Police Honor Guard stands in front of the Vietnam War Memorial during the Veterans Day Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 11, 2014. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Later he became director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center, a nonprofit left-wing think tank devoted mainly to analysis of continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, drug policy and global poverty.

Hayden was married to actress Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990, with whom he had two children. Midway through their marriage, the couple graced the cover of People Magazine.

In later years his writings were published in national publications including The New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Denver Post. He served on the editorial board and was a columnist for The Nation magazine, and was the author of more than 20 books.

Tributes poured in on social media, including from actress Martha Plimpton, who wrote on Twitter: "Rest in peace, Tom Hayden. And thank you. Love to all who knew & worked w him. Esp his family, and @Janefonda. He was a good man."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners