Fonda was nominated for an best actor Academy Award for his performance as a beekeeper trying to keep his family together in 1997's "Ulee’s Gold." Biel, who was 15 when the film released, played an "angsty teenager with a nose ring."
"I had the honor of working with #PeterFonda on the first movie I ever made," Biel wrote Saturday on Instagram. "Ulee’s Gold was a huge opportunity and he believed in me. I’m forever grateful for him and the impact he had on me and my career. I’m sure countless others can say the same. Rest in paradise❤️"
Remembering Peter Fonda: 'Easy Rider' star dies at 79; sister Jane Fonda mourns 'baby brother'
Fonda described working on "Ulee's Gold" as the "most fun" he had ever had working on a movie. He wore the same wire-rimmed glasses his father wore in "On Golden Pond," but said he wasn't channeling Henry Fonda in the performance.
He lost out on the Oscar to Nicholson, who won for “As Good as It Gets.” Nicholson said in his acceptance speech that it was an honor to be nominated alongside “my old bike pal Fonda,” referring to his "Easy Rider" co-star.
Contributing: Maria Puente and Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Peter Fonda: Jessica Biel pays tribute to co-star who 'believed in me'