Peter Fonda, who died on Friday aged 79 of respiratory failure, following a battle with lung cancer, hated his early movies, Tammy and the Doctor and The Young Lovers.

The actor never made a secret of the fact that he was uncomfortable with the pretty, clean-cut image and wholesome schtick of those films. He made his Hollywood debut as the romantic lead, playing alongside teen star Sandra Dee as Tammy Tyree in 1963's Tammy and the Doctor.

The following year Fonda starred in The Young Lovers, with Nick Adams and Sharon Hugueny, the only film to be directed by its legendary producer, Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.

A chance meeting with B-movie producer Roger Corman led to a firm friendship and Fonda's role in the director's Hells Angels movie, 1966's The Wild Angels, which also starred Nancy Sinatra.

Those early years are recalled vividly in the actor's 1998 autobiography, Don't Tell Dad, whose title refers to the stormy relationship between Peter and his famous actor father, Henry.

In the late 1990s, Fonda talked to Rolling Stone about his father, a man of an entirely different mould, public at least, more old-style American male. "I was an asshole," the younger Fonda admitted, "rebelling, acting out."

Easy Rider, which appeared in 1969, directed by and starring the late Dennis Hopper, was the film which turned Fonda into an edgy, charismatic hero of the counterculture. The film cost $360,000 to make, and made an initial profit at least of $60,000 (€54,000). 

Fonda later played parody roles of his Easy Rider character with cameos in Cannonball Run, released in 1981, and the road comedy Wild Hogs, 2007.

Tributes have been paid to Peter Fonda by a host of directors and actors.