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Joan Fontaine

Joan FontaineAKA Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland

Born: 22-Oct-1917
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: 15-Dec-2013
Location of death: Carmel, CA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Suspicion

Joan Fontaine was a movie star of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. She was the younger sister of Olivia de Havilland. Their mother had wanted to be an actress, but instead instilled that desire in her daughters. De Havilland became an actress first, and when Fontaine broke into film their mother reportedly demanded that she go by some other name than de Havilland. Fontaine first called herself Joan Burfield, before settling on her stepfather's name, Fontaine, as her stage name. The two sisters never appeared together in the same film.

Fontaine spent the early part of her career in her sister's shadow, but eventually eclipsed her stardom. The two stars, both rather high-strung and easily offended, feuded for decades after both were Oscar-nominated in 1942. De Havilland lost the award for Hold Back the Dawn, while Fontaine won for Suspicion. According to reports at the time, when de Havilland tried to congratulate her sister on winning, Fontaine turned away.

Fontaine starred in numerous well-remembered films, including Letter from an Unknown Woman with Louis Jourdan, Jane Eyre with Orson Welles, and Ivy with Patric Knowles. She remained a high-profile star until reaching middle age, when she was no longer offered interesting parts. She turned to television, making many appearances on live plays and anthology series, and she had brief success on Broadway when she replaced Deborah Kerr in the lead of Tea and Sympathy with Anthony Perkins.

Fontaine and her sister were at odds most of their lives, over perceived slights to their husbands, snide comments reported in the media, or memories of Joan having to wear Olivia's hand-me-downs in adolescence. Their battles reportedly reached a crescendo after their mother's death in 1975, when Joan said she was not invited to the memorial service, and Olivia said Joan simply refused to attend. In the decades since, the two sisters reportedly never spoke to each other.

Fontaine was married and divorced four times, and she said that her mother, Lillian de Havilland, was the best friend she ever had. In retirement, Fontaine tended her garden and did not answer fan mail. At her death in 2013, she was reportedly not on speaking terms with her two daughters, because they were on speaking terms with their Aunt Olivia.

Father: Walter Augustus de Havilland (British patent attorney, b. 1872, d. 1968)
Mother: Lillian Ruse Fontaine (actress, b. 1886, d. 1975, cancer)
Father: George Fontaine (stepfather, department store manager)
Sister: Olivia de Havilland (actress)
Husband: Brian Aherne (actor, b. 1902, m. 20-Aug-1939, div. 1945, d. 1986 heart attack)
Husband: William Dozier (producer, b. 1908, m. 2-May-1946, div. 1951, d. 1991, one daughter)
Daughter: Deborah Leslie Dozier (actress, b. 5-Nov-1948)
Husband: Collier Young (producer, b. 1908, m. Nov-1952, div. 1961, d. 1980 car accident)
Daughter: Martita Pareja Calderon (adopted with Young)
Husband: Alfred Wright, Jr. (sports journalist, m. Jan-1964, div. 1969)

    High School: The American School, Japan

    RKO Radio Pictures under contract
    Oscar for Best Actress 1940 for Suspicion
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 1645 Vine Street
    Endorsement of Smirnoff Vodka 1960

    The Users (1-Oct-1978)
    The Witches (9-Dec-1966) · Gwen Mayfield
    Tender Is the Night (19-Jan-1962)
    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (12-Jul-1961)
    A Certain Smile (31-Jul-1958)
    Until They Sail (8-Oct-1957) · Anne Leslie
    Island in the Sun (12-Jun-1957)
    Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (5-Sep-1956) · Susan Spencer
    Serenade (23-Mar-1956) · Kendall Hale
    Casanova's Big Night (12-Apr-1954)
    The Bigamist (3-Dec-1953) · Eve Graham
    Flight to Tangier (21-Nov-1953) · Susan
    Decameron Nights (16-Nov-1953)
    Ivanhoe (31-Jul-1952) · Rowena
    Something to Live For (7-Mar-1952)
    Darling, How Could You! (8-Aug-1951) · Alice Grey
    Born to be Bad (27-Aug-1950) · Christabel
    September Affair (25-Aug-1950) · Manina Stuart
    You Gotta Stay Happy (28-Oct-1948)
    Letter from an Unknown Woman (13-Sep-1948) · Lisa Berndle
    The Emperor Waltz (30-Apr-1948) · Johanna Augusta Franziska
    Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (30-Oct-1947)
    Ivy (26-Jun-1947)
    From This Day Forward (2-Mar-1946)
    The Affairs of Susan (28-Mar-1945)
    Frenchman's Creek (20-Sep-1944)
    Jane Eyre (7-Apr-1944) · Jane Eyre
    The Constant Nymph (23-Jun-1943) · Tessa Sanger
    This Above All (12-May-1942)
    Suspicion (14-Nov-1941) · Lina
    Rebecca (27-Mar-1940) · Mrs. de Winter
    The Women (1-Sep-1939) · Mrs. John Day
    Man of Conquest (28-Apr-1939)
    Gunga Din (24-Jan-1939) · Emmmy
    The Duke of West Point (15-Dec-1938)
    Sky Giant (19-Jul-1938) · Meg
    Blond Cheat (17-Jun-1938) · Juliette Evans
    Maid's Night Out (4-Mar-1938) · Sheila Harrison
    A Damsel in Distress (19-Nov-1937) · Lady Alyce Marshmorton
    Music for Madame (8-Oct-1937)
    You Can't Beat Love (25-Jun-1937) · Trudy Olson
    The Man Who Found Himself (2-Apr-1937) · Doris King
    A Million to One (3-Mar-1937)
    No More Ladies (14-Jun-1935) · Caroline

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