Joan Fontaine

Actor
The younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine was a British actress known for her exceptionally poised performances in a string of popular Hollywood films throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Following ... Read more »
Born: 10/22/1917 in Japan

Filmography

Actor (48)

Crossings 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The Nutcracker 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The Thrill of Genius 1984 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Hollywood: The Selznick Years 1968 - 1969 (TV Show)

Actor

The Witches 1965 (Movie)

(Actor)

Tender Is the Night 1962 (Movie)

Baby Warren (Actor)

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1961 (Movie)

Dr Susan Hiller (Actor)

A Certain Smile 1958 (Movie)

Francoise Ferrance (Actor)

South Pacific 1958 (Movie)

(Actor)

Four Star Playhouse 1952 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Island in the Sun 1957 (Movie)

Mavis (Actor)

On Trial 1956 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Until They Sail 1957 (Movie)

Anne Leslie (Actor)

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt 1956 (Movie)

Susan Spencer (Actor)

Serenade 1956 (Movie)

Kendall Hale (Actor)

Othello 1955 (Movie)

(uncredited) Page (Actor)

Casanova's Big Night 1954 (Movie)

Francesca Bruni (Actor)

Flight to Tangier 1953 (Movie)

Susan (Actor)

The Bigamist 1953 (Movie)

Eve Graham (Actor)

Decameron Nights 1952 (Movie)

Isabella (Actor)

Born to Be Bad 1950 (Movie)

Christabel (Actor)

Letter From an Unknown Woman 1948 (Movie)

Lisa Berndle (Actor)

The Emperor Waltz 1948 (Movie)

Johanna Augusta Franziska (Actor)

Frenchman's Creek 1943 (Movie)

Dona St. Columb (Actor)

Rebecca 1940 (Movie)

Mrs. de Winter (Actor)

Suspicion 1940 (Movie)

Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth (Actor)

Gunga Din 1938 (Movie)

Emmy (Actor)

Man of Conquest 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Women 1938 (Movie)

Peggy Day (Actor)

A Damsel in Distress 1936 (Movie)

Lady Alyce (Actor)

Quality Street 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

Dark Mansions (TV Show)

Actor

From This Day Forward (Movie)

Susan (Actor)

Good King Wenceslas (TV Show)

Actor

Hollywood: The Golden Years (TV Show)

Actor

Ivanhoe (Movie)

Lady Rowena (Actor)

Ivy (Movie)

Ivy Lexton (Actor)

Kiss the Blood off My Hands (Movie)

Jane Wharton (Actor)

Music for Madame (Movie)

Jean Clemens (Actor)

No More Ladies (Movie)

Caroline Rumsey (Actor)

September Affair (Movie)

Manina Stuart (Actor)

Sky Giant (Movie)

Meg (Actor)

Something to Live For (Movie)

Jenny Carey (Actor)

The Affairs of Susan (Movie)

Susan Darell (Actor)

The Constant Nymph (Movie)

Tessa Sanger (Actor)

The Duke of West Point (Movie)

Ann Porter (Actor)

The Users (TV Show)

Actor

This Above All (Movie)

Prudence Cathaway (Actor)

Biography

The younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine was a British actress known for her exceptionally poised performances in a string of popular Hollywood films throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Following well-received appearances in the George Stevens epic-adventure "Gunga Din" (1939) and George Cukor's "The Women" (1939), Fontaine wowed audiences with her performance in Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller ""Rebecca" (1940). The following year, she reteamed with Hitchcock and "Gunga Din" co-star Cary Grant for a starring role in "Suspicion" (1941), which won the actress an Academy Award. Over the next decade, she played romantic leads opposite cinema's greatest male stars in such films as "Jane Eyre" (1943) with Orson Welles and "Ivanhoe" (1952) alongside Robert Taylor. Gradually, Fontaine's career trajectory led her to roles as formidable older woman in projects like "Island in the Sun" (1957) and "Tender is the Night" (1962). Married four times, her husbands included "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) producer-narrator William Dozier, and the reputed sibling rivalry between her and de Havilland kept Hollywood gossips' tongues wagging for decades. In the years after her retirement from film, Fontaine continued to appear in such stage productions as the Broadway comedy "Forty Carats" and went on to earn an Emmy nomination for her guest turn on the soap opera "Ryan's Hope" (ABC, 1975-1989). One of the brightest stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Fontaine was widely remembered as an actress of exceptional talent and a person of tremendous passion. She died at the age of 96 in December 2013.

Relationships

Martita

Daughter
Adopted in Peru 1951

Brian Aherne Actor

Husband
Married Aug. 20, 1939 Divorced June 14, 1945

William Dozier Actor

Husband
Married May 2, 1946 Co-founded Rampart Productions Divorced Jan. 25, 1951

Debbie Dozier Actor

Daughter
Born Nov. 5, 1948; father, William Dozier

Lillian Fontaine Actor

Mother
Born Lilian Augusta Ruse June 11, 1886; divorced Fontaine's father c. 1919; remarried; graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; illustrated Ralph Vaughan Williams' music with him; as a soprano, studied under King's music master Sir Arthur Parrott Died Feb. 20, 1975

George Fontaine

Step-Father

Geoffrey Havilland

Cousin
founder of de Havilland aviation company, a precursor to British Aerospace

Alfred Wright

Husband
Married Jan. 27, 1964 Divorced June 1969

Collier Young Producer

Husband
Married Nov. 12, 1952 Divorced Jan. 3, 1961

Olivia de Havilland Actor

Sister
Born July 1, 1916

Walter de Havilland

Father
Divorced Fontaine's mother c. 1919 De Havilland family listed in De Brett's peerage and Burke's Landed Gentry; related to at least two English kings (Edward II and Henry VIII)

EDUCATION

attended the American school in Tokyo

Los Gatos High School

Los Gatos , California

Notre Dame Convent

Belmont , California

Milestones

2002

Made one-shot return to acting in "Rikki," a feature produced under the auspices of Animal Rights Awareness

1994

Had featured role as the title character's grandmother in the Family Channel TV-movie "Good King Wenceslas"

1986

First TV miniseries, "Crossings" (ABC)

1986

Starred in Aaron Spelling-produced primetime gothic soaper, "Dark Mansions" (ABC); took over when Loretta Young pulled out of project; pilot not picked up by network

1985

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the feature documentary about Alfred Hitchcock, "The Thrill of Genius"

1980

Received daytime Emmy nomination for her cameo on "Ryan's Hope" (ABC)

1978

First TV-movie, "The Users" (ABC)

1978

Published autobiography "No Bed of Roses"

1966

Left film acting after "The Witches"

1961

Hosted and narrated the syndicated TV series "Perspectives on Greatness"

1957

Played sister of Jean Simmons, Sandra Dee and Piper Laurie in Robert Wise's "Until They Sail", starring Paul Newman

1956

Starred opposite Dana Andrews in Fritz Lang's "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"

1954

Performed on Broadway in Robert Anderson's "Tea and Sympathy" with Anthony Perkins

1948

Acted opposite James Stewart in "You Gotta Stay Happy"

1948

Starred opposite Louis Jourdan in Max Ophuls' "Letter From an Unknown Woman"; film made by her company, Rampart Productions

1947

Played change of pace role as a murderess in "Ivy"

1943

Had title role of "Jane Eyre", opposite Orson Welles

1942

Received Oscar nomination as Best Actress for "The Constant Nymph"

1940

Won Best Actress Oscar for "Suspicion" (with Cary Grant), also directed by Hitchcock; at the time, she was the youngest leading lady to ever take home the prize

1940

Achieved star status with her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" (opposite Laurence Olivier); earned first Best Actress Academy Award nomination

1937

As a contract player at RKO, appeared in such films as "A Damsel in Distress" (1937, opposite Fred Astaire) and "Gunga Din" (1939), playing the only femme speaking role

1935

Film debut in "No More Ladies", billed as Joan Burfield

1932

Returned to Japan at age 15, attending the American school of Tokyo; had falling out with father after about a year (date approximate)

1919

Immigrated to the U.S.

Signed to a movie contract after her appearance in "Call It a Day" with Violet Hemming and Conway Tearle; when Hollywood bought the rights to the play, her role went to older sister Olivia de Havilland in the film

Back in California, introduced to May Robson, making her stage debut as the ingenue in "Kind Lady" in support of Robson

Began appearing on TV anthologies in the 1950s

Bonus Trivia

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Fontaine was a pupil of the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, and as a golfer was particularly proud of her hole-in-one shot at California's Cypress Point Club and another at Carmel Valley. A licensed pilot and member of the winning team in an international balloon race over Holland, she was also a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.

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Fontaine underwent hip replacement surgery on March 30, 1998.

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