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Joan Fontaine dies at 96

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Dec 15, 2013 | 7:40pm EST

Oscar winner Joan Fontaine has passed away at the age of 96. The veteran actress died of natural causes on Sunday (15Dec13) at her home in Carmel, California, her assistant confirms to The Hollywood Reporter. Fontaine rose to fame in the 1940s thanks to acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in films such as Rebecca, for which she earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination playing Laurence Olivier's wife. Fontaine continued her streak of good luck in another acclaimed Hitchcock film, Suspicion, opposite Cary Grant. Thanks to the role, she claimed an Academy Award in 1942. She famously won the illustrious prize over her older sister and longtime rival, Olivia de Havilland, who went on to win two Oscars of her own in subsequent years. The siblings eventually fell out in the 1970s, and de Havilland, who is currently living in Paris, France, has yet to comment on her sister's death. Fontaine earned her third Oscar nomination for her role in 1943's The Constant Nymph, and also appeared in classics including September Affair, Ivanhoe, Island in the Sun and Jane Eyre. The versatile actress even tackled Broadway in 1954, acting opposite Anthony Perkins in the play Tea and Sympathy. She later made a move into TV, and guest starred on U.S. series such as game show To Tell the Truth and soap opera Ryan's Hope, which earned her an Emmy nomination in 1980. Fontaine's last credit was TV movie Good King Wenceslas in 1994. She was married and divorced four times, and is survived by two daughters.

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