Joan Fontaine

Happy birthday to actress Joan Fontaine, born Oct. 22, 1917 in Tokyo, Japan. She is the younger sister of actress Olivia da Havilland. Born to English parents, Fontaine moved from Japan to California as a child, and following in JoanFontaineher sister’s footsteps, started performing on stage in 1935. That same year, she appeared in her first film, No More Ladies, and continued to have roles in mediocre films throughout the 1930s.  In 1940, she broke through to stardom when she was cast in Hitchcock’s noir classic, Rebecca, for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. The following year, Fontaine won the Oscar for her role in another noir masterpiece by Hitchcock, Suspicion (1941), playing opposite Cary Grant. Her film career thrived throughout the 1940s and early 50’s, and among her many films were several more noir outings: Ivy (1947), Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948), Born to Be Bad (1950), and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956). By the mid-1950s, she started transitioning to television and stage productions, and continued to appear in both until her retirement in 1994. Though she and her sister Olivia were seen together at social functions, incidents of personal friction and rivalry were reported throughout their careers. After their mother died in 1975, they reportedly never spoke to one another again. Fontaine died of natural causes in 2013 at the age of 96.

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