Joan Fontaine

Biography

Date of Birth 22 October 1917, Tokyo, Japan Birth Name Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland Height 5' 3" (1.60 m) Mini Biography Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, in what was known as the International Settlement. Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and older sister Olivia de Havilland's recurring ailments the family moved to California in the hopes of improving their health. Mrs. de Havilland and the two girls settled in Saratoga while their father went back to his practice in Japan. Joan's parents did not get along well and divorced soon afterward. Mrs. de Havilland had a desire to be an actress but her dreams were curtailed when she married, but now she hoped to pass on her dream to Olivia and Joan. While Olivia pursued a stage career, Joan went back to Tokyo, where she attended the American School. In 1934 she came back to California, where her sister was already making a name for herself on the stage. Joan likewise joined a theater group in San Jose and then Los Angeles to try her luck there. After moving to L.A., Joan adopted the name of Joan Burfield because she didn't want to infringe upon Olivia, who was using the family surname. She tested at MGM and gained a small role in No More Ladies (1935), but she was scarcely noticed and Joan was idle for a year and a half. During this time she roomed with Olivia, who was having much more success in films. In 1937, this time calling herself Joan Fontaine, she landed a better role as Trudy Olson in You Can't Beat Love (1937) and then an uncredited part in Quality Street (1937). Although the next two years saw her in better roles, she still yearned for something better. In 1940 she garnered her first Academy Award nomination for Rebecca (1940). Although she thought she should have won, (she lost out to Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman (1940)), she was now an established member of the Hollywood set. She would again be Oscar-nominated for her role as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth in Suspicion (1941), and this time she won. Joan was making one film a year but choosing her roles well. In 1942 she starred in the well-received This Above All (1942). The following year she appeared in The Constant Nymph (1943). Once again she was nominated for the Oscar, she lost out to Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette (1943). By now it was safe to say she was more famous than her older sister and more fine films followed. In 1948, she accepted second billing to Bing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz (1948). Joan took the year of 1949 off before coming back in 1950 with September Affair (1950) and Born to Be Bad (1950). In 1951 she starred in Paramount's Darling, How Could You! (1951), which turned out badly for both her and the studio and more weak productions followed. Absent from the big screen for a while, she took parts in television and dinner theaters. She also starred in many well-produced Broadway plays such as Forty Carats and The Lion in Winter. Her last appearance on the big screen was The Witches (1966) and her final appearance before the cameras was Good King Wenceslas (1994) (TV). She is, without a doubt, a lasting movie icon. IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson Spouse Alfred Wright, Jr. (27 January 1964 - 1969) (divorced) Collier Young (12 November 1952 - 3 January 1961) (divorced) William Dozier (2 May 1946 - 25 January 1951) (divorced) 1 child Brian Aherne (20 August 1939 - 14 June 1945) (divorced) Trivia Younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland Daughter of film and stage actress Lillian Fontaine Joked that the musical comedy A Damsel in Distress (1937) set her career back four years. At the premiere, a woman sitting behind her loudly exclaimed, "Isn't she awful!" during Fontaine's onscreen attempt at dancing. Attended Oak Street School in Saratoga, California. Daughter, with William Dozier, Debbie Dozier (Deborah Leslie Dozier - born 11/5/1948). She is a licensed pilot, champion balloonist, expert rider, prize-winning tuna fisherman, a hole-in-one golfer, Cordon Bleu chef and licensed interior decorator. At the age of three she scored 160 on an infant IQ test. Took her stage name from her step-father, George Fontaine. The only actor or actress to win an acting Oscar in a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She won Best Actress for Hitchcock's 1941 film Suspicion (1941). Became pregnant twice in 1964, at the age of 46, but miscarried both times. First husband Brian Aherne had a friend call her the night before their wedding to tell her he had cold feet and couldn't marry her. Joan told the friend to tell him it was too late to call it off, that he had better be at the altar the next morning to marry her, and he could divorce her afterwards if he wanted. He was there at the altar and they remained married six years, never mentioning this incident to each other. Daughter, Martita, born 3 November 1946, adopted 1952. Ran away in 1963. When Joan found her she was refused contact with the child on the premise that her Peruvian adoption was not valid in the United States. Martita maintained a relationship with her sister Debbie, but never spoke to or saw Joan again. Howard Hughes, who dated her sister Olivia de Havilland for awhile, proposed to Joan many times. She and Olivia de Havilland are the first sisters to win Oscars and the first ones to be Oscar-nominated in the same year. Head of jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1982 When her sister, Olivia de Havilland, was 9 years old, she made a will in which she stated "I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, since she has none". Ex-sister-in-law of Pierre Galante and Marcus Goodrich. Her autobiography No Bed of Roses was published in 1979. Ex-husband William Dozier thought a more appropriate title should have been No Shred of Truth. Relations between Fontaine and her sister Olivia de Havilland were never strong but worsened in 1941, when both were nominated for best actress Oscar. Their mutual dislike and jealousy escalated into an all-out feud after Fontaine won for Suspicion (1941). Despite the fact de Havilland went on to win two Academy Awards of her own, they have remained permanently estranged. In Italy, almost all of her films were dubbed by Lidia Simoneschi. She was occasionally dubbed by Rosetta Calavetta and Renata Marini. She was dubbed once by Micaela Giustiniani in The Women (1939), once by Dina Perbellini and once by Paola Barbara in Suspicion (1941). Vice-President Emeritus of the Episcopal Actors' Guild of America. Worked tirelessly as a nurses' aide during WWII and made numerous appearances at the Hollywood Canteen in support of American troops. She became an American citizen on April 23, 1943. Alfred Hitchcock and George Cukor were her favorite directors. According to an in-depth article on Joan by Rod Labbe in "Classic Images" magazine, Joan was offered the role of Karen Holmes, the Army wife and adulteress, in James Jones' From Here to Eternity (1953) by Columbia after it had purchased the film rights. Joan was subsequently forced to decline the role because, at the time, she was embroiled in a particularly ugly custody battle over daughter Deborah from William Dozier. Leaving California to film extensively in Hawaii would have jeopardized Joan's case. The part went to second choice Deborah Kerr, who earned an Oscar nomination. Joan later replaced Ms. Kerr on Broadway in the original production of "Tea and Sympathy". Her personal favourite film of hers is The Constant Nymph (1943). Allegedly was treated horribly by Laurence Olivier during their time together on the set of Rebecca (1940) as he had campaigned for his then-girlfriend Vivien Leigh to be given the part of Mrs. De Winter. Lost her virginity to Conrad Nagel, at the age of twenty. Personal Quotes Marriage, as an institution, is as dead as the dodo bird. If you keep marrying as I do, you learn everybody's hobby. I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia [sister Olivia de Havilland] did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it! [Before the failure of her first marriage] Too many Hollywood marriages have smashed up because husbands were Mr. Joan Fontaine. That will never happen in our marriage because I am 100% Mrs. Brian Aherne. [on working with Orson Welles on Jane Eyre (1944)] You can not battle an elephant. Orson was such a big man in every way that no one could stand up to him. On the first day at 4 o'clock, he strode in followed by his agent, a dwarf, his valet and a whole entourage. Approaching us, he proclaimed, "All right, everybody turn to page eight." And we did it, though he was not the director. [on Charles Boyer] Charles Boyer remains my favorite leading man. I found him a man of intellect, taste and discernment. He was unselfish, dedicated to his work. Above all, he cared about the quality of the film he was making, and unlike most leading men I have worked with, the single exception being Fred Astaire, his first concern was the film, not himself. [on Olivia de Havilland] We're getting closer together as we get older, but there would be a slight problem of temperament. In fact, it would be bigger than Hiroshima. [on working with director George Cukor on The Women (1939)] I learned about acting from George than anyone else and through just one sentence. He said, "Think and feel and the rest will take care of itself." I hope I'll die on stage at the age at 105, playing Peter Pan.

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Known For
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Rebecca

The Second Mrs. de Winter

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Dr. Susan Hiller

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The Witches

Gwen Mayfield

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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Susan Spencer

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The Bigamist

Eve Graham

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Kiss the Blood Off My Hands

Jane Wharton

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Kaiserwalzer

Johanna Augusta Franziska

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Cassanova's Big Night

Francesca Bruni

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Born to Be Bad

Christabel

Starring In
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My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock

Self (archive footage)

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78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene

Lina McLaidlaw (archive footage)

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Magician: Astonishing Life & Work Of Orson Welles

Jane Eyre (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Off the Menu - The Last Days of Chasen's

Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Celluloid Closet

Second Mrs. De Winter (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Dark Mansions

Margaret Drake

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The Nutcracker

Herself (host of television broadcast only)

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George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Portrait eines Produzenten - David O. Selznick in Hollywood

Herself (uncredited)

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The Witches

Gwen Mayfield

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Tender Is the Night

Baby Warren

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Dr. Susan Hiller

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A Certain Smile

Françoise Ferrand

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Island in the Sun

Mavis Norman

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Until They Sail

Anne Leslie

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Serenade

Kendall Hale

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Susan Spencer

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Cassanova's Big Night

Francesca Bruni

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The Bigamist

Eve Graham

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Flight to Tangier

Susan Lane

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Ivanhoe

Rowena

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Something to Live For

Jenny Carey

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Othello

Page (uncredited)

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Cariño, Por qué lo Hiciste?

Alice Grey

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Born to Be Bad

Christabel

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September Affair

Marianne 'Manina' Stuart

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Letter from an Unknown Woman

Lisa Berndle

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Kaiserwalzer

Johanna Augusta Franziska

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You Gotta Stay Happy

Dee Dee Dillwood

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Kiss the Blood Off My Hands

Jane Wharton

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From This Day Forward

Susan

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The Affairs of Susan

Susan Darell

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Frenchman's Creek

Dona St. Columb

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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

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The Constant Nymph

Tessa Sanger

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This Above all

Prudence Cathaway

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Breakdowns of 1942

Self (uncredited)

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Suspicion

Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth

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Rebecca

The Second Mrs. de Winter

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The Women

Mrs. John Day - Peggy

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Gunga Din

Emaline 'Emmy' Stebbins

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Man of Conquest

Eliza Allen

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The Duke of West Point

Ann Porter

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Sky Giant

Meg Lawrence

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Blond Cheat

Julie Evans

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Maid's Night Out

Sheila Harrison

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A Million to One

Joan Stevens

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A Damsel in Distress

Lady Alyce Marshmorton

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The Man Who Found Himself

Doris King

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Music for Madame

Jean Clemens

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Quality Street

Charlotte Parratt (uncredited)

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You Can't Beat Love

Trudy Olson

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