ByEszter Simor, writer at
Eszter Simor

It was a sad weekend for cinema: the legendary actress Joan Fontaine passed away on Saturday. She was an Oscar-winning performer and one of the famous "Hitchcock blonde" stars.

As Deadline reports, Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland was born in Tokyo in 1917, to British parents. The highly acclaimed actress lived a long life; she was 96 years old.

started her career with RKO in films like The Man Who Found Himself and A Damsel in Distress opposite , and 's The Women. However, her real stardom started when she began working together with the master of suspense. She delivered her most memorable performance in 's haunted house classic (and American debut), Rebecca, where the ghostly presence of the deceased ex-wife of her husband (), bittered the relationship of the newly-weds. (It is the one Alfred Hitchcock movie that did win a best picture Oscar, but no best director.) The actress was reunited with Hitchcock in the next year for another thriller. Suspicion won her the Best Actress Academy Award (she was also nominated for the Oscar in the same category for Rebecca in 1940 and for The Constant Nymph in 1943.)

She also collaborated with other legends: she played opposite in 's Jane Eyre and in ' melodrama, the Letter From An Unknown Woman. She played in her last, but equally memorable big screen role as the protagonist of the 1966 British Hammer horror The Witches. Afterwards, she turned to television (she re-teamed with Hitchcock, appearing in the season one episode Paragon of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour). She was also nominated for an Emmy Award in 1980 for her guest-starring in Ryan’s Hope.

As Indiewire reports, Fontaine was also known for her lifelong family battle with her sister , because the actress felt her mother preferred her older sister instead of her. She was not allowed to use the family's name de Havilland, when she followed in her sister's footsteps in becoming an actress. Their bitter rivalry reached its peak when Fontaine famously won the Oscar over de Havilland in 1942 for Suspicion. However, according to the site, the pair are the only siblings in movie history to win Oscars for leading performances.

According to THR, off the screen Fontaine was a licensed pilot, an accomplished interior decorator and a Cordon Bleu-level chef who was married and divorced four times.

(source: Deadline, Indiewire and THR)

What is your favourite film with Joan Fontaine?


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