Date of Birth : Oct 22nd 1917

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, Joan Fontaine began her acting career in her late teens with various West Coast stage companies under the name Joan Burfield. She also used that name when she made her 1935 feature film debut in No More Ladies, in which she had a minor role. The daughter of ’40s actress Lilian Fontaine, she returned to the screen as Joan Fontaine after two more years of stage work, although appearing primarily in B-movies. Two exceptions were A Damsel in Distress (1937) opposite Fred Astaire and Gunga Din (1939) with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Her career took off in the early ’40s due largely to leads in two Alfred Hitchcock films. Fontaine received Best Actress Oscar nominations for her work in the director’s Rebecca (1940) and The Constant Nymph (1943), and won an Oscar for her performance in Hitchcock’s Suspicion (1941). She starred in many subsequent films, at first playing innocent, well-bred types, but later maturing into roles as sophisticated, worldly, often hot-headed or maliciously calculating women. Appearing in few films after 1958, Fontaine was also a licensed pilot, champion balloonist, prize-winning tuna fisherman, expert golfer, licensed interior decorator, and Cordon Bleu cook. The sister of actress Olivia de Havilland (with whom she supposedly had many feuds), the first three of Fontaine’s four husbands were actor Brian Aherne, producer William Dozier, and producer/screenwriter Collier Young. She published an autobiography, No Bed of Roses, in 1978 and made two rare TV movie and miniseries appearances in 1986. ~ All Movie Guide


Rebecca ( 1940 )

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