Monday, 16 December 2013

OBIT - JOAN FONTAINE


Born into a British family in Japan, 1917, actor Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland was raised in California with her sister Olivia. Both went on to become Oscar-winners, and famously feuded. Her star rose rapidly in the late 1930s after she changed her screen name to Joan Fontaine, and she was one of Hollywood's most beloved by the early '40s. She starred in the lead role in Alfred Hitchcock's only Best Picture Oscar winner, Rebecca, in which she acted Laurence Olivier clean off the screen, and the next year became the only person to ever win an Oscar for starring in a Hitchcock feature, in Suspicion. She and Olivia remain to this day the only siblings to have won Oscars in lead acting categories, and she and Harry Belafonte shared the first interracial on-screen kiss in 1957's Island in the Sun. Married and divorced four times, she had one biological daughter, and an estranged adopted daughter. Her final film appearance was in 1966's Hammer horror film The Witches, having seen a decline in her popularity through the '50s and '60s. She died of natural causes at home, aged 96, yesterday (the 15th of December 2013).