Joan Fontaine, Film Actress, Dies At Age 96


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Well, it was a rough weekend for classic Hollywood. People tend to say that things happen in 3's, and over the weekend, three members of the Hollywood community died, with Joan Fontaine being the latest to pass away.

Joan Fontaine was an actress who acted during the classic Hollywood period, and had starring roles in multiple Hitchcock films, which earned her recognition at the Academy Awards.

The news of her death was confirmed by Fontaine's assistant, Susan Pfeiffer, stating that she died of natural causes on Sunday at her home in Carmel, California. She was born on October 22, 1917 in Tokyo, Japan.

She was one of the last remaining links to the Golden Age of film in the 1930s' and 1940's, and won a best actress Oscar for her role in Suspicion. She was also nominated for an Oscar for Rebecca, and was seen in several other films including Ivanhoe, Something To Live For, and Letter From An Unknown Woman.

Joan Fontaine has not been seen on the big screen since 1966 in The Witches, but she was in select episodes of several television series and TV movies.

She has been described as having an on-stage presence that could seem radiantly shy, believably insecure, gazing into the middle distance with a hesitancy that drew you immediately to her side.

In addition to Joan Fontaine, Peter O'Toole, known for his role in Lawrence Of Arabia, also passed away over the weekend. Billy Jack star Tom Laughlin died as well. The actors were 81, and 82, respectively.

Throughout her life, she was married and divorced four times, the first being to actor Brian Aheme. She is also the younger sister of Olivia De Havilland, a well-known actress of the same time period, who won Oscars for both The Heiress and To Each His Own.

Both Fontaine and her sister were born in Tokyo, although were brought to California at a young age after their mother removed them due to their father's affair with the Japanese maid.

Throughout their film careers, the sisters remained bitter rivals with one another, and were even nominated against each other in the case when Joan Fontaine won the award for Suspicion. In 1978, she published her autobiography, No Bed of Roses, which detailed also detailed the long-running feud that she had with de Havilland.

In an eventful weekend for classic Hollywood's actors, Joan Fontaine has passed away, and will be remembered as one of the shining stars of her time.

Image via Wikimedia Commons