Home / Actors / Joan Fontaine Biography

Joan Fontaine Biography

Born in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan, actress Joan Fontaine made her movie debut in 1935. She costarred with Orson Welles in Jane Eyre (1944) and Othello (1952). Fontaine released her autobiography in 1978. She had a longstanding feud with her sister, actress Olivia de Havilland, in the early ’40s until her departure, on December 16, 2013, in Carmel, California.

Produced in Tokyo, Japan, on October 22, 1917, celebrity Joan Fontaine was a sickly kid. Her mother, Lilian, moved the family to California when she was young to help enhance her well-being. Her parents split up around this time. Fontaine and her older sister, Olivia (de Havilland), appeared to really have a hard relationship right away, using the pair fighting for his or her mom’s attention and affection. According to some reports, Lillian favored Olivia.

In 1932, Fontaine moved to Japan to live together with her dad. Their reunion proved to be shortlived, nevertheless, and she returned America after in regards to annually. Before long, Fontaine started her performing career, following in the footsteps of her older sister. She apparently examined with Max Reinhardt, just as her sister had done before her.

Utilizing the name Joan Burfield, Joan Fontaine made her movie debut in 1935’s No More Ladies, starring Joan Crawford. She finally chose the last name “Fontaine” after her stepfather. This indicated the first of many occasions in a longstanding feud involving both playing sisters.

Fontaine’s career reached new peaks in 1940 with her starring role in Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock’s version of the most popular Daphne du Maurier novel. She starred opposite Laurence Olivier as the 2nd wife of Mr. de Winter. The next year, Fontaine reteamed with Hitchcock for the thriller Suspicion, costarring with Cary Grant. She received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Rebecca and Suspicion, taking home the gold statue for the best performer for the latter. This triumph became the latest flare up in the feud between Fontaine and de Havilland, who was nominated also, for her part in Hold Back the Dawn.

She went on to costar with Orson Welles in 1944’s timeless romantic story Jane Eyre. The exact same year, Fontaine had another success with Ivanhoe, where she costarred with Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor.

By the ’60s, the once-active Fontaine’s career had started to slow down. She made just a few of movies in her later years, though she played numerous television characters.

Fontaine was married and divorced four times throughout her life: In 1939, she married actor Brian Aherne. The couple divorced in 1945. The next year, she wed producer and performer William Dozier. Dozier and Fontaine had one child together, a daughter named Deborah, before going their different ways in 1951. Following her marriage to Dozier, Fontaine allegedly said, “I believe it is almost impossible for the appropriate guy to be wed to a movie star. Something occurs when he steps off a train and someone says, ‘Step right in this manner, Mr. Fontaine.’ That damages. Any guy with self respect can not take it, and I wouldn’t need to wed the other type.” In 1952, Fontaine wed Collier Young, a writer, as well as their marriage lasted until 1961. Her final union, to journalist Alfred Wright Jr., survived from 1964 to 1969.

Inside, she wrote about her long, troubled relationship with sister Olivia, substantially to Olivia’s dismay. The final straw involving both sibs had apparently come using their mum’s passing several years before, in 1975. The date of the funeral was finally transformed so that Fontaine and her daughter could attend, but the events leading to the funeral would mark the final time that Joan and Olivia would speak to every other.

She was 96 years old.

Joan Fontaine Biography