“Forgotten Hollywood”- Golden Age Loses Second A-List Star!

Posted on December 16, 2013 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   The last 48-hours has been devastating for audiences of classic cinema. On the heels of the passing of Peter O’Toole, we have additionally lost Oscar-winning star Joan Fontaine (below). She was also the sister of Olivia de Havilland. In fact, they are the only siblings to have won lead acting Academy Awards. In Hollywood circles, Fontaine was a favorite of many directors — Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, Billy Wilder, Nicholas Ray, and Fritz Lang.

Joan_Fontaine_in_Born_To_Be_Bad_trailer_2   In 1940, she earned an Oscar nod for her performance in Rebecca. The next year, Fontaine won the Best Actress Academy Award for Suspicion, making Joan the singular actress to ever win the statuette in a movie directed by Hitchcock. For the filmmaker, she became a prototype of cool blondes played by Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief and Rear Window; Kim Novak in Vertigo; Tippi Hedren in Marnie and The Birds; Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest;and Janet Leigh in Psycho. Joan’s career included roles in Gunga Din, The Women, Jane Eyre, The Constant Nymph, Ivanhoe, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.   

   She received wonderful reviews in 1954 on Broadway in Tea and Sympathy, opposite Anthony Perkins. She also appeared in numerous radio shows during the 1940s for the Lux Radio Theater. Her small screen appearances were notable: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Wagon Train, Cannon, The Love Boat, and a recurring part on the daytime soap opera, Ryan’s Hope. She earned an Emmy nomination for the latter effort.

   After Joan’s Oscar triumph, a legendary feud with her sister lasted for the rest of their lives since one of the other nominees that year was de Havilland. Olivia finally garnered a coveted statuette in 1946 for her performance in To Each His Own. In reality, they were never very close, which was one reason the actress took the last name on screen… Fontaine. Joan wrote bitterly about her sister in the memoir No Bed of Roses. She also famously didn’t get along with Rebecca co-star Laurence Olivier because he preferred that his wife Vivien Leigh get the role. British critics and audiences weren’t receptive either. But, Fontaine became a top star in Hollywood for over two decades.

   The actress eventually left Tinsel Town when she was asked to play Elvis Presley’s mother. She settled at her Villa Fontana estate about five miles south of Carmel.

tcm color logo   Turner Classic Movies will celebrate her life with seven motion pictures to air on December 29th. The cable network will follow with three Peter O’Toole films, plus an extended interview of the actor by Robert Osborne that was conducted at the 2011 TCM Film Festival, a few years back.

   Joan Fontaine, the demure beauty, was 96.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Monday, December 16th, 2013 at 12:00 am and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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