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JOAN FONTAINE

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Cary Grant & Joan Fontaine A.A.'41
Click to enlarge
8" x 10" Signed By Both

Hitchcock's 4th American production.
David O. Selznick discovered Hitchcock and
brought him to US.
Grant has signed "To Ziggy",
my nickname in 1940s.
A.A. nominated 1941 - Best Picture

Biography for
Joan Fontaine

Height:
5' 3"
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Mini biography
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland (aka Joan Fontaine) was born on October 22, 1917 in Tokyo, Japan in what was known as the International Settlement. Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and her older sister's ( Olivia de Havilland ) recurring ailments the family moved to California with the hopes of improving their health. Mrs. de Havilland and the two girls settled in Saratoga while their father went back to his practice in Japan. Joan's parents did not get along well and a divorce soon followed. Mrs. de Havilland had a desire to be an actress but her dream was curtailed when she married. Now she hoped to pass on her dream to Olivia and Joan. While Olivia pursued a stage career, Joan went back to Tokyo where she attended the American School. In 1934, Joan came back to California where her sister was already making a name for herself on the stage. Joan likewise joined a theater group in San Jose. However, San Jose was not exactly an acting mecca so she went to Los Angeles to try her luck there. After moving to LA Joan adopted the name of Joan Burfield because she didn't want to infringe upon Olivia who was using the family surname. She tested at MGM for a small role in NO MORE LADIES in 1935. She was scarcely noticed. After that production, Joan was idle for a year and a half. During this time she roomed with Olivia who was having much more success in films. By 1937, this time using Joan Fontaine, she took a better role as Trudy Olson in YOU CAN'T BEAT LOVE. Later that year she took an uncredited part in QUALITY STREET. Although the next two years saw her in better roles Joan still yearned for something better. In 1940, she garnered her first Academy Award nomination in REBECCA. Although she thought she should have won, (she lost out to Ginger Rogers in KITTY FOYLE), she was now an established member of the Hollywood set. However, she would again be nominated for her role as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth in SUSPICION (1941). This time she won the coveted award. She was making one film a year but Joan was choosing her roles well. In 1942, she starred in the well-received THIS ABOVE ALL. The following year she appeared in THE CONSTANT NYMPH. Once again she was nominated for the Oscar only losing out to Jennifer Jones in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE. By now, it was safe to say she was now more famous than her older sister. More fine films followed. In 1948, Joan was forced to accept second billing in THE EMPEROR WALTZ with Bing Crosby. Joan took the year off in 1949 before coming back in 1950 with SEPTEMBER AFFAIR and BORN TO BE BAD. In 1951 she starred in Paramount's DARLING, HOW COULD YOU! which turned out badly for her and the studio as it wasn't the hit they imagined it to be. More weak productions followed. Joan slowed down on the big screen for a while taking part in television programs and dinner theaters. Joan also starred in many well produced Broadway plays such as FORTY CARATS and LION IN WINTER. Her last appearance on the big screen was THE DEVIL'S OWN in 1966. Her last public appearance in the electronic medium was GOOD KING WENCESLAS which was a made for TV film. Joan, today, still appears on the stage and lecture circuit while traveling and writing in her spare time. She is, without a doubt, a lasting movie icon.
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Spouse
'Alfred Wright, Jr.' (January 1964 - 1969) (divorced)
Collier Young (November 1952 - 1961) (divorced)
William Dozier (I) (2 May 1946 - 1951) (divorced); 1 daughter
Brian Aherne (20 August 1939 - 1945) (divorced)
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Trivia

Sister of actress Olivia de Havilland.

Daughter of film and stage actress Lillian Fontaine

Joked that the musical comedy Damsel in Distress, A (1937) set her career back four years. At the premiere, a woman sitting behind her loudly exclaimed, "Isn't she awful!" during Fontaine's onscreen attempt at dancing.

Attended Oak Street School in Saratoga, California.

Adopted an infant Peruvian girl in 1952 who later ran away.

Daughter, with Dozier, Deborah Leslie Dozier (b. 11/5/1948)

Joan Fontaine has been a licensed pilot, a champion ballonist, an expert rider, a prize-winning tuna fisherman, and a hole-in-one golfer, a Cordon Bleu chef and is also a licensed interior decorator.
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Personal quotes

"I could see her potential for restrained acting, and I felt she could play the character in a quiet, shy manner." - Alfred Hitchcock, on why he chose her for Rebecca (1940)

"Marriage, as an institution, is as dead as the dodo bird."

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Actress. (b. Oct. 22, 1917, Tokyo, as Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland.) The younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, this poised, forceful actress began her movie career playing delicate, insipid ingenues-a potential career drawback that she turned to her advantage in two surprising characterizations that launched her as a top-flight star. Born, like Olivia, in Tokyo to British parents, she toured with regional theater groups under the name Joan Burfield before making her screen debut thusly billed in a 1935 Joan Crawford starrer, No More Ladies After more stage work, she landed at RKO where, billed as Joan Fontaine, she gave Ginger Rogers a break by appearing opposite Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress and supporting Katharine Hepburn in Quality Street (both 1937). Studio brass felt she needed more "seasoning," and so she was put to work in RKO potboilers such as You Can't Beat Love (also 1937), Blonde Cheat, Sky Giant, Maid's Night Out and The Duke of West Point (all 1938).

Fontaine's luck changed in 1939. Not only did she play the gushy ingenue in Gunga Din a mammoth hit that won her more recognition than all her previous programmers combined, she landed good supporting roles as doe-eyed innocents in MGM's The Women and Republic's Man of Conquest (as first wife of Texas pioneer Sam Houston). Then she was picked by producer David O. Selznick and director Alfred Hitchcock to play the lead in Rebecca (1940), the lavish adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's best-selling gothic romance. Under Hitchcock's guidance, she delivered a masterful, Oscar-nominated performance as a naive and victimized wife that drew on her long experience playing fragile-young-things and sprang to vivid life. She went one better the next year, playing the delicate wife of sinister Cary Grant in Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941), a mostly faithful adaptation of Francis Iles' chilling "Before the Fact." Fontaine's superb performance won her a well-deserved Oscar.

After appearing opposite Tyrone Power in the stirring wartime romance This Above All (1942), Fontaine tackled the difficult role of a young Belgian gamine who falls in love with older man Charles Boyer in The Constant Nymph (1943), and was rewarded with an Oscar nomination. (It remains her favorite film.) The following year she played another innocent in the remake of Jane Eyre a slow-moving, overheated, but handsomely produced Charlotte Brontė adaptation that paired her with Orson Welles. Within a few years, she'd left such virginal characters far behind; as the 1940s wore on, her roles became more full-blooded, and she cheer fully played scheming bitches whenever the opportunity presented itself. Although arguably beneath an Oscar-winning actress, The Devil's Own (1966) was a surprisingly literate Hammer horror film that gave Fontaine her last lead, as a schoolteacher confronted with evidence of voodoo in her community. She has appeared in only a handful of made-for-TV movies since then. She published her autobiography, "No Bed of Roses," in 1978.

OTHER FILMS INCLUDE: 1945: The Affairs of Susan 1946: From This Day Forward 1947: Ivy 1948: The Emperor Waltz, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, Letter From an Unknown Woman (as the hopelessly infatuated pursuer of musician Louis Jourdan in this Max Ophuls classic); 1950: Born to Be Bad, September Affair 1952: Ivanhoe (as Lady Rowena); 1953: Decameron Nights, The Bigamist 1954: Casanova's Big Night (a rare comedy part opposite Bob Hope); 1956: Serenade, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt 1957: Island in the Sun 1958: A Certain Smile 1961: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1962: Tender Is the Night

These Items are FOR SALE to knowledgeable Collectors. Please ask all questions of provenance before purchase. Items are only exchangeable if autographs are not authentic.

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