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Tribute: Joan Fontaine

posted by Nell Minow

joan fontaineWe mourn the loss of one of the last of the great stars of the golden age of Hollywood, Joan Fontaine, an Oscar-winner who co-starred with Cary Grant (Suspicion), Fred Astaire (A Damsel In Distress), and, in the Best Picture Oscar-winner Rebecca, Laurence Olivier.  Fontaine and her sister Olivia de Havilland are the only siblings to have won lead acting Academy Awards and she is the only one to have been directed to an Oscar by the notoriously uninterested in actors director Alfred Hitchcock.

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Fontaine had an elegance that was never brittle.  She often played characters who were shy or vulnerable, like the leads in “Suspicion” and “Rebecca” as well as “Jane Eye” (opposite Orson Welles) and “Letter from an Unknown Woman,” with Louis Jourdan.  In “The Women,” she played a sweet but foolish and sometimes stubborn young woman who almost goes through with a divorce until she learns that “pride is a luxury no woman in love can afford.”

May her memory be a blessing.

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