Joan Fontaine, Oscar-winning actress was 96

joan-fontaine-imdb.jpgJoan Fontaine won her best actress Academy Award in 1941 for Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion" and was nominated twice more, for Hitchcock's "Rebecca" in 1940 and for "The Constant Nymph" in 1943. But as the LA Times obit by Claudia Luther notes, Fontaine "became almost as well-known for her lifelong feud with her famous older sister, Olivia de Havilland." Fontaine died of natural causes at home in Carmel, the Times says.

Career totals for the sisters would be: Fontaine, three Oscar nominations and one win; De Havilland, five nominations and two wins. De Havilland, partly because of her role as Melanie in 1939's classic "Gone With the Wind," would be the one with the more enduring film legacy.

Although she continued to make films into the 1960s and appeared on Broadway and on television, Fontaine's brief stardom peaked in the early 1940s....

She began in films with a role in "No More Ladies," starring Joan Crawford, and soon was under contract at RKO. Not able to use the family name because of her sister, she first became Joan Burfield and for a brief time Joan St. John, and finally took the name of her stepfather, Fontaine.

Oops: Looks like Channel 2 in Los Angeles had a little trouble with the graphics again tonight.


Also: Tom Laughlin, who made the Billy Jack series of films in the 1970s and later ran for president, died Dec. 12 of complications from pneumonia in Thousand Oaks. He was 82. Variety

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