Hollywood Golden Age star Joan Fontaine has died of natural causes at her home in Carmel, California at age 96.
My favorite Fontaine role is the one she won an Oscar for, in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion,” opposite Cary Grant, along with her nominated breakthrough performance in Hitchcock’s 1940 Daphne Du Maurier classic “Rebecca,” opposite Laurence Olivier. In both parts this gorgeous Hollywood actress was able to persuade audiences that she was a real woman like the rest of us, not nearly as beautiful and confident as she should be.
Fontaine’s older sister was also her greatest rival, Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland, who lost the Oscar for “Hold Back the Dawn” to Fontaine in 1942. Fontaine was also nominated as Best Actress in 1943 for Edmund Goulding’s “The Constant Nymph.”
Check out this charming clip from Max Ophuls’ classic “Letter from an Unknown Woman,” featuring the courtship between Fontaine’s Lisa Berndle and Louis Jourdan’s Stefan Brand: