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Joan Fontaine Dies at Age 96 (Video Clips from 'Rebecca,' 'Suspicion,' 'Letter from an Unknown Woman' and More UPDATED)

by Anne Thompson
December 16, 2013 12:42 PM
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Joan Fontaine wins the Oscar

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:


 Fontaine with Laurence Olivier in "Rebecca":



The "Suspicion" trailer:


 And Fontaine in "The Women":

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More: Obit


  • Brian | December 16, 2013 12:25 PMReply

    The "TCM Remembers" montage should get reedited. Eleanor Parker made it in, but Paul Walker, Tony Musante, Audrey Totter, Fontaine, Peter O' Toole and Tom Laughlin didn't. Next time they should wait till the end of the year.

    I enjoyed many Fontaine films, esp. those made in the 1940s: REBECCA, SUSPICION, JANE EYRE, FRENCHMAN'S CREEK, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, KISS THE BLOOD OFF MY HANDS and LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, to name a few favorites off the top of my head. In the '50s: SEPTEMBER AFFAIR, THE BIGAMIST, SERENADE and, a rare comedy, CASANOVA'S BIG NIGHT, where she holds her own alongside Bob Hope.

  • m | December 16, 2013 12:06 AMReply

    First Peter O'Toole, now Joan Fontaine... !? Christ, they're droppin' like flies. If Olivia de Havilland and Lauren Bacall are next in line I think I might just have a heart attack and join 'em. :(

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