Oscar-Winning Actress Joan Fontaine Passes Away

By ROBERT PACE

December 15, 2013

Admired actress Joan Fontaine, best known for her roles in the Hitchcock films Suspicion and Rebecca, has passed away, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 96.

Fontaine, who was born "Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland" to British parents—her father: a patent attorney; her mother: a stage actress, whose stage name was Lillian Fontaine— in Tokyo, Japan in 1917.

After her parents divorced, Fontaine, her mother, and her older sister, Olivia, moved to California. She made her acting debut in a stage production of Call It a Day at 18 and soon after made her film debut with a small role in the 1935 comedy No More Ladies.

Six years later, Fontaine was nominated for her first Oscar for starring opposite Laurence Olivier in the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock-directed mystery thriller Rebecca. She didn't have to wait long to take home her first Oscar, as she was granted the award for Best Actress the following year at the 1942 Oscars for Suspicion, another Hitchcock mystery flick.

She was later nominated for another Oscar two years later for the drama The Constant Nymph, but she wasn't awarded the statuette.

After 30 years of film acting, she undertook her last film role in the 1966 horror film The Witches and only took on TV roles after that. She officially retired in 1994 after six decades in Hollywood with the TV movie Good King Wenceslas.

Fontaine was married four times, divorcing her fourth husband in 1969 at the age of 52. She is survived by her daughter Deborah and adopted daughter Martita.

THR, who confirmed the news with Fontaine's assistant, said that no immediate details of her death were available.

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