The Reason Why Family Forbade Joan Fontaine To Use Their Name

With more than 45 shows and films that she starred into, this fine young lady surely made an impact in the history of Hollywood. Let's get to know her more! For sure, there is more of her than fame and feuds.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Fontaine Posting for a promotional photo for 1943s The Constant Nymph

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Fontaine Posting for a promotional photo for 1943s The Constant Nymph


25. SHE'S A WORLD WAR I BABY

At some time during World War 1, a little starlet was born in Tokyo, Japan. Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland was born on October 22, 1917. Imagine her parents' joy after hearing her giggle despite all the chaos in the world.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain | Jane Eyre/20th Century Fox

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain | Jane Eyre/20th Century Fox

 

24. BRITISH-AMERICAN STAR TO-BE

Joan held dual citizenship. She is a British by birthright. Thanks to her parents Walter De Havilland and Lilian Fontain. After Joan was born in Japan, she, her older sister Olivia and their mother moved to the United States prior to their parents' divorce. In 1943, Joan became a US citizen.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Fontaine and Gary Cooper holding their Oscars at the Academy Awards, 1942

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Fontaine and Gary Cooper holding their Oscars at the Academy Awards, 1942

 

23. CAREER DEBUT

In 1935, she entered the acting world. With that beauty? It's about time! Her debut film was Call It A Day under West Coast production. Because of her potential, RKO signed a contract with her and made her into other films and shows.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Photo of Joan Fontaine from a Rogers Bros. silverplate ad.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Photo of Joan Fontaine from a Rogers Bros. silverplate ad.


22. A STAR'S STAGE NAME

If you say Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, you'll surely hear elegance coming out from it. However, the young star did not use her full name in her career. She went on with the screen name Joan Fontaine. Hmm, a mommy's girl, probably?

 Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain | Rebecca/United Artists

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain | Rebecca/United Artists


21. STEP BY STEP STARDOM

It was also in 1935 she was given supporting roles in the films No More Ladies, A Million to One, and Quality Street. After seeing the potential in her, she was given a starring role in the 1937 film The Man Who Found Himself.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Publicity photo for Joan Fontaine

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain/Publicity photo for Joan Fontaine


20. A FLOPPED MAJOR ROLE

Seeing how she worked hard and how she was good at acting, she was given another major role in the 1937 film A Damsel in Distress. She co-starred with  Fred Astair, an American actor and dancer. Despite the star-studded casts, the movie did not hit the box office's spotlight. Surely, being a newbie has ups and downs.

Image Source: Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection/Fontaine wearing a white assymetric top in a studio portrait, circa 1940.

Image Source: Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection/Fontaine wearing a white assymetric top in a studio portrait, circa 1940.


19. SISTARS!

Even before Joan decided to join the acting world, her sister Olivia, older by one year, already started being an actress under Warner Bros. studio. Their mother, Lilian told Joan to find a studio different from Olivia's. Ohh, I can smell something starts with letter f.

Image Source: Getty Images/Popperfoto/The actress at a press reception area for her 1955 film, “This is My Man"

Image Source: Getty Images/Popperfoto/The actress at a press reception area for her 1955 film, “This is My Man"


18. IT RUNS IN THE BLOOD

Both Olivia and Joan are two rising actresses during that time. Wonder where they got the skills? Oh, it runs in the blood! Their mother, Lilian, had acting experiences too. When her two daughters had the spotlight, she took the opportunity to get back on track with her own career.

Image Source: Getty Images/Popperfoto/Fontaine on set for the 1952 film, “Decameron nights"

Image Source: Getty Images/Popperfoto/Fontaine on set for the 1952 film, “Decameron nights"


17. HER MOTHER WAS HER CO-ACTRESS

True enough, Joan Rose as one of Hollywood's starlets, the actress joined her daughter in a movie! As her mother rose to fame as well, producers made them work together. Lillian played supporting roles in Ivy (1947) and The Bigamist (1953), both starred by her daughter Joan.

Image Source: Getty Images/The LIFE Picture Collection/Bob Landry/Fontaine with her pompadour hairdo, at home with her dog circa 1942.

Image Source: Getty Images/The LIFE Picture Collection/Bob Landry/Fontaine with her pompadour hairdo, at home with her dog circa 1942.


16. WAS THERE FAVORITISM?

If there's one person who could brag about being lucky, it would be Lilian Fontaine. Her two lovely daughters are both Hollywood stars and making a lot of money. However, Joan's acting career was first disagreed by her mother but being supportive of Olivia's.

Image Source: Getty Images/Donaldson Collection/A 1937 photo of Joan Fontaine as she poses for a portrait

Image Source: Getty Images/Donaldson Collection/A 1937 photo of Joan Fontaine as she poses for a portrait


15. WHERE THE STARS ARE COMING FROM

Aside from a tough time during their parent's divorce, Joan and Olivia also had another tough day when Joan became a sickly child. Olivia is kind of sickly too. During their childhood and teenage years, they had to travel from one place to another for medication and education purposes.

Image Source: Getty Images/Camerique/Fontaine in 1965 wearing a pearl necklace for a portrait

Image Source: Getty Images/Camerique/Fontaine in 1965 wearing a pearl necklace for a portrait

 

14. SELZNICK SAVES THE DAY

It was heartbreaking for Olivia to see her films flopped. But then, she went on with high hopes. One night, she had dinner with people from the film industry, and a producer, David O. Selznick, started talking about the novel Rebecca, which will be adapted as a film. She told Olivia to audition for the lead role and she made it!

Image Source: Getty Images/Hulton Archive | Ivanhoe/MGM films

Image Source: Getty Images/Hulton Archive | Ivanhoe/MGM films

 

13. SHE FOUND LOVE ON A DUCK HUNTING TRIP

Despite her busy schedule, 20-year-old Joan still found some time for refreshment. She went on a duck hunting trip and she did not only found ducks but romance too! There she was captured by a fellow star, Nagel Conrad. What happened that day (and night) remains a sweet memory.

Image Source: Getty Images/Promotional photo of Joan Fontaine in a period dress circa 1951

Image Source: Getty Images/Promotional photo of Joan Fontaine in a period dress circa 1951


12. MORE OF A BRAINWASH OR A TRUTH?

It took courage for Joan to continue doing films after her several films flopped. Thanks to Selznick she got back with confidence. However, the director of Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock made her agree that everyone in the set hated her. That affected her performance in the film.

Image Source: Getty Images/Hulton Archive | Jane Eyre/20th Century Fox

Image Source: Getty Images/Hulton Archive | Jane Eyre/20th Century Fox


11. BEST ACTRESS RIVALRY

The sisters Joan and Olivia are undeniably famous due to their looks, fame, and wealth. But it seems like the rivalry is their middle name.  Both stars were at the peak of their career and both nominated for Best Actress Academy Award! Who's your bet?

Image Source:Getty Images/Ron Galella Collection/Ron Galella/Joan Fontaine at the 48th Golden Apple Awards

Image Source:Getty Images/Ron Galella Collection/Ron Galella/Joan Fontaine at the 48th Golden Apple Awards

 

10. ONTO THE RED CARPET

After all the blood, sweat and tears Joan poured in and off cam, there she went on the red carpet, to claim her Best Actress Academy Award. She gained that award from her movie Suspicion. Can anyone stop this star from shining?

Image Source: Getty Images/Universal Pictures/De Carvalho Collection/Fontaine as ’Dee Dee Dillwood' in a publicity shot from the movie 'You Gotta Stay Happy'

Image Source: Getty Images/Universal Pictures/De Carvalho Collection/Fontaine as ’Dee Dee Dillwood' in a publicity shot from the movie 'You Gotta Stay Happy'


9. IN LOVE AGAIN

In 1939, the best actress awardee met Brian Aherne, a British actor. They both fell in love and dreamed of spending a lifetime together. They were so in love that Brian proposed to her and of course, she said YES!

Image Source: Getty Images/Corbis/Sunset Boulevard/Colorised photo of Joan Fontaine with Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor on the set of Ivanhoe

Image Source: Getty Images/Corbis/Sunset Boulevard/Colorised photo of Joan Fontaine with Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor on the set of Ivanhoe


8. THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY

The gown, the venue, the guests, and all the wedding details were all set. Fans and stars alike were all excited to witness the grand Hollywood wedding! But then, a phone call made the wedding almost a disaster. A friend of the groom told Joan that the groom will back out of the wedding!

Image Source: Getty Images/RKO Radio Pictures | Suspicion/RKO Pictures

Image Source: Getty Images/RKO Radio Pictures | Suspicion/RKO Pictures


7. ALMOST A PICTURE PERFECT

Joan didn't have time for another real-life drama (as if she doesn't have one already) so she told Brian's friend that the groom should be there during the wedding day and they'll just work out their divorce papers later on. So the wedding went on. The newly-weds smiled for photo ops as if they didn't plan to get a divorce.

Image Source: Getty Images/The LIFE Picture Collection/Joan smiling at a film event

Image Source: Getty Images/The LIFE Picture Collection/Joan smiling at a film event


6. A MAN INTENSIFIED THE RIVALRY

As a teen, Joan had crushes too! She had a crush on Howard Hughes and her heart skipped a beat when he came forward to her side. But sadly, Howard and Olivia had a thing so Joan rejected him and his three wedding proposals. That even made the rivalry raise to another level.

Image Source: Getty Images/John Kobal Foundation/Joan Fontaine strikes a theatrical pose

Image Source: Getty Images/John Kobal Foundation/Joan Fontaine strikes a theatrical pose


5. RAMPART AND ROMANCE

When Joan and Brian got divorced, it didn't take her a long time to find romance again. She married the producer and TV writer William Dozier. The couple had both passions for the acting industry that they even co-created a humble studio, the Rampart, producing classic films.

Image Source: Getty Images/The LIFE Picture Collection//Bob Landry/Fontaine wearing sheer negligee while lounging on bed at home.

Image Source: Getty Images/The LIFE Picture Collection//Bob Landry/Fontaine wearing sheer negligee while lounging on bed at home.

 

4. HER VULGAR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

In 1978, Joan made the work of news writers and anchors easy when she released her autobiography. It was entitled No Bed of Roses. In her book, Joan told the ups and downs of her life, including her journey in Hollywood. She also revealed all her deepest secrets down to the childhood rivalry she had with her sister.

Image Source: Getty Images/John Kobal Foundation/Promotional photo of Joan Fontaine

Image Source: Getty Images/John Kobal Foundation/Promotional photo of Joan Fontaine


3. JOAN'S FIRST BABY AND SERIES OF HEARTBREAK

The couple Joan and William were the happiest when Joan gave birth to a lovely baby girl. They named her Deborah Leslie. But then, the couple separated and eventually got divorced. The fight for custody for their baby was a tough battle for both sides.

Image Source:Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives/Earl Leaf/Joan Fontaine and husband Collier Young attend at party in 1957

Image Source:Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives/Earl Leaf/Joan Fontaine and husband Collier Young attend at party in 1957

They say love is sweeter the second time around and Joan seemed to went overboard. Her third husband was Collier Young, a producer, and writer. Her fourth husband was the magazine editor, Alfred Wright Jr. She ended up with processing divorce papers. Maybe, the wedding isn't for her.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Actors Joan Fontaine and Gary Cooper holding their Oscars at the Academy Awards after party, 1942

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Actors Joan Fontaine and Gary Cooper holding their Oscars at the Academy Awards after party, 1942


2. A DAUGHTER FROM PERU

Joan was on a vacation in Peru and she visited the country's ancient ruins. A cute little girl caught her attention that she wanted to bring her to America. She adopted the girl, promising her parents that she'll send her back to Peru when she turns 16. But fulfilling the promise wasn't easy because the girl didn't want to go back to her roots.

 Image Source: Getty Images/CBS/Set photo of Fontaine in ’Salt of the Earth’ from The Albert Hitchcock Hour back in 1963.

Image Source: Getty Images/CBS/Set photo of Fontaine in ’Salt of the Earth’ from The Albert Hitchcock Hour back in 1963.


1. OLIVIA WROTE A HARSH WILL FOR JOAN

Olivia, as a sort of loving and harsh older sister, wrote a will for Joan that says, "I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan since she has none". It could be a joke from 9-year-old Olivia but knowing them, it's totally an anger-arousing statement. It's good to know that despite the bad blood, the sisters actually worked as nurses during the war. At some point in their lives, they managed to work together for a cause.

Image Source: Getty Images/Mondadori/Promotional portrait of Fontaine for 1950’s “Born to be Bad”

Image Source: Getty Images/Mondadori/Promotional portrait of Fontaine for 1950’s “Born to be Bad”

Their rivalry was rooted in childhood days, ablaze during teenage years, and even more, ignited during their adult lives. All the feuds between Olivia and Joan were also encrypted with their fame. Joan died in her deep and peaceful sleep at the age of 96.

Sources: Britannica, Biography, CNN, The Observer

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