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Actress Joan Fontaine dies

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Actress Joan Fontaine died Sunday at age 96.

CNN reported that the actress died in her sleep at her home in Carmel, CA.

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, she is the sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, with whom Fontaine had been estranged for years. She was born in Tokyo, Japan, and later moved to California with her mother and sister when her parents separated.

Fontaine began her acting career under the name Joan Burfield with the film No More Ladies (1935). She later changed her name to Fontaine, which was the name of her mother’s second husband.

She would win acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rebecca (1940).

Fontaine’s rivalry with de Havilland began in 1942, when Fontaine beat out her sister for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Hitchcock’s Suspicion. De Havilland, now 97, was nominated for Hold Back the Dawn, although she would later win two Oscars in that category for her roles in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949).

Fontaine would receive a third Oscar nomination for her role in The Constant Nymph (1943), which, according to the Los Angeles Times, became her favorite role.

She was married and divorced four times. Fontaine gave birth to a daughter in her second marriage and adopted a girl in her third.


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