She would be born Joan de Havilland in Tokyo, Japan in 1917. Her father was British patent lawyer in the international settlement. His practice did quite well but she would soon leave Japan and settle back in the states. Her mother Lilian and her sister Olivia would move to California in hopes of improving the girls health issues. Later Joan would return to Tokyo to study and her mother would attempt a career on the stage and later divorce her husband. Her sister Olivia would start her own career in films and by the time Joan came back to the States Olivia had a name for herself on the stage. She would move to San Jose and join a theater group. She would change her name to Burfield to not infringe on her sisters stardom. Burfield wouldn't last long for when Joan made her way to films she would change it again to Fontaine. Her mother remarried and she would take her step-fathers surname.
She would make her name in 'Rebecca' a 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie and would even receive an Academy Award nomination for her role. The very next year she would win the award for her film Suspicion, another Hitchcock movie.
This would prove to be a major moment in her life. It solidified her as a star but it also would estrange her and Olivia for the rest of their lives. Little sister would beat Olivia to an Oscar and also the matrimony aisle. Big sister would hold a grudge that neither could break.
Joan's career would take off and she would have plenty of more roles. She would take time off from the screen and take on some TV and stage roles. Her career as a film star would wrap up about 1966. Her final camera appearance would come in 1994. Known for her beautiful blond hair and for the roles she would choose.
Her personal life had it's up and downs through the years. She would adopt a young girl who ran away only to never see her again. Her estrangement from her sister Olivia would make headlines for years. It was those years of being in front of the camera is what people will remember her for. Not for this silly stuff. She is a screen legend from the days when films were simple entertainment and technological wonders. Rest In Peace.