Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland (October 22, 1917 – December 15, 2013), known professionally as Joan Fontaine, was a British-American actress who is best known for her starring roles in cinema during the Classical Hollywood era.
Fontaine appeared in more than 45 feature films in a career that spanned five decades.
She was the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland.
She began her stage career in 1935, signing a film contract with RKO Pictures.
Fontaine received her first major role in The Man Who Found Himself (1937) and in 1939 was in the adventure Gunga Din.
Her career prospects improved greatly after her starring role in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed suspense drama Rebecca (1940), for which she received her first of three nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
The following year, she won that award for her role in Suspicion (1941), another Hitchcock suspense drama.
A third Oscar nomination came with the film The Constant Nymph.
She appeared mostly in drama films through the 1940s—including Letter from an Unknown Woman, which is now considered a classic.
In the next decade, after her role in the historical adventure Ivanhoe (1952), her film career began to decline and she moved into stage, radio and television roles.
She appeared in fewer films in the 1960s, films which included Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1960) and her final feature film, The Witches (1966).
She released an autobiography, No Bed of Roses, in 1978.
She continued to act until her last performance in 1994.
Having won an Oscar for her role in Suspicion, Fontaine is the only actor to have won an Academy Award for acting in a Hitchcock film.
Furthermore, she and her sister remain the only siblings to have won major acting Academy Awards, although it is well-known that they were estranged for many decades.