16 December 2013
Last updated at 10:29
Actress Joan Fontaine, one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1940s, has died at the age of 96. Born in Japan to British parents, she was originally called Joan de Havilland but took the name of her stepfather when she started her career to avoid being confused with her sister Olivia, who was already an established actress.
Fontaine became a star in the 1940 film Rebecca. She starred opposite Laurence Olivier in the movie, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was producer David O Selznick's first picture after Gone With the Wind. But Fontaine recalled being treated cruelly by Olivier, who had preferred his then-lover Vivien Leigh for the role.
Fontaine's next role, in Hitchcock's Suspicion, earned her an Oscar for best actress in 1942. She posed alongside Gary Cooper, that year's best actor winner. Fontaine beat her sister Olivia de Havilland in the best actress category, later saying: "It was a bittersweet moment. I was appalled that I won over my sister."
Fontaine (right) had a legendary and life-long rivalry with Olivia (left). They are the only sisters to both have won acting Oscars. After Fontaine's win in 1941, de Havilland picked up two Academy Awards of her own in 1947 and 1950.
Fontaine had a long association with Alfred Hitchcock and was the only performer to win an Oscar for starring in a Hitchcock film. She reunited with him for a TV film in 1963 and later said she thought it was her "vulnerability" that had first caught the director’s eye.
Her other big screen hits included the title role in Jane Eyre in 1944, with Orson Welles (left) playing Mr Rochester.
Other co-stars included Bing Crosby, with whom she appeared in the comic caper The Emperor Waltz in 1948.
Fontaine's career waned in the 1950s but she continued to take smaller parts, TV appearances and stage roles into the 1980s before retiring in California. Her autobiography No Bed of Roses was published in 1978.