Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 March 2015

De Havilland mourns sister Fontaine

Olivia de Havilland mourned the loss of Joan Fontaine  (AP/Kevork Djansezian)
Olivia de Havilland mourned the loss of Joan Fontaine (AP/Kevork Djansezian)

Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland has mourned the loss of Joan Fontaine, with whom she reportedly feuded for much of their lives, i n rare public remarks about her sister and fellow Oscar winner.

De Havilland, 97, issued a statement through the DGRW Talent Agency saying she was "shocked and saddened" by the news and that she was grateful for "the many kind expressions of sympathies".

Fontaine, 96, died in her sleep on Sunday at her home in Carmel, California. De Havilland, who lives in Paris, has often declined to talk about her sister.

De Havilland and Fontaine are among Hollywood's most famous siblings, stars from the studio era known for their many screen achievements and for a rivalry that at times became public, especially after they were both nominated for best actress in 1941. Fontaine won for Suspicion and later recalled the moment her name was announced at the Academy Awards ceremony.

"All the animus we'd felt towards each other as children, the hair-pullings, the savage wrestling matches, the time Olivia fractured my collarbone, all came rushing back in kaleidoscopic imagery," she wrote in No Bed Of Roses, an autobiography published in 1978.

"My paralysis was total. I felt Olivia would spring across the table and grab me by the hair. I felt age four, being confronted by my older sister. Damn it, I'd incurred her wrath again!"

De Havilland went on to win two Oscars, but that apparently did not warm her to Fontaine. After de Havilland won in 1947 for To Each His Own, Fontaine came forward to congratulate her and was rebuffed. De Havilland's publicist said at the time: "This goes back for years and years, ever since they were children."


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