Joan Fontaine


Actor
Joan Fontaine

About

Also Known As
Joan Burfield, Joan De Beauvoir De Havilland, Joan St John
Birth Place
Tokyo, Japan
Born
October 22, 1917

Biography

The younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine is known for her exceptionally poised performances in Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s, including Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" (1940), and "Suspicion" (1941) which earned her an Academy Award, as well as collaborations with Orson Welles in "Jane Eyre" (1944) and "Othello" (1952). Her career trajectory took her from r...

Photos & Videos

A Damsel in Distress - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Rebecca - Movie Poster
Suspicion - Publicity Art

Family & Companions

Brian Aherne
Husband
Actor. Married in 1939; divorced in 1945.
William Dozier
Husband
Producer. Married in 1946; divorced in 1951; formed Rampart Productions with Fontaine.
Collier Young
Husband
Producer, screenwriter. Married in 1952; divorced in 1961.
Alfred Wright Jr
Husband
Journalist. Divorced.

Bibliography

"Joan Fontaine: A Bio-Bibliography"
Marsha Lynn Beeman, Greenwood Press (1994)
"Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine"
Charles Higham (1984)
"No Bed of Roses"
Joan Fontaine (1978)

Notes

Fontaine underwent hip replacement surgery on March 30, 1998

On winning the Oscar: "It was a bittersweet moment. I was appalled that I'd won over my sister (Olivia had also lost the previous year for 'Gone With the Wind'). My actor-husband (Brian Aherne) had never been an Oscar contender. A picture taken after the banquet of Brian sitting alone in the empty ballroom, feet up on a chair, my fur coat over his arm, waiting patiently for the photographers to finish with the winners, graphically illustrates the plight of a marriage when the wife is more successful than the husband." --Joan Fontaine

Biography

The younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine is known for her exceptionally poised performances in Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s, including Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" (1940), and "Suspicion" (1941) which earned her an Academy Award, as well as collaborations with Orson Welles in "Jane Eyre" (1944) and "Othello" (1952). Her career trajectory took her from romantic female leads in "The Constant Nymph" (1943) to formidable older women in "Serenade" (1953) and "Island in the Sun" (1957) before winding down in the late sixties. Fontaine later brought Golden Age Hollywood glamour to Broadway and television, and excelled at a variety of non-acting endeavors, including cooking, golf and aviation.

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland in Tokyo, Japan on Oct. 22, 1917, she was the daughter of British patent attorney Walter de Havilland and Lillian Augusta Ruse, a former stage actress; as both she and her father would often recount, the family counted two English kings in their lineage. Plagued by illness as a child, including bouts with anemia and measles, Fontaine was sent with her sister and mother to live in Saratoga, CA, while her father remained in Japan. Her parents' marriage was already in trouble prior to the move to the States, and the separation preceded a divorce, which became final when Fontaine was two. Academic tests proved Joan to be an exceptionally bright child with an IQ of 160, and she excelled at school. Home life, however, was a different story; she had an uneasy relationship with de Havilland, who was reportedly favored by her mother. The feud eventually became the stuff of Hollywood legend, and by all accounts, was alive and well when both sisters had entered their ninth decades.

Fontaine left Los Angeles in 1932 to live with her father in Japan. She returned a year later and began to develop an interest in acting like her sister, who was making a name for herself on stage. Fontaine adopted the surname "Burfield" for her stage debut opposite May Robson in a 1935 production of "Kind Lady." The story surrounding her stage name was part of the legend of the feud; allegedly, Fontaine's mother refused to allow her to bill herself as "de Havilland" because it would interfere with her sister's career, although other sources stated that Fontaine adopted the name without any prompting. Whatever the case, she soon found herself signed to RKO and made her screen debut with a small role in George Cukor's "No More Ladies" (1935), starring Joan Crawford. By 1937, she had changed her name again, this time using her stepfather's surname of Fontaine for a string of minor dramas and musicals. A break came with a major role opposite Fred Astaire in the George Gershwin musical "A Damsel in Distress" (1937), but the picture was a failure at the box office.

Her fortunes began to change in 1939 when she received excellent notices for her performance in "Gunga Din" as the love interest of British soldier Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and later as a naïve newlywed caught in the midst of Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Paulette Godard in Cukor's film adaptation of "The Women" (1939). That same year, she married her first husband, British actor Brian Aherne, which ended unhappily in divorce in 1945.

A chance seating next to producer David O. Selznick at a dinner party paved the way for her to audition for Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" (1940), which became one of her greatest screen triumphs. The auditions were reportedly a grueling experience for all involved, and Hitchcock exploited her weariness for the film's unnamed narrator, who struggles with the adulation felt for the late title character, who is still worshipped by her new husband (Laurence Olivier) and his malevolent housekeeper (Judith Anderson). The film was a box office success, and made Fontaine both a Hollywood star and an Oscar nominee. However, she lost the trophy to Ginger Rogers in "Kitty Foyle" (1940).

The following year, she reunited with Hitchcock and her "Gunga Din" co-star Cary Grant for "Suspicion" (1941), a crackling psychological thriller about a young woman who discovers that the man she has married - Grant, in a decidedly uncharacteristic turn - is a compulsive liar, thief, and burgeoning murderer. The Academy nominated her again for Best Actress - opposite her sister, who had become a star in her own right thanks to "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) and "Gone With the Wind" (1939), and was nominated for "Hold Back the Dawn" (1941). Fontaine took home the Oscar that evening, and according to legend, she snubbed de Havilland's attempts to congratulate her as she walked to the podium. Years later, de Havilland would do the same to Fontaine when she accepted her award for "To Each His Own" (1946).

Fontaine soon settled into a series of romantic films which capitalized on her emotional turns in "Rebecca" and "Suspicion." Most were high quality efforts - she earned her third Oscar nomination as a naïve Belgian girl who falls for a self-absorbed composer (Charles Boyer) in Edmund Goulding's 1943 adaptation of Margaret Kennedy's novel "The Constant Nymph," and played Charlotte Bronte's eponymous heroine in "Jane Eyre" (1944) opposite Orson Welles as Rochester. "Frenchman's Creek" (1944) found her English noblewoman romanced by dashing pirate Arturo de Cordova, while "The Affairs of Susan" (1945), "From This Day Forward" (1945) and "Ivy" (1947) found her entangled in one or more love affairs, occasionally with unhappy results. Fontaine also found time to become an American citizen in 1943.

In 1946, she married actor/producer William Dozier - later the man responsible for the TV version of "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) - with whom she had a daughter, Deborah, in 1948. She also formed a production company with Dozier, called Rampart Productions, which oversaw her 1948 film "Letter from an Unknown Woman" for director Max Ophuls. A heady romance in the style of her collaborations with Hitchcock, it preceded several more hits, including the Billy Wilder musical comedy "The Emperor Waltz" (1948) with Bing Crosby, and a gritty 1948 film noir, "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands," with Burt Lancaster.

Fontaine was absent from productions from 1949 but returned in 1950 for a string of sudsy melodramas, including "September Affair" (1950) and "Born to Be Bad" (1950). High emotion was not relegated to Fontaine's on-screen appearances; she divorced Dozier in 1951, and adopted a Peruvian orphan, Martita, in 1952, before marring screenwriter Collier Young that same year. Her film career continued on a largely positive if unremarkable path for the next decade or so. There were hits like "Ivanhoe" (1952) with Robert Taylor, and the Bob Hope comedy "Casanova's Big Night" (1954). She also had an unbilled cameo in Welles' film version of "Othello" in 1952. She tried her hand at stage work, appearing on Broadway opposite Anthony Perkins in "Tea and Sympathy" in 1954. By the mid-1950s, though, Fontaine was slowly moving out of the leading lady realm and into more mature character parts - "Serenade" (1955) found her a wealthy art patron whose snobbish attitude encourages Mario Lanza to pass her over in favor of poor but kindly Sara Montiel, while Robert Rossen's class drama "Island in the Sun" (1957) cast her as a high society matron in love with Harry Belafonte's up-and-coming politician. By the early 1960s, she was appearing more on television as a guest panelist on talk shows and quiz shows than in features. She brought her film career to a close with "The Witches" (1966), a horror film about modern-day black magic which she co-produced with England's legendary Hammer Films.

Fontaine remained active on stage throughout the sixties, most notably in "Forty Carats," which brought her to Broadway in 1968. She divorced Young in 1961 and married her fourth husband, journalist Alfred Wright Jr., in 1964 (they would later divorce in 1969).

In the 1970s, Fontaine made infrequent returns to acting in television movies and miniseries like "The Users" (1978) and the sudsy Danielle Steele adaptation "Crossings" (1986). She earned a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1980 for appearances on the soap opera "Ryan's Hope" (ABC, 1975-1989). In 1986, she stepped in for Loretta Young when the actress departed the Aaron Spelling-produced "Dark Mansions" (ABC), a Gothic-styled primetime soap that failed to earn a spot on the schedule. Her last appearance was for the Family Channel's Christmas-themed TV movie "Good King Wenceslas" (1994), where she lent her poise and dignity to Queen Ludmilla, grandmother to the title character.

In addition to her acting and producing careers, Fontaine excelled at numerous hobbies and pursuits in her private life. She studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu School, earned her pilot's license, was an expert golfer and fisherman, and won a championship as a member of a hot air ballooning team. In 1978, she published her autobiography, titled No Bed of Roses which detailed the infamous de Havilland blood feud that had lasted their entire lives.

r private life. She studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu School, earned her pilot's license, was an expert golfer and fisherman, and won a championship as a member of a hot air ballooning team. In 1978, she published her autobiography, titled No Bed of Roses which detailed the infamous de Havilland blood feud that had lasted their entire lives.

tire lives.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Dark Mansions (1986)
The Users (1978)
The Witches (1967)
The Devil's Own (1966)
Gwen Mayfield
Tender Is the Night (1962)
Baby Warren
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
Dr. Susan Hiller
A Certain Smile (1958)
Francoise Ferrand
Island in the Sun (1957)
Mavis Norman
Until They Sail (1957)
Anne Leslie
Serenade (1956)
Kendall Hale
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
Susan Spencer
Casanova's Big Night (1954)
Francesca Bruni
Flight to Tangier (1953)
Susan Lane
Decameron Nights (1953)
Fiametta/Bartolomea/Ginerva/Isabella [de Marco]
The Bigamist (1953)
Eve Graham
Something to Live For (1952)
Jenny Carey
Ivanhoe (1952)
Rowena
Othello (1952)
Page boy
Othello (1952)
September Affair (1951)
Manina Stuart
Darling, How Could You! (1951)
Alice Grey
Born to Be Bad (1950)
Christabel [Caine Carey]
You Gotta Stay Happy (1949)
[Diana] Dee Dee Dillwood [Benson, also known as Dottie Blucher]
The Emperor Waltz (1948)
Countess [Johanna Augusta Franziska] von Stoltzenberg-Stolzenberg
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Lisa Berndle
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)
Jane Wharton
Ivy (1947)
Ivy [Lexton]
From This Day Forward (1946)
Susan [Cummings]
The Affairs of Susan (1945)
Susan Darell
Jane Eyre (1944)
Jane [Eyre]
Frenchman's Creek (1944)
Dona St. Columb
The Constant Nymph (1943)
Tessa Sanger
This Above All (1942)
Prudence Cathaway
Suspicion (1941)
Lina [McLaidlaw]
Rebecca (1940)
Mrs. de Winter
The Women (1939)
Mrs. John Day, Peggy
Gunga Din (1939)
Emmy [Stebbins]
Man of Conquest (1939)
Eliza Allen
The Duke of West Point (1938)
Ann Porter
Blond Cheat (1938)
Julie Evans
Maid's Night Out (1938)
Sheila Harrison
Sky Giant (1938)
Meg Lawrence
Quality Street (1937)
Charlotte Parratt
You Can't Beat Love (1937)
Trudy Olson
A Million to One (1937)
Joan Stevens
The Man Who Found Himself (1937)
Doris King
Music for Madame (1937)
Jean [Clemens]
A Damsel in Distress (1937)
Lady Alyce [Marshmorton]
No More Ladies (1935)
Caroline

Cast (Special)

The Nutcracker (1985)
Hollywood: The Selznick Years (1961)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Good King Wenceslas (1994)
Crossings (1986)
Alexandra Markham

Life Events

1919

Immigrated to the U.S.

1932

Returned to Japan at age 15, attending the American school of Tokyo; had falling out with father after about a year (date approximate)

1935

Film debut in "No More Ladies", billed as Joan Burfield

1937

As a contract player at RKO, appeared in such films as "A Damsel in Distress" (1937, opposite Fred Astaire) and "Gunga Din" (1939), playing the only femme speaking role

1940

Achieved star status with her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" (opposite Laurence Olivier), earned first Best Actress Academy Award nomination

1941

Won Best Actress Oscar for "Suspicion" (with Cary Grant), also directed by Hitchcock; at the time, she was the youngest leading lady to ever take home the prize

1943

Received Oscar nomination as Best Actress for "The Constant Nymph"

1944

Had title role of "Jane Eyre", opposite Orson Welles

1947

Played change of pace role as a murderess in "Ivy"

1948

Starred opposite Louis Jourdan in Max Ophuls' "Letter From an Unknown Woman"; film made by her company, Rampart Productions

1948

Acted opposite James Stewart in "You Gotta Stay Happy"

1954

Performed on Broadway in Robert Anderson's "Tea and Sympathy" with Anthony Perkins

1956

Starred opposite Dana Andrews in Fritz Lang's "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"

1957

Played sister of Jean Simmons, Sandra Dee and Piper Laurie in Robert Wise's "Until They Sail", starring Paul Newman

1961

Hosted and narrated the syndicated TV series "Perspectives on Greatness"

1966

Left film acting after "The Witches"

1978

Published autobiography "No Bed of Roses"

1978

First TV-movie, "The Users" (ABC)

1980

Received daytime Emmy nomination for her cameo on "Ryan's Hope" (ABC)

1985

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the feature documentary about Alfred Hitchcock, "The Thrill of Genius"

1986

First TV miniseries, "Crossings" (ABC)

1986

Starred in Aaron Spelling-produced primetime gothic soaper, "Dark Mansions" (ABC), took over when Loretta Young pulled out of project; pilot not picked up by network

1994

Had featured role as the title character's grandmother in the Family Channel TV-movie "Good King Wenceslas"

2002

Made one-shot return to acting in "Rikki," a feature produced under the auspices of Animal Rights Awareness

Photo Collections

A Damsel in Distress - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken during production of RKO's A Damsel in Distress (1937), directed by George Stevens and starring Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, and George Burns & Gracie Allen.
Rebecca - Movie Poster
Here is an original-release movie poster from Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940), starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier.
Suspicion - Publicity Art
Here are a couple of specialty drawings created by RKO for newspaper reproduction to publicize Suspicion (1941), starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. To cover their bases, there is a both a humorous treatment and a serious one.
Suspicion - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Born to Be Bad - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for Born to Be Bad (1950). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
Ivanhoe - Movie Posters
Following are a few original release American movie posters from Ivanhoe (1952), starring Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Fontaine.
Ivanhoe - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from MGM's Ivanhoe (1952), starring Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Fontaine. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Until They Sail - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are some photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Until They Sail (1957), starring Paul Newman and Jean Simmons and directed by Robert Wise.
The Women - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release and re-issue American movie posters for MGM's The Women (1939).
The Women - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from MGM's The Women (1939), starring Norman Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, and Joan Fontaine.

Videos

Movie Clip

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956) - Open, Execution Meant to be chilling opening from director Fritz Lang, writer Garrett (Dana Andrews) and editor Spencer (Sidney Blackmer) witnessing an execution, in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, 1956.
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956) - You'll Get The Chair Writer Garrett (Dana Andrews) and ex-boss/future father-in-law Spencer (Sidney Blackmer) discussing how to prove capital punishment unjust, in Fritz Lang's Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, 1956.
Tender Is The Night (1962) - We Are Not Moralists Entering the flashback, Dick (Jason Robards Jr.) recalls a meeting with boss Dr. Dohlmer (Paul Lukas) and "Baby," (Joan Fontaine) the sister of his patient and future wife, in Tender Is The Night, 1962, from the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Until They Sail (1957) - What Kind of Woman? New Zealand, 1945, Paul Newman as American officer Harding testifies about Delia (Piper Laurie), the sister of Barbara (Jean Simmons), who are both seen in flashback with their sisters Anne and Evelyn (Joan Fontaine, Sandra Dee), opening Until They Sail, 1957, from a James Michener story.
Until They Sail (1957) - I Am Only Fourteen Christchurch, New Zealand ca. 1942, American ships and sailors have arrived to a town almost without men, so single older sisters Barbara and Anne (Jean Simmons, Joan Fontaine) are worried when teen Evelyn (Sandra Dee) latches onto an officer (Charles Drake), in Until They Sail, 1957.
Suspicion (1941) - Your Ucipital Mapilary Johnny (Cary Grant) and Lina (Joan Fontaine) have strayed from church for this flirtatious, wind-blown encounter, their second meeting in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion, 1941.
Suspicion (1941) - A Most Pleasant Death Recuperating Lina (Joan Fontaine) with husband Johnny (Cary Grant) and novelist pal Isobel (Auriol Lee), setting up Alfred Hitchcock's famous light-bulb-in-the-milk-glass trick, in Suspicion, 1941.
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956) - To Tom From Susan Romantic bit with writer Garrett (Dana Andrews) and fianceè Susan (Joan Fontaine), including chat with her father editor Spencer (Sidney Blackmer), in Fritz Lang's Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, 1956.
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956) - He Can't Be Dead! Lawyer Wilson (Shepperd Strudwick) brings news to Garrett (Dana Andrews) that the guy helping him pose as a murder suspect has died, fianceè Susan (Joan Fontaine) helping in aftermath, in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, 1956.
Born To Be Bad (1950) -- Christabel Is So, So Alive Director Nicholas Ray's opening, establishing San Francisco and bride-to-be Donna (Joan Leslie), her boss's sister Clara (Virginia Farmer), artist pal Gobby (Mel Ferrer), and her boss's niece Christabel (Joan Fontaine), arriving early, in Born To Be Bad, 1950.
Born To Be Bad (1950) -- You Make Her Sound So Mercenary Christabel (Joan Fontaine), growing ever more sneaky and selfish, arrives in a rush to help wealthy Curtis (Zachary Scott) select an engagement gift for her hostess and supposed friend, in Nicholas Ray's Born To Be Bad, 1950.
Born To Be Bad (1950) - There's No Norwegian Sailor Crafty new gal in town Christabel (Joan Fontaine) is enjoying the attention of San Francisco painter Gobby (Mel Ferrer) but gets caught pretending to be offended by the attitudes of his ruffian writer friend Nick (Robert Ryan), in Nicholas Ray’s Born To Be Bad, 1950.

Trailer

Constant Nymph, The - (Original Trailer) A composer (Charles Boyer) marries a rich woman rather than her young cousin (Joan Fontaine) who loves him in The Constant Nymph (1943).
Suspicion - (Re-issue Trailer) A wealthy wallflower (Joan Fontaine) suspects her penniless playboy husband (Cary Grant) of murder in Suspicion (1942), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Women, The - (Original Trailer) A happily married woman (Norma Shearer) lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband has an affair with shopgirl Joan Crawford in The Women (1939), directed by George Cukor.
Serenade - (Original Trailer) A rising opera star (Mario Lanza) is torn between his wealthy benefactor and a poor innocent in Serenade (1956).
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt -- (Original Trailer) Director Fritz Lang's last American movie, Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956), concerns a novelist (Dana Andrews) who frames himself for murder.
Until They Sail - (Original Trailer) Four sisters in New Zealand fall for Allied sailors en route to World War II but can only have them Until They Sail (1957) starring Paul Newman.
Ivanhoe - (Original Trailer) Robert Taylor stars in Ivanhoe (1952), Sir Walter Scott's classic tale of the noble knight torn between his fair lady (Joan Fontaine) and a beautiful Jew (Elizabeth Taylor).
Jane Eyre (1944) - (Original Trailer) A governess (Joan Fontaine) at a remote estate falls in love with her brooding employer (Orson Welles) in Jane Eyre (1944).
Gunga Din - (Re-issue Trailer) Three British soldiers seek treasure during an uprising in India in Gunga Din (1939) starring Cary Grant.
No More Ladies - (Original Trailer) Maybe not MGM's best idea ever, Leo the animated Lion, with the trailer for No More Ladies, 1935, in which a society girl (Joan Crawford) tries to reform her playboy husband (Robert Montgomery) by making him jealous.
Born To Be Bad - (Original Trailer) Director Nicholas Ray gives Joan Fontaine a chance to be a bad girl in Born To Be Bad (1950).

Family

Walter Augustus de Havilland
Father
Professor, patent attorney. Divorced Fontaine's mother c. 1919; de Havilland family listed in De Brett's peerage and Burke's Landed Gentry; related to at least two English kings (Edward II and Henry VIII).
George M Fontaine
Step-Father
Olivia de Havilland
Sister
Actor. Older; born on July 1, 1916.
Geoffrey de Havilland
Cousin
Businessman. Founder of de Havilland aviation company, a precursor to British Aerospace.
Deborah Dozier Potter
Daughter
Father, William Dozier.
Martita
Daughter
Adopted in 1951.

Companions

Brian Aherne
Husband
Actor. Married in 1939; divorced in 1945.
William Dozier
Husband
Producer. Married in 1946; divorced in 1951; formed Rampart Productions with Fontaine.
Collier Young
Husband
Producer, screenwriter. Married in 1952; divorced in 1961.
Alfred Wright Jr
Husband
Journalist. Divorced.

Bibliography

"Joan Fontaine: A Bio-Bibliography"
Marsha Lynn Beeman, Greenwood Press (1994)
"Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine"
Charles Higham (1984)
"No Bed of Roses"
Joan Fontaine (1978)

Notes

Fontaine underwent hip replacement surgery on March 30, 1998

On winning the Oscar: "It was a bittersweet moment. I was appalled that I'd won over my sister (Olivia had also lost the previous year for 'Gone With the Wind'). My actor-husband (Brian Aherne) had never been an Oscar contender. A picture taken after the banquet of Brian sitting alone in the empty ballroom, feet up on a chair, my fur coat over his arm, waiting patiently for the photographers to finish with the winners, graphically illustrates the plight of a marriage when the wife is more successful than the husband." --Joan Fontaine

"Working with Cary Grant was wonderful, but I think he wanted a departure from all those light comedies he had been doing. He saw 'Suspicion' as his great dramatic role. He did kill me in the original cut, but at the preview, the audience simply refused to accept him as the murderer ... Halfway through the filming, Cary realized that the whole picture was being told through the eyes of the woman, which gave him quite a shock, since he had given his approval to my being cast on the assumption that he would get to kill me ... He was not a casual actor at all, like Bing Crosby. When Bing arrived, however, he had his writers with him. When we were doing 'The Emperor Waltz', he would appear and say to Billy Wilder, the director and co-writer, 'These are the lines we're doing today.' And Billy would say, 'Well, I don't think so.' And so Bing would say, 'Fine, I'll be playing golf, and when you decide to shoot my lines, I'll be back.'" --From a 1987 interview with Gregory Speck.

Fontaine was a pupil of the Cordon Bleu Cooking School and as a golfer is particularly proud of her hole-in-one shot at California's Cypress Point Club and another at Carmel Valley. A licensed pilot and member of the winning team in an international balloon race over Holland, she is also a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.