Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were sisters and actresses who had a tumultuous relationship throughout their lives. The sisters were born in Tokyo, Japan, to British parents in the early 20th century, but spent much of their childhood in California. They both pursued careers in acting and became two of the biggest stars of Hollywood’s golden age.
Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were both successful actresses in their own right, but their personal relationship was fraught with tension and abuse. The sisters had a rivalry that began in childhood and only intensified as they both pursued careers in Hollywood.
De Havilland was the elder of the two and found success first, winning two Academy Awards for Best Actress in the 1940s. Fontaine followed in her footsteps, also winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941. However, their professional successes did little to heal the wounds of their contentious relationship.
Olivia de Havilland made her debut in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1935 and went on to star in films such as “Gone with the Wind,” “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” and “To Each His Own,” for which she won an Academy Award. She was known for her talent and beauty, as well as her independent spirit and refusal to be typecast in stereotypical roles for women.
Joan Fontaine began her acting career in the late 1930s and quickly rose to fame with her role in the Alfred Hitchcock film “Rebecca.” She also starred in movies such as “Suspicion,” for which she won an Academy Award, and “Letter from an Unknown Woman.”
Despite their successful careers, the sisters had a strained relationship that began in childhood and continued into adulthood. According to de Havilland, Fontaine was their mother’s favorite child and received preferential treatment, which caused resentment between the sisters. This rivalry spilled over into their professional lives, with both actresses competing for roles and awards.
The sisters’ relationship was strained from the start, with de Havilland feeling overshadowed by her younger sister’s early success. This tension continued throughout their lives, with both women competing for attention and roles in Hollywood. They were known to make cutting remarks about each other in public and refused to attend events together.
Their relationship became even more contentious when Fontaine married de Havilland’s former boyfriend and co-star, Brian Aherne. De Havilland refused to attend the wedding and the sisters reportedly did not speak for several years.
Their relationship took a turn for the worse in 1941 when both sisters were nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. Fontaine won the award, and de Havilland reportedly refused to congratulate her sister. This incident only further fueled their animosity towards each other.
Their relationship continued to be strained over the years, with both women accusing the other of being the source of their problems. Fontaine wrote in her autobiography that de Havilland was jealous of her success and made efforts to undermine her career. De Havilland, on the other hand, accused Fontaine of being manipulative and spreading rumors about her.
The sisters’ animosity toward each other lasted until their deaths. In a 2016 interview, de Havilland said that she and Fontaine had not spoken for more than 30 years before Fontaine’s death in 2013. Fontaine, in turn, reportedly left de Havilland out of her will.
Their relationship came to a tragic end with Fontaine’s death in 2013. De Havilland, who was still alive at the time, chose not to attend her sister’s funeral. Their tumultuous relationship lasted until the end, leaving a legacy of pain and bitterness.
Despite their contentious relationship, both sisters left a lasting legacy in Hollywood. Olivia de Havilland was one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s golden age and was known for her talent and contributions to the film industry. Joan Fontaine was a talented actress in her own right and won critical acclaim for her performances in a variety of roles.
In the end, the rivalry between Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine serves as a reminder that even the most successful and talented individuals can be plagued by personal conflicts and animosity.