Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Only death could end actress sisters' feud

  • Print

PARIS -- Joan Fontaine's 1942 Oscar was so much more than a trophy. Competing head-to-head with her older, more famous sister -- Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland -- it finally was proof the 24-year-old rising actress had exacted the ultimate revenge on her sibling in a fierce rivalry that dated back to childhood.

Fontaine, who won her Academy Award for Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion, died Sunday at 96.

For years, she was a struggling B-movie star watching the success of her older sister, who played Melanie Hamilton in an Oscar-nominated performance in Gone with the Wind. But an Oscar eluded de Havilland until 1947, when she won for To Each His Own.

Fontaine said she tried to make amends by congratulating de Havilland as she walked offstage. De Havilland snubbed her while holding the trophy.

The sisters' fame grew as they made history as the only siblings in Hollywood to win Oscars for a leading role. The two sniped at each other in public, competing bitterly for the same roles and reportedly even for the same men.

"My sister was born a lion and I a tiger, and in the laws of the jungle, they were never friends," Fontaine told an interviewer.

The final straw came in 1975 when their mother died. Fontaine criticized de Havilland for not notifying her of the death, while de Havilland countered that Fontaine was too busy to attend the memorial. The two reportedly didn't speak again.

Fontaine once said, "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it."

But in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday, de Havilland, 97, who lives in Paris, proved her sister wrong, saying she was "shocked and saddened to learn" of her death.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2013 D8

History

Updated on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 9:04 AM CST: corrects names in cutlines

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gail Asper says museum honours her father’s vision

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you plan on attending any of the CMHR opening weekend events? (select all that apply)

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google