Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy birthday, Joan Fontaine

In her more sentient days, my great aunt Loretto was penpals with Joan Fontaine, one of Hitchcock's earliest blondes, still one half of the feuding de Havilland sisters (Olivia is also still alive, if not kicking) and living in semi-seclusion in Carmel. That penpalship was passed along to me, and for a brief time in college Joan and I sent short, polite cards to one another -- in one exchange she admitted that the ending to Hitchcock's Suspicion (for which she won her Oscar in 1942) was a severe compromise in order to satisfy studio suits and lazy audiences. Boy how times have changed. (Not.) If you've got the day off, TCM has over 12 hours of Joan today, her 90th birthday, with showings of Born to Be Bad, Gunga Din and The Women (currently being remade by Diane English). And for giggles, watch her above on What's My Line? in 1972 after she'd given up movies.

Update / 10.24.07, 11:34 / Check out the Self-Styled Siren's knowledgeable posts on Joan here and here.