Joan Fontaine – A Fan Remembers

One of our readers was kind enough to share a first-hand experience involving screen legend (and perennial Pictorial favorite) Joan Fontaine.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

The Divine Joan Fontaine

My father, who’d be 91 were alive today, was a charming and most unusual man. When I was 10 or 11, back in the very early 60s, there was no such thing as cable TV and the “Late Show” broadcast old movies most nights.

One night my father said, “You are going to sleep late tonight, school night or not. We’ll just have you stay home if you are tired tomorrow.”


Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” was on the tube that night. I loved it. And I adored Fontaine.

I was thrilled when in my early 20′s, she was doing some lecturing at a local college and lived in Boston for a time. She was charming, and slightly imperious, and, then in her 50′s, quite tiny and very lovely.

One of our local hotels had been purchased by a mysterious Brit, and its cabaret, under his aegis, ran sophisticated intimate acts, mostly singers, which were broadcast live on Saturday nights. One night a very talented local singer/comedian named Mercedes Hall (the actor Anthony Michael Hall is her son ) was appearing.

During the show, which as I say was broadcast live, the smarmy hotelier/host — his name was Allen Temayne, introduced Fontaine, who was amongst the patrons. “Miss Fontaine” he said — may I call you Joan?”

Chic, cool, and immaculately coiffed, the former film star looked at him and said, “NO. You may call me MISS Fontaine.”

At that point admiration turned to adoration.

She is a complicated woman, maligned in many show biz bios — Vivien Leigh, Judith Anderson and Noel Coward were all less than kind — but I suspect she was less sinner than sinned against, especially during her childhood with de Havilland.

A unique lady indeed.

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Film writer and social media marketing professional. 2019 Social Ambassador for the 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Previously: social media associate at Warner Archive and script writer for Turner Classic Movies. Working on a Montgomery Clift biography due late 2020.

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