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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANTS OF THE DAY: JOAN FONTAINE AND OLIVIA DE HAVILAND - ACTRESS

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90 year old actress Joan Fontaine and her 91 year old sister Olivia de Havilland were born in Tokyo to British parents and immigrated to America as children. The two are among the last great leading film actresses of the 1930s and 1940s and their careers have both included award-winning roles in many of the greatest films of the 20th century.



In 1941, Joan Fontaine was nominated for an Academy Award for lead actress for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca and won the following year for Alfred Hitchcock's film Suspicion.



Two-time Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland is the last surviving star of Gone With the Wind. If you have never seen the movie, she played Melanie Wilkes, one of the four major roles in the movie. While nominated for Gone With the Wind, it was her roles in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress  (1949) that earned her the Oscar statues. 



The two sisters have a reputation for being rivals and that surely was put to the test when Olivia de Havilland was also nominated for best actress the same year as her sister one (Olivia was nominated for her work in the film Hold Back the Dawn. Sadly, the two have been estranged for most of their adult lives.



Incidentally, while I have wanted to write about both of these actresses for a while, I happened to see the very funny George Cukor film The Women the other night which stars Joan Fontaine along with other legendary actresses like Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and Rosalind Russell. The all woman casted film is being remade for release next and starring a similar all-star list that includes Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Debra Messing, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler and Candace Bergman.

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  1. Judy's Avatar
    Isn't that Candace Bergen, not Bergman?
  2. Carolee A. Parsons's Avatar
    Carolee A. Smith-Parsons
    I am a big fan of swashbuckler type films and love Captain Blood and Robin Hood. I was curious if Olivia de Haviland is still alive today. How is her health?
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