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Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
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Title supplied by cataloger.; Photograph was edited for publication purposes.
Olivia de Havilland was born to English parents on July 1, 1916 in Tokyo, Japan. Her parents separated and her mother Lillian took Olivia and her sister Joan, born in 1917, to California to live. In 1925, after her divorce, Lillian remarried George M. Fontaine whose last name Joan would later take. The sisters developed a rivalry early on that would last the rest of their lives. De Havilland made her film debut in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in October 1935. After two more disappointing films, she was paired with Errol Flynn in "Captain Blood." The film was well received and the two became a popular box office draw. De Havilland starred in many other movies in her seven years with Warner Brothers, gaining two Academy Award nominations, including one for "Gone with the Wind" in 1939. In 1943, Warner Brothers sought to extend her seven-year contract for six months because of prior suspensions. De Havilland took the studio to court and won, resulting in California's "seven-year rule," also known as Labor Code Section 2855. Still known today as the De Havilland Law, it prevented studios from extending their employees' contracts beyond seven calendar years. This was a blow to the studios and led to a blacklisting of de Havilland for two years. Moving on to other studios, de Havilland received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in "To Each His Own" in 1946, and "The Heiress" in 1949, and she was praised for her roles in several other films. De Havilland was married twice, to Marcus Goodrich and Pierre Galante, and had two children, Benjamin Goodrich and Gisele Galante. Her son died in 1991. De Havilland has lived in Paris since 1960.; Olivia de Havilland and her sister Joan Fontaine engaged in a rivalry that lasted most of their lives. Even as children, both women would later recount, they could not get along and fought often. Instigated by their mother, who favored Olivia, the rivalry continued even after their successes in Hollywood. Their mother, by some accounts, forbid Joan to use the family name as actress and did not support her career. Born a year apart, Olivia began acting first, but Joan soon followed. Both were sought after actresses, known for their good looks and refined styles of acting. Joan was the first to win an Academy Award, for her role in Hitchcock's "Suspicion," in 1942. Joan admitted snubbing Olivia on her way to accept the award, leading Olivia to return the favor in 1946 when she won for her role in "To each his own." The sisters would reconcile infrequently and the feud reached its peak in 1975 with a disagreement over treatment for their mother's illness. When their mother passed away that same year, Joan accused Olivia of not inviting Joan to the funeral. The feud lasted until Joan's death in 2013. De Havilland and Fontaine are the only siblings to have won lead acting Academy Awards.
Photograph caption dated December 14, 1940, reads "Stricken with appendicitis while going to the premiere at Santa Fe of the Warner Bros. picture 'Santa Fe Trail,' in which she is co-starred, Olivia de Havilland is shown when she arrived here by a chartered T.W.A. plane today. Succoring her at left is her sister, Joan Fontaine. The actress was rushed to a hospital. However, her physician decided than an operation would not be necessary." Fontaine, in a fur coat, is pictured leaning over her sister who is lying under a blanket on a stretcher, wearing a light-colored coat.
1 photographic print :b&w ;21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Herald Examiner Collection
HE box 5324
De Havilland, Olivia
Fontaine, Joan,--1917-2013
Motion picture actors and actresses--United States
Transport of sick and wounded--California--Los Angeles
Appendicitis--California--Los Angeles
Sisters--California--Los Angeles
Litters--California--Los Angeles
Women--California--Los Angeles
Fur coats
Night photographs
Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express photographs
Herald-Examiner Collection photographs

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