JOAN FONTAINE : FILM AND THEATER STAR : SIBLING RIVALRY SURVIVOR

This vintage real photo postcard features a lovely portrait of Joan Fontaine (1917-2013). She was a British-American actress known for her starring roles during the Golden Age of Hollywood. She acted in more than 50 films and her career had a five decade duration. Fontaine’s older sister was the actress Olivia de Haviland, and the pair had a rivalry well covered by the press. In 1942, the sisters were both nominated for the Academy Awards “Best Actress” title. Joan won and reportedly rejected her sister’s congratulations. In commenting about their rivalry, Fontaine stated that she had both married and won an Oscar before her sister, and that she had little doubt that “if I die first, she’ll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it!”. Their competitive relationship began early. At the age of nine, sister Olivia wrote a will in which she stated, “I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, since she has none”. Joan’s film career began in 1935. She was working for RKO pictures. Her first major role was in the film, “The Man Who Found Himself (1937). Also in 1937, she appeared alongside Fred Astaire in “A Damsel in Distress”. She followed that appearance with the female lead in “Gunga Din” (1939). The film was based on the work of Rudyard Kipling and it was an exciting adventure film. Some contemporary critics compare it to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981). I recently viewed “Gunga Din” and it was an exciting film, but it unfortunately glorified colonialism. In 1940 Joan’s career was propelled by her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca”. This role resulted in an Academy Award nomination for “Best Actress”. In 1941 she won the “Best Actress” award for her appearance in Hitchcock’s “Suspicion”. In 1943 she received her third “Best Actress” nomination. Much of her acting in the 1940’s involved drama films. During the war, she worked on a limited basis as a nurse’s aide. In 1946, Fontaine established her own film company with her husband, William Dozier. The company was named Rampart Productions and she appeared in a number of the company’s films. In the early 1950’s her film career began to dwindle. She then took her talent to stage, radio, and television roles. She appeared in two Broadway theater productions (1955 and 1970). Her final film appearance was in 1966. She continued to act until 1994. Now, for some biographical facts. Fontaine was born in Tokyo, Japan, to English parents. Her father was an English professor and later became a patent attorney. Her mother was a stage actress until she moved with her husband to Tokyo. Her mom did return to the stage after her daughters became successful in the 1940’s. Fontaine’s parents separated in 1914, when Joan was just two years-old. It seems that Fontaine’s father enjoyed intimate relationships with some of the geishas of Tokyo. Joan’s mother decided to move with her two daughters to the United States on the advice of a doctor. Joan was a “sickly” child and a change of climate was advised. The family settled in California and Joan’s health normalized. Joan was married and divorced four times. Her first two marriages were to actors, the third was to a producer/writer, and the fourth to the golf editor at “Sports Illustrated”. She had personal relationships with Harry Belafonte and Presidential candidate, Adlai Stevenson. Fontaine was a citizen of both the United States and Great Britain. She had a pilot’s license, was an expert rider, and was an accomplished interior decorator and chef. In fact, she excelled at too many things to mention in this description. This vintage portrait postcard was published by Soberanas as part of a series (no.21). The company was located in Spain. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on November 11, 2020 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ALICE BRADY : PRETTY FILM AND STAGE ACTRESS : BROADWAY STALWART : ACADEMY AWARD WINNER

This vintage real photo postcard features film actress, Alice Brady (1892-1939). Brady was born in New York City into a theatrical family. Her father was a theatrical producer, and her mother was a French actress. When Alice was four years old, her mother died. Her father remarried and her step-mother was actress, Grace George. George (1879-1961) was a successful American stage actress. She had a long Broadway stage career and appeared in two films.  Alice knew she wanted to be an actress, like her mother and step-mother, at an early age. Her first stage appearance was at the age of 14. Her first Broadway appearance was in 1911, at the age of 18. In 1913, she appeared with John Barrymore in “A Thief for The Night”. She performed on Broadway over a span of 22 years. She began her career during the silent film era and was one of the minority of actresses that successfully made the transition into sound movies. Brady’s films included “My Man Godfrey” (1936) and “In Old Chicago” (1937). Alice made her first silent feature appearance in 1914. She appeard in 53 films over the next ten years. Simultaneously, she continued to perf0orm on stage. In 1923, she took a ten year hiatus from the stage. In 1922 she made her first talkie, an MGM production. Over the next seven years, she made 25 more films. Her final film was “Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939). In 1937, Brady won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film, “In Old Chicago”. She had been nominated for the same award the previous year. In all, Brady appeared in more than 80 films. It is important to mention Brady’s Broadway career. The IBDb reports that she appeared in over 40 Broadway productions. Some of the “Great White Way” productions (1911-1932) that included Brady were “H.M.S. Pinafore” (1911), “The Pirates of Penzance” (1912), “The Mikado” (1912), “The Yankee Princess” (1922), “A Most Immoral Lady” (1928), and “Morning Becomes Electra” (1931).  Alice was married once. Her marriage to actor, James Crane, lasted from 1919 until they divorced in 1922. The marriage produced one son. Her life and career were cut short by her death from cancer just a day short of her 47th birthday.  The “Cyko” stamp box on this postcard indicates that it was published between 1904 and the 1920’s. This vintage portrait postcard is in good condition (see scans). 

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PHOTOGRAPH OF ACTRESS GRETA GARBO IN A SCENE FROM THE “TEMPTRESS” (1926)

This original vintage photograph is a French press photo from 1991. The image features the actress, Greta Garbo in a scene from the silent film, “The Temptress” (1926). Garbo (1905-1990) was a Swedish film actress in the 1920’s and 1930’s. She was beautiful and she was talented. During her career she was nominated three times for the Academy Award for best actress. The American Film Institute rated her fifth on their list of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema. Her first film role was in the Swedish film “The Saga of Gosta Berling” (1924). Louis B. Mayer, the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) was impressed by her performance and brought her to Hollywood in 1925. Her performance in the silent film “Flesh and the Devil” made her an international star. Her first talkie was “Anna Christie” (1930). Many film experts believe her finest performance came in the film “Camille” (1936). By1938, her career went into a tailspin and she retired from the movie industry at the ripe young age of 35. In total, she had appeared in twenty-eight films. She led a very private life in her retirement and she became an art collector in her later years. She clearly knew her art, evidenced by the fact that her collection was worth millions of dollars when she died. This photograph measures 7″ x 5″ and is in excellent condition (see scans).  (SOLD)

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