Joan Fontaine Net Worth

March 19, 2024
4 mins read

Born as Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on the 22nd October 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, she was an American award- winning actress, best known to the world for appearing in numerous feature films during the Hollywood golden era, including “Rebecca” (1940), “Suspicion” (1941), “Letter from an Unknown Woman” (1948), and “Ivanhoe” (1952), among many other accomplishments. She passed away in 2013.

Have you ever wondered how rich Joan Fontaine was at the time of her death? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Fontaine’s net worth was as high as $40 million, an amount earned through her successful career in the entertainment industry, which was active from the mid- 30s, until the mid- ‘90s.

Joan Fontaine Net Worth $40 Million

Joan was the daughter of Walter Augustus de Havilland, an English professor at the Imperial University in Tokyo, who later became patent attorney, and Lilian Augusta de Havilland Fontaine, who before leaving for Tokyo was a stage actress, but forewent her career for the sake of family, however, just three years after Joan’s birth, her parents divorced and Joan, her mother, and her older sister Olivia, who later also became a successful actress, moved to the US.

The Fontaine trio settled in Saratoga, California and young Joan attended Los Gatos High School, and also began taking diction lessons with her older sister. Once she turned 16, Joan moved back to Japan to live with her father, where she enrolled at Tokyo School for Foreign Children, matriculating in 1935, then returned to the USA and commenced her acting career.

Joan made a debut first on stage, in the play “Call It a Day” (1935), and in no time she received a contract offer from, none other than RKO Pictures. She made her screen debut in the romantic comedy “No More Ladies”, which starred Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery and Charles Ruggles, and although only a minor role, Joan was already considered a star, and in 1937 she was cast in the lead role of Nurse Doris King in the drama “The Man Who Found Himself”, next to John Beal and Phillip Huston. The same year she starred in the romantic comedy film “A Damsel in Distress”, with Fred Astaire, Gracie Allen and George Burns, however, the film received mixed reviews and failed at the box office, which resulted in Joan’s role in RKO Pictures being diminished. Until the end of her contract in 1939, she appeared in more several minor roles, but was then let go from the production house.

However, she was quickly back on track when she met producer David O. Selznick at a dinner party, and the two found a joint interest in the novel “Rebecca”, written by Daphne du Maurier, and David called her up to audition for the film of the same name. After months of preparation for the audition, Joan finally showed her talents and was selected to portray Mrs. de Winter in the romantic mystery drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which was his debut film for the American market. The following year, Hitchcock and Joan worked together again, this time on the mystery thriller “Suspicion”, for which Joan received an Academy Award in the category Best Actress in a Leading Role; the film also starred Cary Grant and Cedric Hardwicke, and earned over $4 million at box office, which helped increase Joan’s net worth to a large degree. Throughout the ‘40s, Joan starred in many blockbuster films, such as “The Constant Nymph” (1943), then “Jane Eyre” (1943) – an adaption of the Charlotte Bronte novel – then the comedy “The Affairs of Susan” in 1945, in which she shared the screen with George Brent, while in 1948 she starred with Louis Jordan in the romantic drama “Letter from an Unknown Woman”, and the same year was the female lead in the Academy Award- nominated romantic comedy “The Emperor Waltz”, next to Bing Crosby and Roland Culver.

She continued quite successfully in the early ‘50s, appearing in such films as “Born to Be Bad” (1950), and in William Dieterle’s Golden Globe Award- winning romantic drama “September Affair” (1950) with Joseph Cotton, while two years later she appeared with Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Taylor in the adventure drama “Ivanhoe”, which was nominated for three Academy Awards. In 1956 Joan made appearance in the crime drama “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, and finished the decade with a role in the 1958 drama “A Certain Smile”.

With the start of the ‘60s, her popularity began slowly to decline, which resulted in only a few memorable appearances; these included the portrayal of Baby Warren in the drama “Tender is the Night” in 1962, then the starring role of Gwen Mayfield in the horror “The Witches” (1966), thriller “Dark Mansions” in 1986, and as Queen Ludmilla in the drama “Good King Wenceslas” in 1994, which was her last screen appearance.

Although her career on screen declined slowly, she became a stage star in a number of theater appearances, including on Broadway in plays “Tea and Sympathy” and “Forty Carats”, which also improved her wealth.

Back in 1960 she received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, thanks for her success in film.

Regarding her personal life, Joan had four marriages and divorces, and one child from those relationships. Firstly to actor Brian Aheme (1939-45), then a year later she married actor/producer William Dozier, with whom she had her only child, Deborah Leslie, born in 1948, but they divorced the year after. Joan soon found a new partner, and in 1952 she married Collier Young, a producer and writer; their marriage lasted until 1962, but she filed for divorce two years before she was officially divorced from the successful television producer. Her last marriage was to Alfred Wright, Jr., which lasted from 1964 to 1969.

In 1951 a visit to South America saw her adopt a girl from Peru, named Martita. The two lived together until Martita was 16 years old, when she escaped the Fontaine household. The deal was that Martita visit her parents back in Peru that year, but instead she fled and Joan and Martita never spoke again.

Throughout her life, Joan had problems with her sister, behaving as though they hated each other. Their altercation culminated in 1975 following the funeral of their mother, after which the two didn’t speak to each other.

Joan owned a house in Carmel Highlands, California, called Villa Fontana, and passed away in her home from natural causes at the ripe old age of 96, on the 15th December 2013.

Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

At NetWorthPost, we strive to provide our readers with in-depth profiles that offer valuable insights into the worlds of business, entertainment, and beyond. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, we bring to light the remarkable journeys and successes of individuals who inspire and captivate us.

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