Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Biographical > 100 New Yorkers of the 1970s > EASTSIDER JOAN FONTAINE
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】
Actress turns author with No Bed of Roses


The Oscar statuette stands on the end of a shelf about eight feet off the floor, partially obscured by a row of books, its gold surface gleaming dully in the subdued light of the room. Below, in one of the apartment's four fireplaces, a small log is softly burning. This room, like the rest of the large, immaculate home, is furnished in the style of an early 20th century country manor. Here, in the heart of the Upper East Side, Joan Fontaine has spent 15 years of an immensely productive life. I take a seat on one side of the fire, and Miss Fontaine faces me from the opposite side of the room, her slender, regal form resting comfortably in an antique chair, to talk about her best-selling autobiography, No Bed Of Roses (Morrow, $9.95). Published in September, the book has already sold more than 75,000 copies in hardcover.

As the title implies, Miss Fontaine's life has been one long roller coaster ride of triumph and tragedy. During the 1940s she received three Oscar nominations for Best Actress in the space of four years, and won the award for Suspicion (1941). She had the joy of raising two children — one of them adopted — but the disappointment of four divorces. Her mother, who died in 1975, was the best friend she has ever known, yet both her father and her stepfather gave her nothing but unhappiness, and she never had a close relationship with her famous older sister, Olivia de Havilland. In fact, the pair have not spoken in years — for reasons clearly explained in Fontaine's book.

A fiercely independent woman who has flown her own airplane and taken part in international ballooning competition, she has suffered through numerous illnesses and injuries that brought her close to permanent disability or death. These are the elements of No Bed Of Roses, a disarmingly frank memoir that is frequently unsettling but never boring.

"The fan mail for this book is getting to be enormous," says Fontaine, still radiant at 61. "A lot of people identify with the illnesses, or with trying to bring up children alone. Some people empathize because they had harsh relations with their siblings. A lot of men have told me they cried at the end, in my epitaph to my mother. And then of course, I have heard from a lot of people who wanted to be actresses, or actors."

Did she write the entire book herself? "Every single word. I wouldn't let them touch one of them. … It's not a sordid book; it's not tacky. One reviewer said it was immoral. I don't think I can figure that out. If you ask me, it's rather religious."

The words come out like perfect silver beads. She has always been a formidable p............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved