- Younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland
- Daughter of film and stage actress Lillian Fontaine
- Joked that the musical comedy A Damsel in Distress (1937) set her career back four years. At the premiere, a woman sitting behind her loudly exclaimed, "Isn't she awful!" during Fontaine's onscreen attempt at dancing.
- Attended Oak Street School in Saratoga, California.
- Adopted an infant Peruvian girl in 1952 who later ran away.
- Daughter, with William Dozier, Debbie Dozier (Deborah Leslie Dozier - born 11/5/1948).
- Joan Fontaine has been a licensed pilot, a champion ballonist, an expert rider, a prize-winning tuna fisherman, and a hole-in-one golfer, a Cordon Bleu chef and is also a licensed interior decorator.
- At the age of three she scored 160 on an infant IQ test.
- Took her stage name from her step-father, George Fontaine.
- The only actor or actress to win an acting Oscar in a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She won Best Actress for Hitchcock's 1941 film Suspicion (1941).
- Became pregnant twice in 1964, at the age of 46, but miscarried both times.
- First husband Brian Aherne had a friend call her the night before their wedding to tell her he had cold feet and couldn't marry her. Joan told the friend to tell him it was too late to call it off, that he had better be at the altar the next morning to marry her, and he could divorce her afterwards if he wanted. He was there at the altar and they remained married six years, never mentioning this incident to each other.
- Daughter, Martita, born 3 November 1946, adopted 1952. Ran away in 1963. When Joan found her she was refused contact with the child on the premise that her Peruvian adoption was not valid in the United States. Martita maintained a relationship with her sister Debbie, but never spoke to or saw Joan again.
- Howard Hughes, who dated her sister 'Olivia de Havilland for awhile, proposed to Joan many times.
- She and Olivia de Havilland are the first sisters to win Oscars and the first ones to be Oscar-nominated in the same year.
- Head of jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1982
- When her sister, Olivia de Havilland, was 9 years old, she made a will in which she stated "I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, since she has none".
- Ex-sister-in-law of Pierre Galante and Marcus Goodrich.
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