On a day that’s already seen the tragic passing of actor Peter O’Toole at the age of 81, December 15, 2013 got a bit sadder for fans of classic films as it was announced that filmmaker/actor Tom Laughlin and Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine have also both passed away, at the ages of 82 and 96, respectively.
Laughlin was best known for his role as the vigilante half-breed “Billy Jack,” originated for the 1967 film The Born Losers, a role he reprised for three more films, which he also wrote, directed (under the pseudonym T.C. Frank) and produced. Laughlin passed away on December 12, but his family only announced his passing today.
Fontaine was best known for her memorable performances in Alfred Hitchcock’s early films Rebecca and Suspicion, being nominated for Oscars for both films but winning the Oscar for the latter. She went on to receive one further Oscar nomination for 1943’s The Constant Nymph. Fontaine was a regular on television for many years through the ’80s and in 1978, wrote the memoir “No Bed of Roses” about her ongoing rivalry with her sister, actress Olivia de Havilland. (Fontaine was born “Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland.”)
The Hollywood Reporter has a lengthier and more detailed eulogy to Fontaine that can be read here.