Joan Fontaine

Birth Name: Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland

Date of Birth: October 22, 1917

Place of Birth: Tokyo, Empire of Japan

Date of Death: December 15, 2013

Place of Death: Carmel Highlands, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, one quarter Guernsey Channel Islander, some Anglo-Irish

Joan Fontaine was a British actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Suspicion (1941).

She was the sister of actress Olivia de Havilland. She was born in Tokyo, Japan, to English-born parents, Lillian Fontaine (born Lillian Augusta Ruse), an actress, and Walter Augustus de Havilland, a patent attorney and professor. Her paternal grandfather was from a family from Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. Her other ancestry included English and some Anglo-Irish. She was a cousin of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, an aircraft designer and founder of the de Havilland aircraft company.

Joan became a U.S. citizen in 1943.

She had two children, including a daughter with her former husband, actor and producer William Dozier.

Joan’s paternal grandfather was Charles Richard de Havilland (the son of Charles Fiott de Havilland and Marthe/Martha Saumarez/Sausmarez). Joan’s grandfather Charles was born in Bath, Somerset, England. Joan’s great-grandfather Charles was born on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, the son of Peter de Havilland and Carterette Fiott. Marthe was also born on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, the daughter of Richard Saumarez/de Saumarez and Marthe/Martha Le Mesurier.

Joan’s paternal grandmother was Margaret Letitia Molesworth (the daughter of John Molesworth and Louisa/Louise Tomkyns/Tompkyns). Margaret was born in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. John was born in Ireland, the son of Richard Molesworth and Catherine Cobb, who was English. Richard’s grandfather was Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth. Louisa was the daughter of The Rev. Dr. Tompkyns.

Joan’s maternal grandfather was Alfred Joseph Bunning Ruse (the son of Joseph Surridge Ruse and Mary Bunning). Alfred was born in Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, England. Joan’s great-grandfather Joseph was the son of William Ruse and Mary Surridge. Joan’s great-grandmother Mary Bunning was the daughter of Joseph Bunning and Mary Stephenson.

Joan’s maternal grandmother was Mary Jane Hockin (the daughter of Thomas Hockin and Elizabeth Jane Hawkins). Mary Jane was born in Brighton, Sussex, England. Thomas was the son of William Hockin. Elizabeth was the daughter of Edward Dowle Hawkins.

Sources: Genealogies of Joan Fontaine –

Genealogies of Joan Fontaine (focusing on her father’s side) –

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