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Joan Bennett

Biography

Gorgeous actress from Hollywood’s Fantastic Age who starred in the 1930 film Common Clay and in the 1931 film THE NORMAL Law. Among her earliest performing roles is at her father’s 1916 silent film The Valley of Decision. Despite a 1951 scandal regarding her hubby, her agent, and fees of infidelity, she preserved a popular existence in film and tv through the ’60s and in to the ’70s. She was created in Palisades, NJ. Both her parents had been stage stars, and her family members traced their performing roots back again to the 18th hundred years. She starred alongside Grayson Hall in the 1960s cleaning soap opera Dark Shadows.

Quick Facts


Date Of Birth February 27, 1910
Died December 7, 1990, Scarsdale, New York, United States
Place Of Birth Palisades Park, NJ
Height 1.63 m
Profession Movie Actress
Nationality American
Spouse David Wilde, Walter Wanger, Gene Markey, John Marion Fox
Children Melinda Markey, Stephanie Guest, Diana Markey, Shelley Antonia Wanger
Parents Richard Bennett, Adrienne Morrison
Siblings Constance Bennett, Barbara Bennett
Nominations Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Programming - Individuals
Movies Scarlet Street, The Woman in the Window, Father of the Bride, Secret Beyond the Door, Man Hunt, Suspiria, Father's Little Dividend, Little Women, The Reckless Moment, House of Dark Shadows, Trade Winds, The Woman on the Beach, Hollow Triumph, We're No Angels, Bulldog Drummond, The Macomber Affair, Me and My Gal, Confirm or Deny, There's Always Tomorrow, Disraeli, The Son of Monte Cristo, The Housekeeper's Daughter, The House Across the Bay, The Texans, Private Worlds, Desire in the Dust, Highway Dragnet, The Man I Married, Walter Wanger's Vogues of 1938, Big Brown Eyes, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, The Trial of Vivienne Ware, For Heaven's Sake, Arizona to Broadway, The Guy Who Came Back, Moby Dick, Maybe It's Love, Divorce Wars: A Love Story, The Wife Takes a Flyer, Navy Wife, Colonel Effingham's Raid, Wild Geese Calling, I Met My Love Again, Two for Tonight, Artists and Models Abroad, Green Hell, Wedding Present, Wild Girl, The Man Who Reclaimed His Head, She Wanted a Millionaire, She Couldn't Take It
TV Shows Dark Shadows, Too Young to Go Steady
Star Sign Pisces

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1From 1961 to 1964, Joan was romantically involved with Actor John Emery, and cared for him to the end of his final illness.
2Acting mentor and friend of David Selby.
3She was a very active member of both the Hollywood Democratic Committee and The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League and donated her time and money to many liberal causes (such as the Civil Rights Movement) and political candidates (including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry Wallace, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter) during her lifetime.
4She was a popular target of disdain in Hedda Hopper's gossip column. To get her point across Bennett mailed Hopper a skunk as a Valentines Day gift in 1950 with a note that read, "You Stink!".
5Ex-mother-in-law of Don Hayden.
6Husband Walter Wanger shot Bennett's agent, Jennings Lang, in the groin in 1951 because he discovered they were having an affair and caught them in the act in Lang's car. Wanger was convicted of attempted murder and served a four-month sentence.
7Dians Productions, Bennett's production company, was named after her daughter Adrienne (a.k.a, Diana.).
8At age 39, Bennett became Tinseltown's youngest and sexiest grandmother when her daughter gave birth. Marlene Dietrich, the former title holder, sent Bennett a telegram thanking her for taking the "heat off her".
9Was called "Doanie" by her grandchildren because, allegedly, one of her granddaughters could not say "Joanie" when she was younger.
10Aunt of Gyl Roland, Lorinda Roland and Morton Downey Jr..
11Granddaughter of Rose Wood and the stage actor Lewis Morrison, birth name: Morris W. Morris (1845 - 1906).
12Her grandfather, Morris W. Morris (an actor known as Lewis Morrison on stage), was of English and well-off Spanish ancestry. Joan Bennett spoke of this, in detail, in her 1970 autobiography "The Bennett Playbill". Morris had also served as a lieutenant during the Civil War.
13Finalist for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in the classic Gone with the Wind (1939). Vivien Leigh got the role at the last minute. However, the film's producer, David O. Selznick offered to cast her oldest daughter, Diana in the role of Bonnie Blue Butler, Rhett and Scarlett's daughter as a sort of consolation prize. Miss Bennett refused the offer. In reality, Diana, who was 11 years old at the time of the film's premiere, was way too old for the role - the part called for a toddler.
14In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Lidia Simoneschi, including Father of the Bride (1950) and its sequel Father's Little Dividend (1951). She was occasionally dubbed by Lia Orlandini, Renata Marini and Tina Lattanzi.
15Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 82-84. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
16Appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), although only in archive footage. The film that the characters in the movie go to see is Father of the Bride (1950), and a clip is show featuring Joan.
17Played Amy March in Little Women (1933) with Katharine Hepburn. She played Elizabeth Taylor's mother in Father of the Bride (1950). Taylor played Amy March in the remake: Little Women (1949).
18Her first grandchild, Amanda Anderson, was born in March, 1949 to daughter Diana.
19Was offered the role of Beth McCarthy in Cocoon (1985). Director Ron Howard wanted to reunite co-star Don Ameche with one of his former leading ladies and he thought of Joan. Unfortunately, she was in frail health at the time and supposedly turned down the role, a decision she later regretted when "Cocoon" became one of the biggest box office hits of 1985 and spawned a sequel. The part was played by Gwen Verdon. Miss Bennett did not, in fact, turn down the role. Rather, she was talked out of taking it by her fourth husband, David Wilde. Wilde insisted that the film too closely resembled the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). He also felt that it was beneath Miss Bennett's dignity to be working under "Opie Taylor" or "Richie Cunningham".
20She made five films for Fritz Lang, more than any other American actor or actress who worked with him (many actors disliked working with Lang).
21She was one of only three cast members who appeared on Dark Shadows (1966) from the beginning to the end. She appeared on the first episode, June 27, 1966, as well as its last, April 2, 1971.
22At the time of her death, Joan had 13 grandchildren. Her first two great-grandchildren were on the way - one of her grandsons and his wife were expecting twins.
23Her 78 feature-length films include three bit parts in silents and 6 TV-movies.
24Daughters: Adrienne Ralston Fox (became Diana Markey) born 20 February 1928; Melinda Markey born 27 February 1934; Stephanie Wanger, born 26 June 1943; Shelley Wanger, born 4 July 1948.
25Joan's hobbies: Interior decorating, gardening/horticulture, dog breeding, collecting miniature (model) horses.
26She was nearsighted and wore glasses when not on public view.
27Filming on She Wanted a Millionaire (1932) was interrupted for 6 months when Joan broke her leg in a fall from a horse.
28Younger sister of actresses Barbara Bennett and Constance Bennett.
29Daughter of actors Richard Bennett and Adrienne Morrison
30Was pregnant with daughter Melinda Markey while filming Little Women (1933).


Actress

Actress

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Trial of Vivienne Ware1932Vivienne Ware
Careless Lady1932Sally Brown
She Wanted a Millionaire1932Jane Miller
Hush Money1931Joan Gordon
Doctors' Wives1931Nina Wyndram Penning
Many a Slip1931Pat Coster
Scotland Yard1930Xandra, Lady Lasher
Maybe It's Love1930Nan
Moby Dick1930Faith
Crazy That Way1930Ann Jordan
Puttin' on the Ritz1930Dolores Fenton
The Mississippi Gambler1929Lucy Blackburn
Disraeli1929Clarissa
Three Live Ghosts1929Rose Gordon
Bulldog Drummond1929Phyllis
The Divine Lady1929Extra (uncredited)
Show Folks1928Night Club Patron (uncredited)
Power1928A Dame
The Eternal City1923Page (uncredited)
The Valley of Decision1916An 'Unborn Soul'
Divorce Wars: A Love Story1982TV MovieAdele Burgess
This House Possessed1981TV MovieRag Lady
Suddenly, Love1978TV MovieMrs. Graham
Suspiria1977Madame Blanc
Police Surgeon1972TV SeriesCortessa
The Eyes of Charles Sand1972TV MovieAunt Alexandria Sand
Gidget Gets Married1972TV MovieClaire Ramsey
Dark Shadows1966-1971TV SeriesElizabeth Collins Stoddard Opening Voiceover Judith Collins ...
Love, American Style1971TV SeriesEdith (segment "Love and the Second Time")
The Governor & J.J.1970TV SeriesJoan Darlene Delaney
House of Dark Shadows1970Elizabeth Collins Stoddard
Burke's Law1965TV SeriesDenise Mitchell
Mr. Broadway1964TV SeriesMrs. Kelsey
Desire in the Dust1960Mrs. Marquand
Too Young to Go Steady1959TV SeriesMary Blake
Pursuit1958TV Series
The DuPont Show of the Month1957TV SeriesGrace Graves
Playhouse 901957TV SeriesVickie Maxwell
Navy Wife1956Peg Blain
There's Always Tomorrow1956Marion Groves
The Ford Television Theatre1955-1956TV SeriesMarion / Marcia Manners
We're No Angels1955Amelie Ducotel
Climax!1955TV SeriesHonora
The Best of Broadway1954TV SeriesLorraine Sheldon
General Electric Theater1954TV SeriesBettina Blane
Highway Dragnet1954Mrs. Cummings
Somerset Maugham TV Theatre1951TV Series
The Guy Who Came Back1951Kathy Joplin
Danger1951TV Series
The James Melton Show1951TV Series
Father's Little Dividend1951Ellie Banks
Nash Airflyte Theatre1951TV Series
For Heaven's Sake1950Lydia Bolton
Father of the Bride1950Ellie Banks
The Reckless Moment1949Lucia Harper
Hollow Triumph1948Evelyn Hahn
Secret Beyond the Door...1947Celia Lamphere
The Woman on the Beach1947Peggy
The Macomber Affair1947Margaret 'Margo' Macomber
Colonel Effingham's Raid1946Ella Sue Dozier
Scarlet Street1945Katharine 'Kitty' March
Nob Hill1945Harriet Carruthers
The Woman in the Window1944Alice Reed
Margin for Error1943Sophia Baumer
Girl Trouble1942June Delaney
Twin Beds1942Julie Abbott
The Wife Takes a Flyer1942Anita Woverman
Confirm or Deny1941Jennifer Carson
Wild Geese Calling1941Sally Murdock
Man Hunt1941Jerry Stokes
She Knew All the Answers1941Gloria Winters
The Son of Monte Cristo1940Grand Duchess Zona of Lichtenburg
The Man I Married1940Carol Hoffman
The House Across the Bay1940Brenda
Green Hell1940Stephanie Richardson
The Housekeeper's Daughter1939Hilda
The Man in the Iron Mask1939Maria Theresa
Trade Winds1938Kay Kerrigan
Artists and Models Abroad1938Patricia Harper
The Texans1938Ivy Preston
I Met My Love Again1938Julie Weir
Vogues of 19381937Wendy Van Klettering
Wedding Present1936Monica 'Rusty' Fleming
Two in a Crowd1936Julia Wayne
13 Hours by Air1936Felice Rollins
Big Brown Eyes1936Eve Fallon
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo1935Helen Berkeley
She Couldn't Take It1935Carol Van Dyke
Two for Tonight1935Bobbie Lockwood
Mississippi1935Lucy
Private Worlds1935Sally MacGregor
The Man Who Reclaimed His Head1934Adele Verin
The Pursuit of Happiness1934Prudence Kirkland
Little Women1933Amy
Arizona to Broadway1933Lynn Martin
Me and My Gal1932Helen Riley
Wild Girl1932Salomy Jane
Week Ends Only1932Venetia Carr

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The DuPont Show of the Month1957TV Series performer - 1 episode
We're No Angels1955performer: "Sentimental Moments" - uncredited
Trade Winds1938performer: "Prelude Opus 28 No. 7" 1834 - uncredited
Artists and Models Abroad1938performer: "What Have You Got That Gets Me"
Little Women1933performer: "Abide with Me" 1861 - uncredited
Maybe It's Love1930performer: "Maybe It's Love" 1930, "All American" 1930 - uncredited
Puttin' on the Ritz1930performer: "Alice in Wonderland" 1930

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Dieter & Andreas1989Short grateful acknowledgment

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Rogue Male: The Making of 'Man Hunt'2009Video documentary shortJerry
Dark Shadows: Behind the Scenes1991VideoHerself
Talking Pictures1988TV Series documentaryHerself
The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn1986TV Special documentaryHerself
Guiding Light1982TV SeriesHerself
The Fim Society of Lincoln Center Tribute to George Cukor1978TV MovieHerself
Hollywood Greats1977TV Series documentaryHerself
The Mike Douglas Show1964-1977TV SeriesHerself - Actress / Herself
The Bob Braun Show1974TV SeriesHerself - Actress
The Virginia Graham Show1970TV SeriesHerself
The Hollywood Squares1970TV SeriesHerself - Panelist
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1967-1969TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Joan Rivers Show1969TV SeriesHerself
Personality1968TV SeriesHerself
The Merv Griffin Show1967TV SeriesHerself
The Match Game1964TV SeriesHerself - Team Captain
Your First Impression1963TV SeriesHerself - Guest
Talent Scouts1962TV SeriesHerself
The 16th Annual Tony Awards1962TV SpecialHerself - Accepting Award for Best Scenic Designer
Password All-Stars1961TV SeriesHerself
I've Got a Secret1953-1961TV SeriesHerself - Guest / Herself / Herself - Panelist
The Arthur Murray Party1959TV SeriesHerself - Actress
The Juke Box Jury1958TV SeriesHerself
To Tell the Truth1958TV SeriesHerself - Panelist
Climax!1956TV SeriesHerself
Cavalcade of Stars1951TV SeriesHerself - Guest Actress
The Ken Murray Show1951TV SeriesHerself
Your Show of Shows1951TV SeriesHerself - Guest Performer
What's My Line?1951TV SeriesHerself - Mystery Guest
The Colgate Comedy Hour1951TV SeriesHerself - Actress
Screen Actors1950Documentary shortHerself (uncredited)
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 61942Documentary shortHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 19, No. 9: Sports in Hollywood1940Documentary shortHerself, Polo Fan
Hollywood Party1937ShortHerself (uncredited)
The Fashion Side of Hollywood1935Documentary shortHerself
Hollywood on Parade No. A-131933ShortHerself
Screen Snapshots1932/IIDocumentary shortHerself
Starland Review No. 11922Documentary shortHerself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie2012DocumentaryHerself - Mort's Aunt
Dark Shadows: The Vampire Curse2009VideoElizabeth Collins Stoddard
Fear at 400 Degrees: The Cine-Excess of Suspiria2009Video documentary shortMadame Blanc
The Mistress of Collinwood: Miss Joan Bennett2006Video shortHerself
Suspiria 25th Anniversary2001Video documentaryHerself / Madame Blanc
Amélie2001Ellie Banks (uncredited)
Ils ont filmé la guerre en couleur2000TV Movie documentaryHerself (uncredited)
Great Romances of the 20th Century: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton1997TV Short documentary
Dark Shadows 30th Anniversary Tribute1996DocumentaryHerself / Elizabeth Collins Stoddard
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryKatharine 'Kitty' March, 'Scarlet Street' (uncredited)
Dark Shadows Bloopers1993Video documentaryElizabeth Collins Stoddard
The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind1988TV Movie documentaryHerself - Actress Testing for Scarlett
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Henry Fonda1978TV Special documentaryActresss 'Wild Geese Calling' (uncredited)
America at the Movies1976DocumentaryEllie Banks
Hollywood: The Selznick Years1969TV Movie documentaryActress 'Gone with the Wind' screen test (uncredited)
Hollywood and the Stars1964TV SeriesHerself
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story1951Documentary
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Party1948ShortHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 11937Documentary shortHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 111937Documentary shortHerself
Hollywood on Parade No. A-121933ShortHerself (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6310 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1978Saturn AwardAcademy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USABest Supporting ActressSuspiria (1977)
1968Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Daytime Programming - IndividualsDark Shadows (1966)

TitleSalary
Dark Shadows (1966)$333 per episode

#Quote
1Meryl Streep can act Polish or English or Australian but she sure as hell can't act blonde.
2[on Hollywood attorney Jerry Giesler] Whenever trouble arose in Hollywood, the first cry for legal help was, "Get Giesler!".
3My film career faded. A man can go on playing certain roles 'til he's sixty. But not a woman.[in 1984] The "Golden Age" is gone, and with it most of the people of great taste. It doesn't seem to be any fun any more.
4[about the attention she was getting as a cast member of the cult series Dark Shadows (1966)] I feel positively like a Beatle.
5I don't think much of most of the films I made, but being a movie star was something I liked very much.

#Trademark
1Often played untrustworthy but sexy femme fatales

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