PARIS – Joan Fontaine’s 1942 Oscar was so much more than a trophy. Competing head-to-head with her older, more famous sister — “Gone With the Wind” star Olivia de Havilland — it finally was proof the 24-year-old rising actress had exacted the ultimate revenge on her sibling in a fierce rivalry that dated back to childhood.
Here’s a look at their sibling rivalry —and others just as bitter — that have played out well beyond the family dinner table:
HANDS OFF MY OSCAR
Fontaine, who won her Academy Award for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion,” died Sunday at 96.
For years, she was a struggling B-movie star watching the success of her older sister, who played Maid Marian alongside Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood and Melanie Hamilton in an Oscar-nominated performance in “Gone with the Wind.” But an Oscar eluded de Havilland until 1947, when she won for “To Each His Own.”
Fontaine said she tried to make amends by congratulating de Havilland as she walked off stage. De Havilland snubbed her while holding the trophy, an infamous moment captured by a photographer.
The warring sisters’ fame grew as they made history as the only siblings in Hollywood to win Oscars for a leading role. The two would snipe at each other in public, competing bitterly for the same roles and reportedly even for the same men.
“My sister was born a lion and I a tiger, and in the laws of the jungle, they were never friends,” Fontaine told an interviewer.
The final straw came in 1975 when their mother died. Fontaine criticized de Havilland for not notifying her of the death, while de Havilland countered that Fontaine was too busy to attend the memorial. The two reportedly didn’t speak again.
Fontaine once told the Hollywood Reporter “I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she’ll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it.”
But in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday, the 97-year-old de Havilland, who lives in Paris, proved her sister wrong, saying she was “shocked and saddened to learn” of her death.
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
In Britain, brothers David and Ed Miliband ran head-to-head for Britain’s Labour Party leadership contest in 2010. Ed, the younger brother and underdog, won and the ensuing controversy caused his older brother to quit British politics. Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband now lives in New York and works as the president of a non-governmental organization.
Pauline Friedman Phillips, who as Dear Abby dispensed snappy, sometimes saucy advice on love, marriage and meddling mothers-in-law to millions of newspaper readers around the world, competed for decades with the advice column of Ann Landers, written by her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer. Their relationship was stormy in their early adult years but they later became close.
CHALK AND CHEESE
The glamorous Collins sisters, Joan and Jackie, have a highly publicized, turbulent relationship amid an age-old rivalry. Jackie, the popular fiction writer, and Joan, star of the TV series “Dynasty,” publicly deny any feelings of competition yet they rarely appear together. “Both are ambitious high achievers and unspoken rivals, yet different as chalk and cheese,” said Leslie Bricusse, a composer who knew them both. But Joan still has Jackie to thank for a 1978 boost to her then-flailing acting career when she starred in “The Stud” — a movie adapted from her sister’s novel.
DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER
Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher of the British rock band Oasis have had a famously competitive, even brawling relationship. The group disbanded in 2009 because of the brothers’ deteriorating relationship after a backstage fight before a festival show. This week, Noel Gallagher reportedly turned down a £20 million ($36.9 million) offer to reunite with his brother for an Oasis anniversary tour.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at: https://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP