Joan Bennett

Birthday: Feb 27, 1910
Birthplace: Palisades, New Jersey, USA
The title of actress Joan Bennett's 1970 autobiography is The Bennett Playbill, in reference to the fact that she came from an old and well-established theatrical family: her father was stage star Richard Bennett and her sisters were screen actresses Constance and Barbara Bennett. Though she made an appearance as a child in one of her father's films, Joan Bennett did not originally intend to pursue acting as a profession. Honoring her wishes, her father bundled her off to finishing school in Versailles. Alas, her impulsive first marriage at 16 ended in divorce, leaving her a single mother in dire need of an immediate source of income. Thus it was that she became a professional actress, making her first Broadway appearance in her father's vehicle, Jarnegan (1928). In 1929, she began her film career in the low-budget effort Power, then co-starred with Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond. She was inexperienced and awkward and she knew it, but Bennett applied herself to her craft and improved rapidly; by the early '30s she was a busy and popular ingénue, appearing in such enjoyable programmers as Me and My Gal (1932) and important A-pictures like Little Women (1933) (as Amy). During this period she briefly married again to writer/producer Gene Markey. It was her third husband, producer Walter Wanger, who made the decision that changed the direction of her career: in Wanger's Trade Winds (1938), Bennett was obliged to dye her blonde hair black for plot purposes. Audiences approved of this change, and Bennett thrived throughout the next decade in a wide variety of "dark" roles befitting her brunette status. She was especially effective in a series of melodramas directed by Fritz Lang: Man Hunt (1941), The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), and The Secret Beyond the Door (1948). In 1950, she switched professional gears again, abandoning femme-fatale roles for the part of Spencer Tracy's ever-patient spouse in Father of the Bride (1950). Though her personal life was turbulent in the early '50s -- her husband Walter Wanger allegedly shot and wounded agent Jennings Lang, claiming that Lang was trying to steal his wife -- Bennett's professional life continued unabated on both stage and screen. Her television work included the 1959 sitcom Too Young to Go Steady and the "gothic" soap opera Dark Shadows (1965-1971). In failing health, Joan Bennett spent her last years in retirement with her fourth husband, media critic David Wilde.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Wild Girl Actor 2012
No Score Yet Dark Shadows: The Curse of the Vampire Actor 2009
No Score Yet This House Possessed Actor 1981
93% Suspiria Madame Blanc 1977
43% House of Dark Shadows Elizabeth Collins Stoddard 1970
No Score Yet Those Fantastic Flying Fools (Rocket to the Moon) Queen Victoria 1967
No Score Yet Desire in the Dust Mrs. Marquand 1960
No Score Yet There's Always Tomorrow Marion Groves 1956
No Score Yet We're No Angels Amelie Ducotel 1955
100% Father's Little Dividend Ellie Banks 1951
No Score Yet For Heaven's Sake Lydia Bolton 1950
93% Father of the Bride Ellie Banks 1950
No Score Yet The Reckless Moment Lucia Harper 1949
54% Secret Beyond the Door Celia Lamphere 1948
No Score Yet The Macomber Affair (The Great White Hunter) Margaret Macomber 1947
No Score Yet The Woman on the Beach Peggy 1947
No Score Yet Colonel Effingham's Raid (Man of the Hour) Ella Sue Dozier 1946
100% Scarlet Street Kitty March 1945
No Score Yet Nob Hill Harriet Carruthers 1945
91% The Woman in the Window Alice Reed 1944
No Score Yet Margin for Error Sophie Baumer 1943
91% Man Hunt Jerry 1941
No Score Yet Son of Monte Cristo Grand Duchess Zona 1941
No Score Yet The House Across the Bay Brenda Lucky Bentley 1940
No Score Yet Green Hell Stephanie Richardson 1940
No Score Yet The Housekeeper's Daughter Hilda 1939
No Score Yet The Man in the Iron Mask Maria Theresa 1939
No Score Yet Trade Winds Kay Kerrigan 1938
No Score Yet The Texans Ivy Preston 1938
No Score Yet I Met My Love Again Julie 1938
No Score Yet Artists and Models Abroad Patricia Harper 1938
No Score Yet Vogues of 1938 Wendy Van Klettering 1937
No Score Yet Wedding Present Monica 'Rusty' Fleming 1936
No Score Yet 13 Hours by Air (Thirteen Hours by Air) Felice Rollins 1936
80% Big Brown Eyes Eve Fallon 1936
No Score Yet She Couldn't Take It (Woman Tamer) Carol Van Dyke 1935
No Score Yet Private Worlds Sally MacGregor 1935
No Score Yet Mississippi Lucy 1935
No Score Yet The Pursuit of Happiness Prudence Kirkland 1935
No Score Yet The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo Actor 1935
No Score Yet The Man Who Reclaimed His Head Adele Verin 1934
92% Little Women Amy March 1933
No Score Yet Me and My Gal Helen Riley 1932
No Score Yet Week-Ends Only Venetia Carr 1932
No Score Yet The Trial Of Vivienne Ware Actor 1932
No Score Yet She Wanted a Millionaire Jane Miller 1932
No Score Yet Other Men's Women Marie 1931
No Score Yet Doctors' Wives Actor 1931
No Score Yet Moby Dick Faith Creely 1930
No Score Yet Maybe It's Love Nan Sheffield 1930
80% Disraeli (Disraeli: The Noble Ladies of Scandal) Lady Clarissa Pevensey 1929
No Score Yet Bulldog Drummond Phyllis 1929
No Score Yet The Divine Lady Extra 1929
No Score Yet The Mississippi Gambler Lucy Blackburn 1929
No Score Yet Power A dame 1928


No Score Yet Dark Shadows (1966)
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard/Naomi Collins
  • 1966
  • 1961


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