Joan Bennett

Joan Bennett
Universal Pictures


Joan Bennett
Film: South side of the 6300 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Feb. 27, 1910 in Palisades, NJ
Died Dec. 7, 1990 of heart attack in Scarsdale, NY

Joan Bennett's 50-year career included more than 75 film roles including sweet, young blonds and sinister and vampy schemers.

A star of film, stage and television, her acting career began in 1928 and spanned some of Hollywood's most glamorous years. Her film credits include the 1933 classic "Little Women," in which she played one of the sisters of actress Katharine Hepburn.

In 1950, she also played a nurturing mother in Vincente Minnelli's comedy, "Father of the Bride." Bennett starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy in Minnelli's 1951 comedy "Father's Little Dividend."

"I loved working with Spence and Liz," Bennett once told an interviewer. But she frequently dismissed her celebrity status and said her family was her life's most fulfilling role.

Bennett, who married her first of four husbands at age 16, once said of her children: "When they were still little, it was in my movie contract that I had to be home from work in time to bathe and feed and put them to bed."

"I don't think much of most of the films I made," she said in 1986. "But being a movie star was something I liked very much."

Bennett's marriages and home life were frequently the fodder for Hollywood gossip sheets. She never liked such attention and once sent Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper a live, de-scented skunk.

But in 1951, Bennett's third marriage made headlines when her husband, film producer Walter Wanger, shot Bennett's Hollywood agent twice in the groin. Bennett witnessed the afternoon shooting in a Los Angeles parking lot.

Wanger later told police, "I shot him because I thought he was breaking up my home." But Bennett said Wanger was distraught over finances and denied any romantic relationship with the agent, Jennings Lang.

Wanger, father of two of Bennett's daughters, served a four-month prison sentence for the shooting.

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