Before the feuding Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine became the two most famous sisters in Hollywood, there were the Bennetts: Constance and Joan.


Both were born into an acting family. Their father, Richard, was prominent on stage and screen: you can still see him in his swansong, “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), released just two years before his death. Their mother, Adrienne Morrison, also performed and was herself descended from a long line of thespians.


Eldest daughter Constance was the first of the new Bennett generation to debut in films, earning her first credited role in 1922, age 17. Joan, a full six years her junior, would come on the scene with the start of talkies, appearing in 1929’s “Bulldog Drummond.” (Between them was Barbara, an aspiring actress and dancer who suffered from alcoholism and depression as an adult; she would never achieve the success of her two siblings).


Constance was known for her impeccable style and wit, which are both on full display in the peerless screwball comedy, “Topper” (1937). Joan tended toward more serious parts, most memorably playing the femme fatale in two back-to-back Fritz Lang pictures, “Woman in the Window” (1944), and “Scarlet Street” (1945).


Joan outlived her sister by a quarter century and had more staying power in films, but Constance was, at one point in the early thirties, the highest paid actress in Hollywood.


Though Constance collected more husbands (five to Joan’s four), her life was relatively free of scandal, whereas her kid sister was rocked in 1951 when her jealous husband shot her amorous agent in the groin. Ouch!


Joan’s career eventually recovered and she became a fixture on the campy horror soap opera, “Dark Shadows,” which ran for five seasons starting in 1966. Then, a few years later, she appeared in Dario Argento’s classic, “Suspiria.”


Both sisters, in the end, were stars — big ones. And here are the pictures to prove it.





Constance, the epitome of glamour, in her hey-day.




An alluring Joan, before she became a brunette.



A lithe Constance posing on the beach, looking like she wants to be somewhere else. A nightclub, perhaps?




Donning a captivating nightgown, Joan hears a bump in the night.



Constance, lit from without and within.



It wont be the ring that hypnotizes you.



A pensive Constance, no less beautiful.



Femme Fatale with a capital F. Two of them!



Oh-so-chic, and ready to play.



This gal spells trouble — but who cares?



Constance, with hair — and antennae — up.



The recipient of that gaze is hers forever!




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