R.I.P. Joan Fontaine and Tom Laughlin

December 16, 2013


The year is nearly done, but 2013 morbidly continues its celebrity death toll with the passings of Joan Fontaine and Billy Jack.

As confirmed by THR, Fontaine died of natural causes on Sunday at the age of 96. The legendary screen star was most famous for her Alfred Hitchcock parts, having starred and earned Academy Awards nominations for Rebecca and Suspicion. She also received a nod for her part in the 1943 Edmund Goulding drama The Constant Nymph, but it was her famed part in Suspicion that actually won her the award, triumphing over her rival and sister Olivia de Havilland and becoming the first and only actor to take home an Oscar for a Hitchcock film. With all that real life acclaim and family drama, expect a biopic announcement within the month.

Actor, director, writer, and activist Tom Laughlin, meanwhile, died Thursday at a Thousand Oaks hospital, having reportedly been ailing for several years. Laughlin's claim to fame: creating, directing, and starring as Billy Jack, unquestionably cinema's premier Vietnam vet half-Navajo martial arts-expert pacifist. Beginning with 1967's The Born Losers and continuing into Billy Jack, The Trial of Billy Jack, and Billy Jack Goes to Washington, Laughlin wore his iconic beaded hat four times, and had plans to continue the role even further. In 1986, following his term as Senator Billy Jack, he started shooting on The Return of Billy Jack, but ended up running out of funds roughly halfway through production. Originally intended as a vehicle for B.J. to take down a child pornography ring, a decade later, Laughlin hoped to re-launch the film as a critique on George W. Bush and his wars. Sadly, that never happened, but this sure did:

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