Was pregnant with daughter Melinda Markey while filming Little Women (1933).
Daughter of actors Richard Bennett and Adrienne Morrison
Younger sister of actresses Barbara Bennett and Constance Bennett.
Filming on She Wanted a Millionaire (1932) was interrupted for 6 months when Joan broke her leg in a fall from a horse.
She was nearsighted and wore glasses when not on public view.
Joan's hobbies: Interior decorating, gardening/horticulture, dog breeding, collecting miniature (model) horses.
Daughters: Adrienne Ralston Fox (became Diana Markey) born 20 February 1928; Melinda Markey born 27 February 1934; Stephanie Wanger, born 26 June 1943; Shelley Wanger, born 4 July 1948.
Her 78 feature-length films include three bit parts in silents and 6 TV-movies.
At the time of her death, Joan had 13 grandchildren. Her first two great-grandchildren were on the way - one of her grandsons and his wife were expecting twins.
She was one of only three cast members who appeared on Dark Shadows (1966) from the beginning to the end. She appeared on the first episode, June 27, 1966, as well as its last, April 2, 1971.
She made five films for Fritz Lang, more than any other American actor or actress who worked with him (many actors disliked working with Lang).
Was offered the role of Beth McCarthy in Cocoon (1985). Director Ron Howard wanted to reunite co-star Don Ameche with one of his former leading ladies and he thought of Joan. Unfortunately, she was in frail health at the time and supposedly turned down the role, a decision she later regretted when "Cocoon" became one of the biggest box office hits of 1985 and spawned a sequel. The part was played by Gwen Verdon. Miss Bennett did not, in fact, turn down the role. Rather, she was talked out of taking it by her fourth husband, David Wilde. Wilde insisted that the film too closely resembled the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). He also felt that it was beneath Miss Bennett's dignity to be working under "Opie Taylor" or "Richie Cunningham".
Her first grandchild, Amanda Anderson, was born in March, 1949 to daughter Diana.
Played Amy March in Little Women (1933) with Katharine Hepburn. She played Elizabeth Taylor's mother in Father of the Bride (1950). Taylor played Amy March in the remake: Little Women (1949).
Appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), although only in archive footage. The film that the characters in the movie go to see is Father of the Bride (1950), and a clip is show featuring Joan.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 82-84. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Lydia Simoneschi, including Father of the Bride (1950) and its sequel Father's Little Dividend (1951). She was occasionally dubbed by Lia Orlandini, Renata Marini and Tina Lattanzi.
Finalist for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in the classic Gone with the Wind (1939). Vivien Leigh got the role at the last minute. However, the film's producer, David O. Selznick offered to cast her oldest daughter, Diana in the role of Bonnie Blue Butler, Rhett and Scarlett's daughter as a sort of consolation prize. Miss Bennett refused the offer. In reality, Diana, who was 11 years old at the time of the film's premiere, was way too old for the role - the part called for a toddler.
Her grandfather, Morris W. Morris (an actor known as Lewis Morrison on stage), was of English and well-off Spanish ancestry. Joan Bennett spoke of this, in detail, in her 1970 autobiography "The Bennett Playbill". Morris had also served as a lieutenant during the Civil War.
Granddaughter of Rose Wood and the stage actor Lewis Morrison, birth name: Morris W. Morris (1845 - 1906).
Aunt of Gyl Roland, Lorinda Roland and Morton Downey Jr..
Was called "Doanie" by her grandchildren because, allegedly, one of her granddaughters could not say "Joanie" when she was younger.
At age 39, Bennett became Tinseltown's youngest and sexiest grandmother when her daughter gave birth. Marlene Dietrich, the former title holder, sent Bennett a telegram thanking her for taking the "heat off her".
Dians Productions, Bennett's production company, was named after her daughter Adrienne (a.k.a, Diana.).
Husband Walter Wanger shot Bennett's agent, Jennings Lang, in the groin in 1951 because he discovered they were having an affair and caught them in the act in Lang's car. Wanger was convicted of attempted murder and served a four-month sentence.
Ex-mother-in-law of Don Hayden.
She was a popular target of disdain in Hedda Hopper's gossip column. To get her point across Bennett mailed Hopper a skunk as a Valentines Day gift in 1950 with a note that read, "You Stink!".
She was a very active member of both the Hollywood Democratic Committee and The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League and donated her time and money to many liberal causes (such as the Civil Rights Movement) and political candidates (including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry Wallace, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter) during her lifetime.
Acting mentor and friend of David Selby.
From 1961 to 1964, Joan was romantically involved with Actor John Emery, and cared for him to the end of his final illness.
In her 1970 memoir, THE BENNETT PLAYBILL, Joan Bennett said that she found "the accent on trivia" in the press about the lives of celebrities never ceased to amaze her. In that same paragraph, she listed many of the pieces of personal trivia about herself that were reported in the press (and were true): she loved peanut butter, knocked on wood for luck, made a great hollandaise sauce, loved fresh flowers, hated turnips, slept in a nightgown, and favored "shocking pink and green." She was concerned that the focus on such minutiae overshadowed what she called "the current long-hair four-letter revolution" and the increasing presence of pornography in American culture.
Appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees Disraeli (1929), Little Women (1933) and Father of the Bride (1950) in three different decades.