Manhattan Co-op of Hollywood Icon Joan Fontaine – DIRT

Manhattan Co-op of Hollywood Icon Joan Fontaine – DIRT


A glamorous, beautifully detailed Upper East Side floor-through co-op, which once belonged to Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine, has been listed for sale. Asking $7.95 million, the four-bedroom apartment is on the fifth floor of a sought-after prewar building in the tony Lenox Hill neighborhood.

Fontaine is probably best remembered for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion,” for which she won a Best Actress Oscar in 1942. She is also remembered for her epic rivalry with her one-year-older sister, Olivia de Havilland, who is best known for her role as Melanie in “Gone with the Wind.” The sisters were famously at odds during their long lives; at the age of nine, Olivia was asked by her teacher to write a last will and testament. She wrote. “I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister, Joan, since she has none.” Meow! Olivia, who was annoyed she didn’t win an Oscar for “Gone with the Wind,” was even more annoyed when she was nominated again in 1942 and Joan won instead of her! Olivia did, however, go on to win two Oscars, so she won that race in the end.

Whatever beef she had with her big sis, Joan certainly had fine taste in apartments. Built in 1928, the co-op building, with just 20 residences, was also the home of socialite and Jackie-Kennedy-sister Lee Radziwill. A private elevator opens to a vestibule with handsome parquet flooring. Beyond that is a 30-foot long, high-ceilinged living room with a wood-burning fireplace and built-in bookcases. The library, with wood paneling and arched windows, also boasts a wood-burning fireplace, though the fireplace in the formal dining room is merely decorative. The windowed kitchen is spacious, especially for a Manhattan apartment, with a large island and top-of-the-line appliances. There’s a huge butler’s pantry to one side, and a laundry room and a guest or staff bedroom with marble bath on the other.

Down a long corridor that glistens with lacquered eggplant paint, the bedroom wing comprises three sleeping chambers; two en-suite guest bedrooms, one with a Juliet balcony that overlooks townhouse gardens, and the silk-carpeted primary suite, replete with a decorative fireplace and a marble bath. Of course, all the bedrooms have enough closet space to satisfy a Golden Age and/or modern-day Hollywood icon.

The grand residence is available via Leslie Coleman and Christina Lee at Brown Harris Stevens. Maintenance is a costly $11,220 a month; the sellers, a couple in finance, paid $8.67 million for the place in 2013.

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