Bad Beauties: The Bennett Sisters

Bad Beauties: The Bennett Sisters

Joan and Constance Bennett were silver screen, sisters. Born to act, they were fifth generation actors. The Bennett’s were just as distinguished as the Barrymore family, and could be just as “colorful”. Daddy, Richard Bennett was known to write scathing letters to newspapers whether they praised or criticized, his films. In fact, the entire family publicly argued with the press! Joan went head-to-head with famous, gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper. She sent Hedda a (de-scented) skunk, to her home..first class, I’m sure. Hedda gave the skunk to James Mason as a companion for his wife’s cats, but not before naming it, “Joan”. Constance glided through Hollywood, like a butterfly, with silver wings. In the 1930’s, Constance was on the cover of every fan and movie magazine and the subject of gossip columns due to her stormy, relationships. She was married four times…to high-profile men, like millionaires, handsome leading men, and even a Marquis! Like her father and sister, Constance loved a good fight. Whether with studio heads, the press, or critics. This temperament finally did her career, in. Her defiance alienated her from the people she had to work with, but she didn’t care about their opinions on the way up or on the way down. Joan Bennett never had any desire to become an actress, she wished only to be a wife and mother. Joan married at the age of 16, became a mother at 17, and was divorced, by the time she was 18 years old. In order to support herself and her baby, Joan decided to try acting until something better came along. She began as a her natural blonde, self but this led to ingenue, type-casting. She dyed her light locks, dark and immediately received more serious, roles. She was very much considered to play Scarlett O’Hara, but in the ’40’s, Joan became a bonafide film noir, babe. Being the femme fatale seems natural to Joan, when you see her movies, like Scarlett Street & The Woman in the Window. Maybe it was because she had the natural, “I don’t give a d&mn”, attitude! Whatever it was, she had it. Both sisters made successful stage & TV careers after film roles, stalled. Constance made her comeback in, Madame X with Lana Turner, in 1965. Unfortunately, Constance suddenly died of a brain hemorrhage, as the film was being released. Joan went on to star in, “Dark Shadows”, the classic cult, vampire/soap opera. Joan lived to 80 years old. The Bennett sisters were classic Hollywood, darlings. Their attitudes made them even bigger, stars. The Bennetts’ beauty, moxie, talent, and work will always be remembered.


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