Elizabeth Collins Stoddard was the matriarch of the Collins family in the 1960s and owner
of Collinwood and the Collins Fishing Fleet and Cannery. She was the mother of Carolyn
Elizabeth had a brother, Roger. Their father died in the mid-1940s and Elizabeth cried
When their father died, Elizabeth and Roger received an equal share of his inheritance.
Roger quickly spent the entirety of his half, having fun with the money and put his shares
in the family business up for public auction. Elizabeth was forced use some of her
remaining inheritance to buy up his shares herself in order to keep the company in the
Elizabeth's husband Paul left her in 1949 and she became a recluse, remaining at the
house until he returned. The same day, Elizabeth fired the entire staff of servents
at Collinwood maids, chauffer, gardener and brought on Matthew Morgan, a cannery worker,
to be the sole caretaker and do all of the heavy work around the house.
Six months later her daughter Carolyn was born.
In 1957, Roger testified against Burke Devlin in court, sending him to prison. Afterwards,
Roger agreed to leave Collinsport and Elizabeth sent him money every month in return.
Despite promising never to come back, Roger returned ten years later with his son, David,
to live at Collinwood.
Elizabeth was very fond of David and saw him as the heir apparent to the family business.
When his mother Laura returned, she was reluctant to let him go with her.
Elizabeth retained ownership of the Collins Fishing Fleet and Cannery until at least 1967.
Ned Calder managed the business for fifteen years until 1967 when he decided to resign.
His resignation came immediately following Elizabeth's regection of his offer of marriage.
She told him she hoped she never saw him again and he moved away to Portland to work at
another job. Elizabeth had hoped that Roger would take over as manager, but instead Bill
Malloy was promoted to fill in the position.
When Burke Devlin returned to Collinsport a few months later and started stirring trouble,
Liz feared that he'd try to financially destroy her, so she called called Ned and asked him
to return to work for her. He declined, refusing to return to work unless she changed her
mind about marrying him.
Liz made all of the important decisions with the business, speaking with Malloy every
morning. He also came up to see her at Collinwood once a week. In 1967, Liz approved a
machine which increased canning time but resulted in no layoffs.
The east wing of Collinwood was closed off in around 1916 and most of the house fell into
disuse. Elizabeth sucessfully petitioned to have the property tax reduced due to most of
the house being closed. The house was more of a liability than an asset and by 1967 it was
only Collins-owned property without a mortgage.
John Harris in Bangor managed all of the family banking. He and Elizabeth knew each other
for a long time, though she hadn't met with him at all from 1963 until 1967 when she called
him up to Collinwood to set up a trust fund for David. The creation of the trust fund made
money very tight as Elizabeth had tied up most of her assets to purchase Roger's side of
the company. This was a weakness that Burke Devlin had planned to exploit.
The Collins legal affairs were handled by Garner and Garner, a Bangor law firm headed up by
Richard Garner and Frank Garner.
In 1967, Elizabeth hired Victoria Winters from New York to come and be a governess and
companion for David. She told Carolyn that she brought Vicki there to give her (Carolyn) a
chance to get married and leave Collinwood.
Victoria was extemely curious about why she was chosen to tutor David, but Elizabeth was
very vague about it, merely saying someone recommended her. Eventually, Liz forced Roger
to play along and tell Vicki that an anonymous donor to the Hammond Foundling Home had
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard was brought to life by the late great actress, Joan Bennett.
Joan Geraldine Bennett was born on February 27, 1910, in Palisades, New Jersey. Her parents,
Richard Bennett and Adrienne Morrison, were both involved in the theater as actors. The
parents, especially her father, were very successful in their work, often touring the country
for weeks at a time. In fact, Joan came from a long lineage of actors, dating back to the
Often, when her parents were on tour, Joan and her two older sisters, Constance and Barbara
(both actresses) were left in the care of close friends. At the age of four, Joan made her
first stage appearance. Joan's first film was one year later in a production clled The
Valley of Decision, in which her father was the star and the entire Bennett family
participated in. In 1923, Joan again appeared in a film which starred her father, The
Eternal City. It would be five more years before Joan appeared on the screen.
In between, she married Jack Marion Fox, who was twenty-six years old (compared to her young
age of sixteen). The union was anything but happy, wth Fox drinking heavily. In February,
1928, Joan and Jack had a baby girl, who they named Adrienne. The new arrival did little
to help the marriage. In the summer of 1928, they divorced.
Now with a baby to support, Joan did something she had no intention of doing -- she turned to acting. She appeared in Power (1928) with Alan Hale, Sr. and Carole Lombard. Althogh it was a very small role,l it was a start. In 1929, she starred in Bulldog Drummond, sharing top billing with Ronald Colman. Before the year was out, she ws in three more films. Not only did theater patrons like her, so did the critics. Between 1930 and 1931, Joan appeared in nine more movies. In 1932, Joan starred opposite Spencer Tracy in She Wanted A Millionaire (production was interrupted for six months when Joan broke her leg in a fall from a horse). The film wasn't one that Joan like, and was also one which Tracy couldn't stand because everyone was paying more attention to joan than to him. Joan was to remain busy and popular throughout the remainder of the 1930's and into the 1940's. Her popularity growing, she made fourteen films under a Fox contract, mostly as blonde ingenues.
In 1933, she left Fox to appear in Little Women (which she filmed while pregnant with her second daughter, Melinda Markey). She then signed a personal contract with independent producer Walter Wanger, whom she later married and who managed her career from then on.
When Wanger made her a brunette for Trade Winds (1938), she change drastically altered her screen image from ingenue to smouldering temptress, and she became the queen of film-moir Femmes Fatales. Dark-haired for the rest of her career, she made her finest films in the 1940's, including Father of the Bride and Father's Little Dividend (both with old co-star Spencer Tracy).
By the 1950's, Joan was in her forties and beginning to slow down her filming. In December 1951, Wanger (by then her husband of eleven years) shot her agent in a jealous rage. The resulting scandal virtually ended Joan's film career.
After Desire in the Dust in 1960, Joan would be abent from movies for the next ten yeras, resurfacing in House of Dark Shadows, reprising her role from the TV series as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.
Through the 1960's and 1970's, she worked steadily in theatre and TV, starring for five years in Dark Shadows. Her final screen appearance was in 1977's Suspiria. Her final public performance was in television's Divorce Wars: A Love Story in 1982.
Joan with her Dark Shadows "Brother", Louis Edmonds at a fan festival
On December 7, 1990, Joan Bennett died of a heart attack in Scarsdale, New York. She was
80 years old, the mother of four daughters and grandmother of thirteen grandchildren.
She was buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Lyme, Connecticut.
JOAN BENNETT TRIVIA
**Her husbands: John ("Jack) Marion Fox (September 1926-August 1928) ... Gene Markey (March 1932-1938) ... Walter Wanger (January 1940-September 1965) ... David Wilde (February 1978 until her death in 1990)
**Her Daughters: Andrienne Ralston Fox (became Diana Markey), born Feb. 20, 1928 ... Melinda Markey, born February 27, 1934 ... Stephanie Wanger, born June 26, 1943 ... Shelley Wanger, born July 4, 1948
**Joan Sang in films with her own voice - she was never dubbed.
**Joan was near-sighted and wore glasses when not in public.
**Her career covered 78 feature-length films.
**Joan's hobbies: Interior Decorating, Gardening/Horticulture, Dog Breeding, Collecting Miniature Model Horses
Joan's Sister, Constance Bennett
Actress Constance Bennett ws born on February 27, 1910 in New York City. The one-time
wife of actor Gilbert Roland, she was a famous actress of the Silent Era, and worked
steadily until her death. She had three children: Peter Bennett Plant (born 1929),
Lorinda Roland (born December 1939) and Christina "Gyl" Roland (born December 1941).
She invested her money very wisely and founded a business marketing cosmetics and women's
wear in Cincinnati, Ohio.
She died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Fort Dix, New Jersey, on July 24, 1965. At the
time of her death, she had been married to husband U.S. Air Force Colonel John Theron
Coulter since 1946. Constance Bennett was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in
The Bennett Sisters, Joan and Constance
Joan's Sister, Barbara Bennett
Joan's sister Barbara Bennett was born in Palisades, New Jersey, on August 13, 1906.
Barbara was also an actress, but not nearly as well-known as her two sisters. She was
the wife of Morton Downey (and mother of Morton Downey, Jr., though he was estranged from
his aunts, Constance and Joan),
She died of a heart attack on August 8, 1958, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
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