Joanie was our Bette Davis

Whenever Joan Vadeboncoeur reviewed a movie at a private press screening, she brought her own ashtray and chain-smoked through the entire film. She was a character who knew who she was and you could take it or leave it. She wore kids' socks with images of rabbits or offbeat stripe patterns. Whenever she reviewed a stage play, she'd be up out of her seat and out the door before the curtain call. Her affinity for cigarettes - having out-lived its politically correctness in recent years - was celebrated nonetheless by "Joanie's Smoke Break," a series of video interviews shot by Post-Standard feature writer Hart Seely.

Joan E. Vadeboncoeur died Jan. 4 at her Cazenovia home. She was 78.

"For me, Joanie was the last of those great iconic newspaper dames I saw in the movie houses of yesteryear, and in the films she so loved she almost certainly would've had to have been played by the great Bette Davis," said Frank Malfitano who worked with her on the 1986 tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen here and on the early-1990s downtown Walk of Stars. "No one else could have come close to capturing Joanie's presence and power on screen. She was a giant and Hollywood would've had to cast a giant to play her."

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