Connect with us

‘Gone With The Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland dies at 104



‘Gone With The Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland dies at 104


Olivia de Havilland, one of the last living actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age, passed away at the age of 104.

According to her publicist, she died of natural causes in her house in Paris, where she had resided for more than 60 years.

De Havilland was a pioneer who established a popular link between today’s entertainment and the world of yesterday. The British actress became iconic after portraying the goodhearted Melanie Wilkes in 1939’s “Gone With the Wind” and became swashbuckler Errol Flynn’s principal leading woman, appearing with him seven times, the most famous of which was in “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

The delicate, spiritual beauty was De Havilland’s forte. She previously stated, “Playing bad girls is a bore. I have always had more luck with good-girl roles, because they require more from an actress .” The actor’s gentle appearance, however, concealed a core of steel.

De Havilland with Errol Flynn in Dodge City (1939). The pair had a strong on-screen chemistry

Aside from her cinematic career, she sparked a shakeup in Hollywood that had long-term ramifications. In 1943, she sued Warner Bros., her home studio, for extending her contract beyond the usual seven-year period. Other stars of the time, most notably Bette Davis, sought but failed to stop the forced extension. The case filed by De Havilland, which equated the extensions to indentured slavery, was successful. The “de Havilland law” stated that no studio may prolong a star’s contract beyond what had been agreed upon.


To Each His Own, a 1946 film about a mother attempting to retrieve a son she had given up for adoption, garnered De Havilland her first Academy Award. The second came three years later, for a powerful performance in The Heiress as a lady who is manipulated by her affluent father and deceived by her selfish boyfriend, but who ends up with the final, mocking laugh.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, labelled her as “an immeasurable talent”

The Academy remarked, “Here’s to a true legend of our industry.”


However, after moving to Paris in the mid-1950s, her screen credits began to diminish. She appeared in Lady in a Cage, Robert Aldrich’s Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte and the 1970s TV miniseries Roots: The Next Generation. She enjoyed teaching Sunday school at her local church away from the cameras.

De Havilland also famously declined the part of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951. Vivien Leigh was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance.

De Havilland had been a naturalized American living in Paris since 1953, having been born in Japan to English parents. After retirement, she made few public appearances before returning to Hollywood in 2003 to participate in the 75th Academy Awards presentation.

The actress was a staunch liberal in real life, and she battled radicalism on all sides of the political spectrum. She fought against Communist sympathizers in Hollywood, only to be dubbed “swimming-pool pink” by Time Magazine and summoned before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Even her late-career venture into the Golden-Era Gothic mini-genre launched by What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1964’s Lady in a Cage, harkened back to her early-career problems thematically. She portrayed a wealthy widow who was kidnapped by a group of violent hooligans and held captive in her mansion’s elevator. The picture was primarily about a lady bursting out of a box that others had placed her in, despite its clichéd luridness.

In 2008, she received the National Medal of Arts and came out of retirement to narrate the Alzheimer’s documentary I Remember Better When I Paint in 2009. She filed a lawsuit against the TV show Feud: Bette and Joan (about the feud between fellow actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford) in 2018, but the case was dismissed.

Popular Posts:



Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New Stories

Trending now

Popular Articles

Most Popular:

To Top