Olivia de Havilland passes away at 104: Star of Hollywood's golden age died peacefully of pure causes

by Jeremy Spirogis
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Havilland, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Joan Fontaine, died peacefully of pure causes& 

Paris: Olivia de Havilland, the doe-eyed actress beloved to hundreds of thousands because the sainted Melanie Wilkes of Gone With the Wind, but additionally a two-time Oscar winner and an off-screen fighter who challenged and unchained Hollywood’s contract system, died Sunday at her residence in Paris. She was 104. Havilland, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Joan Fontaine, died peacefully of pure causes, mentioned New York-based publicist Lisa Goldberg De Havilland was among the many final of the highest display performers from the studio period, and the final surviving lead from Gone With the Wind, an irony, she as soon as famous, for the reason that fragile, self-sacrificing Wilkes was the one main character to die within the movie.

The 1939 epic, primarily based on Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling Civil War novel and winner of 10 Academy Awards, is usually ranked as Hollywood’s field workplace champion (adjusting for inflation), though it’s now extensively condemned for its glorified portrait of slavery and antebellum life. The pinnacle of producer David O. Selznick’s profession, the film had a troubled off-screen story.

Three administrators labored on the movie, stars Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable have been way more related on display than off and the fourth featured performer, Leslie Howard, was overtly detached to the position of Ashley Wilkes, Melanie’s husband. But de Havilland remembered the film as “one of the happiest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It was doing something I wanted to do, playing a character I loved and liked.”

During a profession that spanned six many years, de Havilland additionally took on roles starting from an unwed mom to a psychiatric inmate in The Snake Pit, a private favorite. The dark-haired De Havilland projected each a mild, glowing heat and a way of resilience and mischief that made her uncommonly interesting, main critic James Agee to admit he was weak to Olivia de Havilland in each a part of my being besides the ulnar nerve.

She was Errol Flynn’s co-star in a sequence of dramas, Westerns and interval items, most memorably as Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood. But De Havilland additionally was a prototype for an actress too stunning for her personal good, typecast in candy and romantic roles whereas needing better challenges.

Her frustration lastly led her to sue Warner Bros. in 1943 when the studio tried to maintain her beneath contract after it had expired, claiming she owed six extra months as a result of she had been suspended for refusing roles. Her friend Bette Davis was amongst those that had did not get out of her contract beneath comparable circumstances within the 1930s, however de Havilland prevailed, with the California Court of Appeals ruling that no studio might prolong an settlement with out the performer’s consent.

The resolution continues to be unofficially referred to as the De Havilland regulation. De Havilland went on to earn her personal Academy Award in 1946 for her efficiency in To Each His Own, a melodrama about out-of-wedlock delivery.
A second Oscar got here three years later for The Heiress, by which she portrayed a plain younger homebody (as plain because it was potential to make de Havilland) reverse Montgomery Clift and Sir Ralph Richardson in an adaptation of Henry James’ Washington Square. 

In 2008, de Havilland acquired a National Medal of Arts and was awarded France’s Legion of Honor two years later. She was additionally well-known, not at all times for the higher, because the sister of Fontaine, with whom she had a troubled relationship.

In a 2016 interview, de Havilland referred to her late sister as Dragon Lady and mentioned her recollections of Fontaine, who died in 2013, have been multi-faceted, various from endearing to alienating.”On my part, it was always loving, but sometimes estranged and, in the later years, severed,” she mentioned.

“Dragon Lady, as I eventually decided to call her, was a brilliant, multi-talented person, but with an astigmatism in her perception of people and events which often caused her to react in an unfair and even injurious way.”

De Havilland as soon as noticed that Melanie Wilkes’ happiness was sustained by a loving, safe household, a blessing that eluded the actress even in childhood. She was born in Tokyo on July 1, 1916, the daughter of a British patent legal professional.

Her dad and mom separated when she was 3, and her mom introduced her and her youthful sister Joan, to Saratoga, California. De Havilland’s personal two marriages, to Marcus Goodrich and Pierre Galante, resulted in divorce.

Her appearing ambitions dated again to stage acting at Mills College in Oakland, California.
While getting ready for a faculty manufacturing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she went to Hollywood to see Max Reinhardt’s rehearsals of the identical comedy. She was requested by to learn for Hermia’s understudy, stayed with the manufacturing via her summer time trip and was given the position within the fall. 

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