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Olivia de Havilland

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The Snake Pit DVD Olivia de Havilland was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)... Shakespeare's sexy comedy of fairies and fickle love comes rollicking to life in... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Olivia Mary De Havilland, Olivia Dehavilland Died:
Born: July 1, 1916 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Japan Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the premiere leading ladies of Hollywood's Golden Age, actress Olivia de Havilland first became known for her roles as demure ingénues opposite cinema's most popular male stars. The older sister and professional contemporary of actress Joan Fontaine, de Havilland began her career as a contract star for Warner Bros. Pictures in 1935. Her breakout film, the swashbuckling adventure "Captain Blood" (1936) opposite Errol Flynn, was the first entry in one of filmdom's greatest romantic onscreen pairings. She appeared with Flynn in seven more features, including "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) and made history the following year with her role as the noble Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, best friend of flawed heroine Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) in the timeless classic "Gone with the Wind" (1939). Behind the scenes, a rumored sibling rivalry between her and Fontaine was the subject of Hollywood gossip for decades. The actress won her first Academy Award for her starring role in the melodrama "To Each His Own" (1946). Embracing flawed, unglamorous characters, de Havilland garnered acclaim for her work in "The Snake Pit" (1948) and picked up a second Oscar with "The Heiress" (1949). By the 1950s, de...

One of the premiere leading ladies of Hollywood's Golden Age, actress Olivia de Havilland first became known for her roles as demure ingénues opposite cinema's most popular male stars. The older sister and professional contemporary of actress Joan Fontaine, de Havilland began her career as a contract star for Warner Bros. Pictures in 1935. Her breakout film, the swashbuckling adventure "Captain Blood" (1936) opposite Errol Flynn, was the first entry in one of filmdom's greatest romantic onscreen pairings. She appeared with Flynn in seven more features, including "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) and made history the following year with her role as the noble Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, best friend of flawed heroine Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) in the timeless classic "Gone with the Wind" (1939). Behind the scenes, a rumored sibling rivalry between her and Fontaine was the subject of Hollywood gossip for decades. The actress won her first Academy Award for her starring role in the melodrama "To Each His Own" (1946). Embracing flawed, unglamorous characters, de Havilland garnered acclaim for her work in "The Snake Pit" (1948) and picked up a second Oscar with "The Heiress" (1949). By the 1950s, de Havilland's film output decreased substantially, with her appearance opposite fellow icon Bette Davis in "Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964) being one of her more notable late-career efforts. A true luminary of the silver screen, de Havilland would always be remembered for the elegance and grace she possessed both on and off camera.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Woman He Loved, The (1988) Bessie Merryman
3.
 Agatha Christie's Murder Is Easy (1982) Honoria Waynflete
4.
5.
 The Fifth Musketeer (1979) Queen Anne
6.
 Swarm, The (1978) Maureen Schuster
7.
 Airport '77 (1977) Emily Livingston
8.
 Screaming Woman, The (1972) Laura Wynant
9.
 Pope Joan (1972) Mother Superior
10.
 The Adventurers (1970) Deborah Hadley
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1919:
Moved to California with her mother and sister after parent's divorce
1933:
Appeared in local production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" while a freshman in college; seen by director Max Reinhardt and hired for his stage and screen versions of the play
1934:
Professional stage debut as Hermia in Max Reinhardt's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Hollywood Bowl
1935:
Made film debut in Max Reinhardt's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
1935:
Signed by Warner Bros. to a seven-year contract
1935:
First film released, "Alibi Ike"
1935:
First of eight co-starring appearances with Errol Flynn, "Captain Blood"; also first of nine collaborations with director Michael Curtiz
1939:
Received Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Melanie in "Gone With the Wind"; fellow cast member Hattie McDaniel carried off the prize
1941:
Last co-starring appearance with Errol Flynn, "They Died With Their Boots On"
1941:
Received Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for "Hold Back the Dawn"; lost to sister Joan Fontaine
1943:
Engaged in long-running dispute with Warner Bros. when they tried to add on the time she was suspended to her seven-year contract; her lawyer won the case and the court verdict became known as the de Havilland decision
1946:
Earned first Best Actress Oscar as a woman who gives her child up in "To Each His Own"
1948:
Nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award as an inmate in a mental institution in "The Snake Pit"
1949:
Won her second Oscar as Best Actress for "The Heiress"
:
Moved to Paris in mid-1950s after marriage to Pierre Galante
1958:
Ninth and last film with Curtiz, "Proud Rebel"
1962:
Starred on Broadway in "A Gift of Time"
1964:
Offered a marvelous turn as Bette Davis' conniving cousin in Robert Aldrich's "Hush¿ Hush, Sweet Charlotte"
1966:
TV debut in "Noon Wine" on "ABC Stage 67"
1972:
TV-movie debut in gothic horror story, "The Screaming Woman" (ABC)
1977:
Acted in "Airport '77"
1979:
Last feature to date, "The 5th Musketeer"
1979:
Played Mrs Warner in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations"
1986:
Received Golden Globe Award (and Emmy nomination) for her portrayal of the Dowager Empress Maria in the NBC miniseries "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna"
1988:
Last screen appearance to date as Wallace Simpson's Aunt Bessie in the CBS movie "The Woman He Loved"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Mills College: Oakland , California -
Notre Dame Convent: Belmont , California -

Notes

Received the Women's National Press Club Award in 1949.

She was thrice given the LOOK Magazine Award in 1941, 1948 and 1949.

De Havilland received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in 1998

Asked if she had ever been able to just sit back and watch "Gone With the Wind" objectively: "In times past, no. But that's exactly how I did it this time. It's the power of that movie to reach out and pull you, draw you in to the story, and into all the characters. I could identify with them all. I was identifying with Rhett! With Mammy! With the lot. It has a quality of intimacy in itself. You feel that you belong to them and they to you.

"There was one exception to that objectivity. I did remember what this film meant to both David and Irene Selznick, his wife at the time, and the immense emotional investment they put into that film. They had very high standards, and I kept thinking of Daivd's love for that film when we were making it. (She becomes teary-eyed.) In a way, it's a beautiful thing, not only to see that the film endures but all his [Selznick's] love and passion too."---Olivia de Havilland in LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 17, 1998.

About reading opposite George Cukor (as Scarlett O'Hara) for an audience of David O Selznick to earn the role of Melanie in "GWTW": "George gave a very pasionate performance, clutching the drapes. I thought it was the wildest spectacle imaginable, but a part of me kept control and played it as if Scarlett was there. It was a miracle that I managed to do it. And it was because of that scene that I was chosen."---Olivia de Havilland quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 22, 1998.

"Clark [Gable] was truly afraid of the role. He'd invested his whole career in it, and had more to lose than anyone. Everybody in America had an idea of Rhett Butler. And the question was whether Clark could fulfill their fantasies . . .

"I'm ashamed to say it. But while I admire Ashley, understand him and like his sense of principle, in the end, it's Rhett that I'd want.

"I think many women have asked themselves that question, which is one reason the film remains so vital. Actually, it seems more extraordinary than ever.

"I can't believe that at the end of this century, almost 60 years after we made it, it's still such a wonderful favorite. That makes me very happy, and very proud."---De Havilland to NEW YORK POST, June 22, 1998.

"I have taken a long vacation, but I wouldn't object to a fascinating part in a first-rate project, something I felt I could do well or would understand and interpret in an effective way. Then I would say, 'Yes.' The offers still come, but not what I'm looking for."---Olivia de Havilland, to Associated Press writer Bob Thomas in 1998

"I loved her. I loved everything she stood for. In those days the particular qualities that made her so admirable, and she's a deeply feminine person, were endangered and they are in a perpetual state of danger."---Olivia de Havilland on playing Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" to CNN.com, December 1, 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Howard Hughes. Producer, industrialist, aviator, inventor. Dated in the 1930s.
companion:
Jimmy Stewart. Actor. Dated in the 1940s; expected him to propose; when he didn't, terminated the relationship.
companion:
John Huston. Director, screenwriter, actor. Involved in the 1940s; reunited in 1950s after her divorce.
husband:
Marcus Aurelius Goodrich. Novelist. Married in 1946; divorced in 1952; born c. 1898 in Texas; died on October 20, 1991 of heart failure at age 93 in a Richmond, Virginia nursing home; great grandfather was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence; wrote the 1941 best-seller, "Delilah".
husband:
Pierre Galante. Magazine editor. Met at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival; married on April 2, 1955; divorced in 1979; editor of PARIS MATCH; moved back in with de Havilland c. 1998 after being hospitalized; died on September 25, 1998.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Walter Augustus de Havilland. Patent attorney. Divorced c. 1919.
mother:
Lillian Augusta Ruse. Actor. Divorced Walter de Havilland c. 1919; married George M Fontaine.
step-father:
George M Fontaine.
sister:
Joan Fontaine. Actor.
cousin:
Geoffrey de Havilland. Businessman. Founded de Havilland aviation company, a precursor of British Aerospace.
son:
Benjamin Briggs Goodrich. Statistical analyst, international banking representative. Born in 1949; died of heart disease brought on by treatment for Hodgkin's disease (with which he was diagnosed at age 19) in October 1991 at age 42 in Paris, France; father, Marcus Goodrich; worked for Lockheed Missile and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California and for the Texas Commerce Bank of Houston.
daughter:
Gisele Galante. Journalist, lawyer. Born in 1956; father, Pierre Galante.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Every Frenchman Has One"
"Olivia de Havilland" Pyramid Books

Contributions

neilelm ( 2006-11-30 )

Source: I'm a biographer of OLIVIA de HAVILLAND.

MILESTONES: Made her Broadway debut as Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET in March '51 at the Broadhurst theater opposite Douglas Watson as Romeo and Jack Hawkins as Mercutio. It ran only 45 performances but she took it on a successful national tour. Also toured with Shaw's CANDIDA in 1952 which ended its tour with a limited Broadway run.

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