Olivia de Havilland

Breetish-American actress

Olivia Mary de Havilland, DBE (born Julie 1, 1916; deed Julie 26, 2020[1]) wis an Breetish-American actress whase career spanned frae 1935 tae 1988. She kythed in fowerty-nine featur films, an wis ane o the leadin film stars in the gowden age o Clessical Hollywood. She is best kent for her early screen performances in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) an Gone with the Wind (1939), an her later awaird-winnin performances in To Each His Own (1946), The Snake Pit (1948), an The Heiress (1949). Born in Tokyo tae Inglis parents, de Havilland an her younger sister, actress Joan Fontaine, flittit tae Californie in 1919. Thay war raised bi thair mither Lilian, a umwhile stage actress wha taucht them dramatic airt, muisic, an elocution. De Havilland made her actin debut in amateur theatre in Alice in Wonderland an later appeared in a local production o Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, that led tae her playin Hermia in Max Reinhardt's stage production o the same play an a movie contract wi Warner Bros.

Olivia de Havilland

de Havilland in 1945
BornOlivia Mary de Havilland
1 Julie 1916(1916-07-01)
Tokyo, Japan
Dee'd26 Julie 2020(2020-07-26) (aged 104)
Paris, Fraunce
Restin place
Ither namesLivvie
Years active1935–1989
  • Marcus Goodrich (m. 1946; div. 1953)
  • Pierre Galante (m. 1955; div. 1979)
  • Benjamin Goodrich (1949–91)
  • Gisèle Galante (b. 1956)
KinJoan Fontaine (sister, 1917–2013)
AwairdsSee ablo

De Havilland made her screen debut in Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1935. She began her career playin demure ingénues alang wi popular leadin men, includin Errol Flynn, wi wham she made aicht films. Thay became ane o Hollywood's maist popular romantic on-screen pairins. She achieved her initial popularity in romantic comedy films, lik The Great Garrick (1937), an in Westerns, sic as Dodge City (1939). Her naitural beauty an primsie actin style made her parteecularly feckfu in historical period dramas, lik Anthony Adverse (1936), an romantic dramas, lik Hold Back the Dawn (1941). In her later career, she wis maist sonsie in drama films, lik Light in the Piazza (1962), an unglamorous roles in psychological dramas includin Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).

As well as her film career, de Havilland continued her wirk in the theatre, appearin three times on Broadway, in Romeo and Juliet (1951), Candida (1952), an A Gift of Time (1962). She wirkit in telly an aw, appearin in the sonsie miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations (1979), an telly featur films, sic as Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, for whilk she received a Primetime Emmy Award. Outthrou her film career, de Havilland wan twa Academy Awards, twa Gowden Globe Awairds, twa New York Film Critics Circle Awairds, the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, an the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup. For her contreibutions tae the motion pictur industry, she received a starn on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her lifetime contreibution tae the arts, she received the Naitional Medal o Airts frae Preses George W. Bush, an wis appyntit a Chevalier o the Légion d'honneur bi French Preses Nicolas Sarkozy.

Efter romantic relationships wi Howard Hughes, James Stewart, an John Huston, de Havilland mairit author Marcus Goodrich, wi wham she haed a son, Benjamin. Follaein her divorce frae Goodrich in 1953, she flittit tae Paris an mairit Pierre Galante, an executive eeditor for the French jurnal Paris Match, wi wham she haed a dauchter, Gisèle. In 1962 she published Every Frenchman Has One, an accoont o her life in Fraunce. De Havilland an Joan Fontaine are the anly siblings tae hae wan Academy Awairds in a lead actin category. A lifelang rivalry atween the twa resultit in an estrangement that lestit ower three decade. She haes steyed in Paris syne 1956, an celebrate her 100t birthday on Julie 1, 2016.[2] On 26 Julie 2020, it wis propaled that de Havilland haed deed the previous day at her hame in Paris, aged 104.

Early life


De Havilland wis born on Julie 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, tae Inglis parents.[3] Her faither, Walter Augustus de Havilland (August 31, 1872 – Mey 23, 1968), serd as an Inglis professor at the Imperial Varsity in Tokyo afore becomin a patent attorney.[3] Her mither, Lilian Augusta (née Ruse; Juin 11, 1886 – Februar 20, 1975),[4] wis educate at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in Lunnon an became a stage actress.[3] Lilian sang wi the Master of the Keeng's Music, Sir Walter Parratt an aa, an toured Ingland wi the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.[5] Olivia's paternal cousin wis Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882–1965),[6] an aircraft designer an foonder o the de Havilland aircraft company.[7] Lilian an Walter met in Japan in 1913 an war mairit the follaein year.[8] Thay flittit intae a lairge hoose in Tokyo, whaur Lilian gae informal sangin recitals for the European colony.[8] The marriage wisnae a happy ane due in pairt tae Walter's infidelities.[9] Olivia's younger sister Joan‍—‌later kent as actress Joan Fontaine‍—‌wis born on October 22, 1917.[10] In Februar 1919 Lilian persuaded her guidman tae tak the faimily back tae Ingland tae a climate better suited for thair ailin dauchters.[9] Thay sailed abuird the SS Siberia Maru tae San Francisco,[10] whaur the faimily stoppit tae treat Olivia's tonsillitis.[11] Efter Joan developed pneumonia, Lilian decidit tae remain wi her dauchters in Californie, whaur thay hinderly settled in the veelage o Saratoga, 50 mile (80 km) sooth o San Francisco.[12][Note 1] Her faither abandoned the faimily an returned tae his Japanese hoosekeeper, that hinderly became his seicont wife.[12][16]

Olivia wis raised tae appreciate the arts, beginnin wi ballet lessons at the age o fower, an piano lessons a year later.[17] She learned tae read afore she wis sax,[18] an her mither, wha occasionally taucht dramatic airt, muisic, an elocution,[19] haed her recitin passages frae Shakespeare tae strenthen her diction.[17][Note 2] In this period, her younger sister Joan first stairtit cawin her "Livvie"‍—‌a eikname that wad lest ootthrou her life.[17] De Havilland entered Saratoga Grammar School in 1922 an did weel in her studies.[14] She enjoyed readin, writin poetry, an drawin, an ance representit her grammar schuil in a coonty spellin bee, comin in seicont place.[14] In 1923 Lilian haed a new Tudor-style hoose biggit at 231 La Paloma Avenue (nou 20250),[14][21] whaur the faimily bidit till the early 1930s.[22]

In Aprile 1925, efter her divorce wis finalized, Lilian mairit George Milan Fontaine, a depairtment store manager for O. A. Hale & Co. in San Jose.[23] Fontaine wis a guid provider an respectable businessman, but his strict parentin style generated animosity an later rebellion in baith o his new stepdauchters.[24][Note 3]

Olivia de Havilland appearin in the stage play Alice in Wonderland, 1933

De Havilland continued her eddication at Los Gatos High School, near Saratoga.[24] Thare she excelled in oratory an field hockey an participated in schuil plays an the schuil drama club, eventually becomin the club's secretary.[26] Wi plans o becomin a Inglis an speech dominie,[24] she an aa attendit Notre Dame Convent in Belmont.[27] In 1933 de Havilland made her debut in amateur theatre in Alice in Wonderland, a production o the Saratoga Community Players based on the novel bi Lewis Carroll.[26] She appeared in several schuil plays an aa, includin The Merchant of Venice an Hansel and Gretel.[28] Her passion for drama eventually led tae a confrontation wi her stepfaither, wha forbade her frae pairteecipatin in further extracurricular activities.[29] Whan he learned that she haed wan the lead role o Elizabeth Bennet in a schuil fund-raisin production o Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, he gae her an ultimatum tae aither stay hame or nae return hame.[29] Nae wantin tae lat her schuil an clessmates doun, she left hame forever, flittin in wi a faimily friend.[29]

Efter graduatin frae heich schuil in 1934, de Havilland wis offered a scholarship tae Mills College in Oakland tae pursue her chosen career as an Inglis teacher.[30] She wis offered the role o Puck in the Saratoga Community Theater production o Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream an aa.[26] That simmer, Austrick director Max Reinhardt came tae Californie for a major new production o the same play tae premiere at the Hollywood Bowl.[30] Efter ane o Reinhardt's assistants saw her perform in Saratoga, he offered her the seicont unnerstudy poseetion for the role o Hermia.[30] Ane week afore the premiere, the unnerstudy Jean Rouverol an lead actress Gloria Stuart baith left the project, leavin echteen-year-auld de Havilland tae play Hermia.[30] Impressed wi her performance, Reinhardt offered her the pairt in the fower-week hairst tour that follaed.[30] While that tour wis on, Reinhardt received wird that he wad direct the Warner Bros. film version o his stage production, an he offered her the film role o Hermia. Wi her mind still set on becomin a teacher, de Havilland initially wavered, but eventually Reinhardt an executive producer Henry Blanke persuaded her tae sign a five-year contract wi Warner Bros. on November 12, 1934, wi a stairtin salary o twa hunder dollars a week.[31]



Early films, 1935–37


De Havilland made her screen debut in Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream,[32] whilk wis filmed at Warner Bros. studios frae December 19, 1934, tae March 9, 1935.[33] Throuch the production, de Havilland picked up film actin techniques frae the film's co-director William Dieterle, an camera techniques frae cinematographer Hal Mohr, wha wis impressed wi her quaistiens aboot his wirk.[34] Bi the end o filmin, she haed learned the effect o lichtin an camera angles on hou she appeared on screen an hou tae find her best lichtin.[34] Follaein premieres in New York an Beverly Hills, the film wis released on October 30, 1935.[33] In maugre o the publicity campaign, the film luntit little greeshoch wi audiences.[32] While the creetical response wis mixed, de Havilland's performance wis praised bi The San Francisco Examiner creetic.[35] In his review in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Winston Burdett notit that de Havilland "acts couthie an daes greater juistice tae Shakespeare's leid nor onybody ense in the cast".[36] Twa minor comedies follaed, Alibi Ike wi Joe E. Brown an The Irish in Us wi James Cagney.[37] In baith films, she played the douce an winsome luve interest‍—‌a role intae whilk she wad later become typecast.[38] Efter the experience o bein a Reinhardt player, de Havilland felt disappyntit bein assigned thir routine heroine roles.[32][39] In Mairch, de Havilland an her mither flittit intae a flat at the Chateau des Fleurs at 6626 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood.[40]

Publicity photo, 1935

In Julie 1935 Warner Bros. paired de Havilland wi an unkent Australie actor named Errol Flynn in the swashbuckler film Captain Blood (1935).[41] Accordin tae film historian Tony Thomas, baith actors haed "classic guid leuks, cultured speakin vyces, an a sense o distant aristocracy aboot them".[42] Filmed atween August 5 an October 29, 1935,[43] Captain Blood gae de Havilland the opportunity tae appear in her first costumed historical romance an adventur epic‍—‌a genre tae whilk she wis weel suitit, gien her brawness an elegance.[44] In the film, she played Arabella Bishop, the dauchter o a Jamaica plantation ainer, wha coffs at auction an Erse pheesician wrang duimed tae servitude. The on-screen chemistry atween de Havilland an Flynn wis evident frae thair first scenes thegither,[44] whaur clashes atween her chairacter's spiritit hauteur an his chairacter's playful braggadocio didna mask thair mutual attraction tae ilk anither.[45][Note 4] Unlik her twa previous roles, Arabella is a feisty young woman wha kens whit she wants an is willin tae fecht for it.[46] The banterin tone o thair exchanges in the film‍—‌the kneef gie-and-tak an mutual respect‍—‌became the basis for thair on-screen relationship in follaein films.[45] Captain Blood wis released on December 28, 1935,[43] an received guid reviews an wide public appeal.[47] De Havilland's performance wis singled oot in The New York Times an Variety.[48][49] The film wis nominatit for fower Academy Awairds, includin Best Pictur.[50] The popular success o the film, as weel as the creetical response tae the on-screen couple, led tae seiven addeetional collaborations.[44]

In 1936 de Havilland appeared in Mervyn LeRoy's historical period drama Anthony Adverse wi Fredric March.[51] Based on the popular novelle bi Hervey Allen, the film follaes the adventures o an orphan raised bi a Scottish merchant, whase pursuit o fortune separates him frae the innocent paisant lass he luves, mairries, an hinderly loses.[52] De Havilland played the paisant girl Angela wha, efter bein separatit frae her sclave trader guidman, becomes opera starn Mademoiselle Georges, the mistress o Napoleon.[53] The film earned sax Academy Awaird nominations, includin Best Picture.[54] It garnered de Havilland guid exposure an aa an the opportunity tae portray a chairacter as she develops ower time.[55] Howard Barnes o the New York Herald Tribune foond her later scenes as Mademoiselle Georges "not very credible",[56] but Frank S. Nugent o The New York Times cried her "a winsome Angela".[57] That same year, she wis reunitit wi Flynn in Michael Curtiz's period action film The Charge of the Light Brigade, set during the Crimean War[58][59] whilk gied thrive at the box office.[60] While the film wis bein produced, de Havilland renegotiatit her contract wi Warner Bros. an signed a seiven-year contract on Aprile 14, 1936, wi a stairtin weekly salary o five hunder dollar (equivalent to $9,200 in 2019).[61][Note 5] Toward the end o the year, twinty-year-auld de Havilland an her mither muived tae 2337 Nella Vista Avenue in the Los Feliz section o Los Angeles.[63]

In Call It a Day, 1937

In 1937 de Havilland haed her first tap billin in Archie Mayo's comedy Call It a Day,[64] aboot a middle cless Inglis faimily chauvin wi the romantic effects o ware fiver in the course o a single day.[65] De Havilland played dochter Catherine Hilton, wha faws in luve wi the eesome airtist hired tae paint her portrait.[65] The film didnae dae weel at the box office an did little tae advance her career.[66] She fared better in Mayo's screwball comedy It's Love I'm After wi Leslie Howard an Bette Davis.[67] De Havilland played Marcia West, a young debutante an theater fan enamored wi a Barrymore-lik matinee idol wha decides tae help the lass' fiancé bi pretendin tae be an abominable cad.[68] The film received guid reviews, wi Variety cryin it "fresh, clever, excellently directit an produced, an actit bi an ensemble that clicks frae stairt tae finish", an praisin de Havilland.[69]

That same year, de Havilland made twa mair period films, beginnin wi The Great Garrick, a feectional romantic comedy aboot the echteent-century Inglis actor's encounter wi jealous players frae the Comédie-Française wha plot tae embarrass him on his wey tae Paris.[70] Wise tae thair pliskie, Garrick plays alang wi the whimple determined tae get the last lauch‍—‌even on a luesome young aristocrat, de Havilland's Germaine Dupont, wham he mistakenly believes tae be ane o the players.[71] With her refined demeanor an diction,[66] de Havilland delivers a performance that is "lichthertit an thoroughly believable", accordin tae Judith Kass.[72] Variety praised the film, cryin it "a production o superlative wirkmanship".[73][74]

In maugre o the positive reviews, the film didna dae sae weel at the box office.[74][Note 6] Her final film that year wis Michael Curtiz's romantic drama Gold Is Where You Find It,[77] a film aboot the late nineteent century conflict in the Sacramento Valley atween gowd miners an thair hydraulic equipment an farmers whase land is bein fluidit.[78] De Havilland played the dauchter o a fermer, Serena Ferris, wha faws in luve wi the minin engineer responsible for the fluidin.[79] The film wis released in Februar 1938,[80] an wis her first appearance in three-strip Technicolor.[77]

Movie starndom, 1938–40


In September 1937 de Havilland wis selectit bi Warner Bros. studio heid Jack L. Warner tae play Maid Marian opposite Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).[81] The Technicolor production wis filmed on location atween September 26, 1937, an Januar 14, 1938, at Bidwell Park, Busch Gardens, an Lake Sherwood in Californie.[82] Directit bi William Keighley an Michael Curtiz, the film is aboot the legendary Robin Hood, a Saxon knicht wha oppones the corrupt an brutal Prince John an his Norman lords while guid Keeng Richard is awa fechtin in the Third Crusade.[83] The Keeng's waird, Maid Marian, initially oppones Robin but later supports him efter learnin his true intentions o helpin his doun-hauden fowk.[84] [85] Nae barelins staunin bi the events, Marian risks her life tae save Robin bi providin his men a plan for him tae win frae.[86] As defined bi de Havilland, Marian is baith a beautifu fairy-tale heroine an a speerity, gleg woman "whase actions are govrened bi her mynd as well as her hert", accordin tae author Judith Kass.[87] The Adventures of Robin Hood wis released on Mey 14, 1938,[82] an wis an immediate creetical an commercial success, earnin an Academy Awaird nomination for Best Pictur.[88] It went on tae become ane o the maist faur ben adventur films o the Clessical Hollywood era.[88][89]

The popularity o The Adventures of Robin Hood brocht de Havilland a new level o fame as a film starn, but this new status wisnae reflectit in her subsequent film assignments at Warner Bros.[66] Her neist several roles war mair routine an less challengin.[66] In the romantic comedy Four's a Crowd (1938), de Havilland played Lorri Dillingwell, a dizzy rich lass bein romanced bi a conneevin PR man leukin tae land an accoont wi her eccentric grandfaither.[90] In Ray Enright's romantic comedy Hard to Get (1938), she played anither dizzy rich girl, Margaret Richards, whase desire tae exact revenge on a gas station attendant leads tae her ain comeuppance.[91] While de Havilland wis certainly capable o playin thir kinds o chairacters, her personality wis better suitit tae stranger an mair dramatic roles, accordin tae Judith Kass.[92] Bi this time, de Havilland haed serious doubts aboot her career at Warner Bros.[93][94]

Some film scholars conseider 1939 tae be the heich pynt o the gowden age o Clessical Hollywood,[95] producin classics in mony genres, includin the Western.[96][Note 7] Warner Bros. produced Michael Curtiz's sprawlin Technicolor adventur Dodge City, Flynn an de Havilland's first Western film.[96] Set in the American Ceevil War, the film is aboot a Texas trailblazer wha witnesses the brutal lawlessness o Dodge City, Kansas, an becomes sheriff tae clean up the toun. De Havilland played Abbie Irving, whase ineetial hostility taewart Flynn's chairacter Wade Hatton is transformed bi events, an the twa faw in luve‍—‌bi nou a proven formula for thair on-screen relationships.[97] Curtiz's action sequences, Sol Polito's cinematografie, Max Steiner's expansive film score, an mibbes the "definitive saloon brawl in movie history"[96] aw contreibutit tae the film's sonse.[98] Variety describit the film as "a lusty western, packed wi action".[99] For de Havilland, playin yet ane mair supportin luve interest in a leemitit role, Dodge City representit the emotional law pynt o her career tae that pynt.[100] She later said, "I wis in such a depressed state that I could haurdly remember ma lines."[97]

Studio publicity portrait for Gone with the Wind, 1939

In a letter tae a colleague datit November 18, 1938, film producer David O. Selznick wrote, "I would gie onything if we haed Olivia de Havilland unner contract tae us sae that we could cast her as Melanie."[101] The film he wis preparin tae shuit wis Gone with the Wind, an Jack L. Warner wis unwillin tae lend her oot for the project.[102] De Havilland haed read the novelle, an unlik maist ither actresses, wha wantit the Scarlett O'Hara role, she wantit tae play Melanie Hamilton‍—‌a chairacter whase quiet dignity an inner strenth she unnerstuid an felt she coud bring tae life on the screen.[103] De Havilland turned tae Warner's wife Anne for help.[102] Warner later myndit, "Olivia, wha haed a harn lik a computer concealed ahint thae fawn-lik ees, simply went tae the wife an thay jyned forces tae chynge ma mynd."[104] Warner relentit, an de Havilland wis signed tae the project a few week afore the stairt o principal photografie on Januar 26, 1939.[105]

Set in the American Sooth in the nineteent century, the film is aboot the strang-willed dauchter o a Georgie plantation ainer in luve wi the guidman o her sister-in-law, Melanie, whase kyndness staunds in shairp contrast tae thaim that's aroond her. Accordin tae film historian Tony Thomas, de Havilland's skeelie an suttle performance feckfu presents this chairacter o selless luve an quiet strenth in a wey that keeps her vital an interestin ootthrou the film.[106] Gone with the Wind haed its warld premiere in Atlanta, Georgie, on December 15, 1939, an wis weel received.[105] Frank S. Nugent o The Times wrote that de Havilland's Melanie "is a gracious, dignified, tender gem o chairacterisation",[107] an John C. Flinn, Sr., in Variety cried her "a staundoot".[108] The film wan ten Academy Awairds, includin Best Picture, an de Havilland received her first nomination for Best Supportin Actress.[109][110]

Melanie wis someone different. She haed very, deeply feminine qualities ... that I felt war very endangered at that time, an thay are frae generation tae generation, an that somehou thay should be kept alive, an ... that's why I wantit tae interpret her role. ... The main thing is that she wis always thinkin o the ither person, an the interestin thing tae me is that she wus a happy person ... luvin, compassionate.[14]

— Olivia de Havilland
Studio publicity portrait for Santa Fe Trail, 1940

Within days o completin her wirk in Gone with the Wind in Juin 1939, de Havilland returned tae Warner Bros. an began filmin Michael Curtiz's historical drama The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex wi Bette Davis an Errol Flynn.[111] She haed howpit her wirk on Selznick's prestige pictur wad lead tae first-rate roles at Warner Bros., but insteid she received third billin ablo the teetle as the Queen's lady-in-waitin.[112] In early September, she wis lent oot tae Samuel Goldwyn Productions for Sam Wood's romantic caper film Raffles wi David Niven,[113] aboot a heich society cricketer an jewel thief.[114] De Havilland wad later complain, "I haed nothin tae dae wi that style o film."[115] In early 1940 de Havilland refused tae appear in several films assigned tae her, initiatin the first o her suspensions at the studio.[115] She greed tae play in Curtis Bernhardt's muisical comedy drama My Love Came Back wi Jeffrey Lynn an Eddie Albert, wha played a clessical muisic student turned swing jazz bandleader.[115] De Havilland played violinist Amelia Cornell, whase life becomes complicate bi the support o a wealthy sponsor.[115][Note 8] In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther describit the film as "a featherlicht frolic, a rollickin roondelay o deliciously pyntit nonsense", notin that de Havilland "plays the pairt wi pace an wit".[117]

That same year, de Havilland wis reunitit wi Flynn in thair seivent film thegither, Michael Curtiz's Western adventur Santa Fe Trail, set again the backdrop o aboleetionist John Brown's fanatical anti-slavery attacks in the days leadin up tae the American Ceevil War.[118] The maistly feectional story follaes West Pynt cadets J. E. B. Stuart, played bi Flynn, an George Armstrong Custer, played bi Ronald Reagan, as thay mak thair wey wast‍—‌baith vyin for the affection o de Havilland's Kit Carson Hawiday.[118] Unalik some o her umwhile adventur film roles, Kit is a vital, interestin, an confident chairacter wha kens her mynd an plays a pivotal role in the story.[119] Playin Kit in a provocative, tongue-in-cheek manner, de Havilland creates a chairacter o real substance an dimension, accordin tae Tony Thomas.[120] Follaein a warld premiere on December 13, 1940, at the Lensic Theatre in Santa Fe, New Mexico‍—‌attendit bi cast members, reporters, the govrenor, an ower 60,000 fans[121]‍—‌Santa Fe Trail gaed on tae become ane o the tap grossin films o 1940.[122] De Havilland, wha accompanied Flynn on the weel-publicized train ride tae Santa Fe, didnae attend the premiere, haein been diagnosed wi appendicitis that mornin an rushed intae surgery.[121]

War years, 1941–44


Follaein her emergency surgery, de Havilland began a lang period o convalescence in a Los Angeles hospital in whilk time she rejectit several scripts offered tae her bi Warner Bros., leadin tae anither suspension.[123] In 1941 she appeared in three commercially sonsie films, beginnin wi Raoul Walsh's romantic comedy The Strawberry Blonde wi James Cagney.[124] Set in the Gay Nineties, the story involves a man wha mairries an ootspoken forspeaker for weemen's richts efter a rival steals his glamorous "straeberry blonde" lass, an later discovers he endit up wi a luvin an unnerstaundin wife.[125] De Havilland's performance revealed a growin confidence playin comedic roles, an a real talent for combinin the qualities o kyndness an luve wi a refined sense o coorseness, accordin tae film historian Tony Thomas.[126] The film wis a creetical an commercial success.[126] In Mitchell Leisen's romantic drama Hold Back the Dawn wi Charles Boyer for Paramount Pictures, de Havilland transitioned tae a different teep o role for her‍—‌an ordinary, decent smaw-toun teacher whase life an sexuality is awakened bi a sophisticatit European gigolo, whase ain life is positively affectit bi her luve.[127] Leisen's carefu direction an guidance appealed tae de Havilland‍—‌ a fair feck mair nor the wirkmanlik approach o her Warner Bros. directors.[128] Bosley Crowther o The New York Times writ, "Olivia de Havilland plays the schuil teacher as a woman wi romantic fancies whase honesty an pride are her ain‍—‌an the film's‍—‌chief support. Incidentally, she is excellent."[129] Her performance earned de Havilland her seicont Academy Awaird nomination‍—‌this time for Best Actress.[130]

In Julie 1941 de Havilland wis reunitit wi Errol Flynn for thair aicht an final film thegither, Raoul Walsh's Western adventur epic They Died with Their Boots On. The film is loosely based on the courtship an mairriage o George Armstrong Custer an Elizabeth "Libbie" Bacon.[131] Flynn an de Havilland haed a fawin oot the previous year‍—‌mainly ower the roles she wis bein gien‍—‌and she didnae intend tae wirk wi him again.[132] Even Flynn acknawledged, "She wis sick tae daith o playin 'the lass' an badly wantit a few guid roles tae shaw hersel an the warld that she wis a fine actress."[133] Efter she learned frae Warner that Flynn haed come tae his office sayin he needit her in the film, de Havilland acceptit.[123] Screenwriter Lenore Coffee wis brocht in fur tae add several romantic scenes, an impruive the oweraw dialogue.[123] The result is a film that includes some o thair finest wirk thegither.[134] Thair last appearance on screen is Custer's farewell tae his wife.[135] "Errol was quite sensitive," de Havilland wad later mind, "I think he knew it would be the last time we worked together."[135] Flynn's final line in that scene wad hauld special meanin for her: "Walkin throu life wi you, ma'am, haes been a very gracious thing."[136] They Died with Their Boots On wis released on November 21, 1941, an while some reviewers creeticised the film's historical inaccuracies, maist applaudit the action sequences, cinematografie, an actin.[137] Thomas M. Pryor o The New York Times foond de Havilland "altogether captivating".[138] The film wad earn $2,550,000 (equivalent to $44,300,000 in 2019), Warner Bros.'s seicont biggest money-makker o that year.[139]

In 1942 de Havilland appeared in Elliott Nugent's romantic comedy The Male Animal wi Henry Fonda, aboot an idealistic professor fechtin for academic freedom while tryin tae hauld ontae his job an his wife Ellen. While her role wisnae parteecularly challengin, de Havilland's delineation o an gleg, guid-naiturt woman tryin tae redd up the mismakfu circumstances o her life played a major pairt in the film's success, accordin tae Tony Thomas.[140] The film wis a creetical an commercial success, wi Bosley Crowther o The Times notin that de Havilland "concocts a delichtfully pliant an saucy character as the wife".[141] That year, she appeared in John Huston's drama In This Our Life wi Bette Davis an aa.[142] Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winnin novelle o the same name bi Ellen Glasgow, the story is aboot twa sisters whase lifes is connacht bi the anger an jealousy o ane o the sisters.[142] Crowther gae the film a negative review, but notit de Havilland's "wairm an easy performance".[143] Whan production wis on, de Havilland an Huston began a romantic relationship that wad last three years.[144]

Accordin tae de Havilland, ane o the few truly satisfeein roles she played for Warner Bros. wis the teetle chairacter in Norman Krasna's romantic comedy Princess O'Rourke (1943) wi Robert Cummings.[145] Filmed in Julie an August 1942,[146] the story is aboot a European princess in Washington, D.C., veesitin her diplomat uncle, wha is tryin tae find her an American husband. Intent on mairyin a man o her ain chuisin, she boards a plane heidin wast an ends up fawin in luve wi an American pilot wha is wanawaur o her true identity.[147][Note 9][147] The film wis released on October 23, 1943,[146] an did weel at the box office.[149] Bosley Crowther cried it "a film which is in the best tradeetion o American screen comedy", an foond de Havilland's performance "charming".[150]

I wantit tae dae complex roles, lik Melanie for example, an Jack Warner saw me as an ingénue. I wis really restless tae portray mair developed human beins. Jack niver unnerstuid this, an ... he would gie me roles that really haed no chairacter or quality in them. I knew I wouldna even be effective.[151]

— Olivia de Havilland

Efter fulfillin her seiven-year Warner Bros. contract in 1943, de Havilland wis informed that sax month haed been addit tae her contract for times she haed been on suspension.[152] The law then allaed studios tae suspend contract players for rejectin a role, an the period o suspension coud be addit tae the contract period.[153] Maist contract players acceptit this, but a few tried tae chynge the seestem, includin Bette Davis, wha muntit a wansonsie law-plea again Warner Bros. in the 1930s.[154] On August 23, 1943, on the advice o her lawyer, Martin Gang, de Havilland teuk Warner Bros. tae court,[155][156] citin an existin California labor law that forbade an employer frae enforcin a contract against an employee for langer than seiven year.[157] In November 1943 the Californie Superior Coort foond in de Havilland's favor, an Warner Bros. immediately appealed.[158] On December 8, 1944, the Californie Coort o Appeals for the Seicont Destrict ruled in her favor.[156][Note 10] The deceesion wis ane o the maist significant an far-reakin legal rulins in Hollywood, reducin the pouer o the studios an stendin greater creative freedom tae performers.[160] Californie's resultin "seiven-year rule", forby kent as Labor Code Section 2855, is still kent the day as the De Havilland Law.[160] Her legal victory, whilk cost her $13,000 (equivalent to $190,000 in 2019) in legal fees, wan de Havilland the respect an admiration o her peers, amang them her ain sister Joan Fontaine, wha later commentit, "Hollywood awes Olivia a great deal."[161] Warner Bros. reactit tae de Havilland's lawsuit bi circulatin a letter tae ither studios that haed the effect o a "virtual blacklistin".[155] As a consequence, de Havilland didnae wirk at a film studio for naur twa year.[155]

At the Naval Air Station in Kodiak, Alaska, Mairch 20, 1944

De Havilland became a naituralised ceetizen o the Unitit States on November 28, 1941.[162][163] Throu the war years, she actively socht oot weys tae express her patriotism an contreibute tae the war effort. In Mey 1942 she jyned the Hollywood Victory Caravan, a three-week train tour o the kintra that raised money throu the sale o war bonds.[164] Later that year, she began attendin events at the Hollywood Canteen, meetin an dancin wi the troops.[165] In December 1943 de Havilland jyned a Unitit Service Organisations tour that traivelt atouer the Unitit States, Alaska, an the Sooth Paceefic, veesitin woondit soldiers in militar hospitals.[153][14] She earned the respect an admiration o the troops for veesitin the isolatit islands an battlefronts in the Pacific.[166] She survived flichts in damaged aircraft an a bout wi viral pneumonia requirin several days' stay in ane o the island barrack hospitals.[14][166][Note 11] She wad later mind, "I loved daein the tours acause it wis a way I could serve ma kintra an contreibute tae the war effort."[167]

Vindication an recogneetion, 1945–52


Efter the California Coort o Appeals rulin freed her frae her Warner Bros. contract, de Havilland signed a twa-pictur deal wi Paramount Pictures.[168] In Juin 1945 she began filmin Mitchell Leisen's drama To Each His Own,[169] aboot an unwed mither wha gies up her bairn for adoption an then spends the rest o her life tryin tae undae that deceesion.[170] De Havilland insistit on bringin in Leisen as director, trustin his ee for detail, his empathy for actors, an the wey he controlled sentiment in thair umwhile collaboration, Hold Back the Dawn.[170] The role required de Havilland tae age near thirty year ower the course o the film‍—‌frae an innocent smaw toun lass tae a shrewd, ruthless businesswoman devotit tae her cosmetics company. While de Havilland never formally studied acting, she did read Stanislavsky's autobiography My Life in Art an applee'd ane o his "methods" for this role.[171] Tae help her define her chairacter throuch the fower periods o the story, she uised a different perfume for ilka period.[172] She lawered the pitch o her vyce incrementally in ilka period till it became a matur wumman's vyce.[172] Her performance earned her the Academy Awaird for Best Actress in 1946‍—‌her first Oscar.[173] Accordin tae film historian Tony Thomas, the awaird representit a vindication o her lang taw wi Warner Bros. an confirmation o her abeelities as an actress.[172]

Acceptin her first Academy Awaird for To Each His Own, Mairch 13, 1947

De Havilland's neist twa roles war challengin an aa. In Robert Siodmak's psychological thriller The Dark Mirror (1946), de Havilland played twin sisters Ruth an Terry Collins‍—‌ane luvin an normal, the ither psychotic.[174] In addeetion tae the technical problems o shawin her as twa chairacters interactin wi ilk anither on screen at the same time, de Havilland needit tae portray twa separate an psychologically conter fowk.[175] While the film wisna weel received bi creetics‍—‌Variety said the film "gets lost in a maze o psychological gadgets an speculation"[176]‍—‌de Havilland's performance wis praised bi Tony Thomas, wha cried her final scene in the film "an awmaist frichteningly convincin piece o actin".[177] De Havilland wad later state that playin the evil sister hauntit her for years.[177] In his review in The Nation, James Agee wrote that "her playin is thochtfu, quiet, detailed, an well sustained, an syne it is foondit, as some mair talentit playin is nae, in an unuisually healfu-seemin an likable temperament, it is an undividit pleisur tae see."[178][179] While appearin in a summer stock production o What Every Woman Knows in Westport, Connecticut‍—‌her seicont professional stage appearance‍—‌de Havilland began datin Marcus Goodrich, a Navy veteran, jurnalist, an author o the 1941 novelle Delilah.[180] Thay war mairit on August 26, 1946.[180]

I met a young woman wha wis very much lik Virginia, aboot the same age an pheesical description, as well as bein a schizophrenic wi guilt problems. ... Whit struck me maist o aw wis the fact that she wis rather likable an appealin. It hadna occurred tae me afore that a mental patient could be appealin, an it wis that that gae me the key tae the performance.[181]

— Olivia de Havilland

De Havilland wis widely praised for her performance as Virginia Cunningham in Anatole Litvak's drama The Snake Pit (1948), ane o the first films tae attemp a realistic portrayal o mental illness an an important exposé o the harsh conditions in state mental hospitals, accordin tae film creetic Philip French.[182] Based on a novelle bi Mary Jane Ward an produced bi Darryl F. Zanuck, the film is aboot a woman placed in a mental institution bi her guidman tae help her recover frae a nervous breakdown.[183] Virginia Cunningham wis ane o the maist difficult o aw her film roles, requirin significant preparation baith mentally an physically‍—‌ she deliberately lost wecht tae help creaut her gaunt appearance on screen.[184] She consultit regular wi psychiatrists hired as consultants for the film, an veesitit Camarillo State Mental Hospital tae research her role an observe the patients.[181] The extreme physical discomfort o the hydrotherapy an simulatit electric shock therapy scenes war inspecially challengin for the slicht 5-foot-3-inch (160 cm) actress.[181] In her performance, she conveyed her mental anguish bi pheesically transformin her face wi furrt brou, wild starnin een, an grimacin mooth.[185] Accordin tae author Judith Kass, de Havilland delivered a performance baith "restrained an electric", portrayin varied an extreme aspects o her chairacter‍—‌frae a blate young woman tae a tormentit an disorientit woman.[186] For her performance in The Snake Pit, de Havilland received an Academy Awaird nomination for Best Actress, the New York Film Creetics Circle Awaird for Best Actress, an the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup.[187]

In 1949 de Havilland appeared in William Wyler's period drama The Heiress (1949) wi Montgomery Clift‍—‌the fowert in a string o creetically acclaimed performances.[188] Efter seein the play on Broadway, de Havilland cried Wyler an urged him tae flee tae New York tae see whit she felt wad be a perfect role for her. Wyler obleeged, luved the play, an wi de Havilland's help arranged for Paramount tae secur the film richts.[189] Adaptit for the screen bi Ruth an Augustus Goetz an based on the 1880 novelle Washington Square bi Henry James, the film is aboot a young naïve woman wha faws in luve wi a young man, ower the objections o her emotionally abusive faither wha suspecks the man o bein a gowd digger.[185] As she haed duin in Hold Back the Dawn, de Havilland portrays a chairacter's transformation frae a blate trustin innocent tae a guardit matur woman ower a period o years.[190] Her delineation o Catherine Sloper is developed throu carefully craftit muivements, gesturs, an facial expressions that convey a patientfu an inhibitit young woman.[185] Her timid vyce, nervous haunds, douncast een, an carefu muivements aw communicate whit the chairacter is too shy tae verbalize.[185] Throughout the production, Wyler pressed de Havilland hard tae elicit the requisite visual pynts o the chairacter.[191] In the scene whaur Catherine returns hame efter bein jiltit, the director haed the actress cairy a suitcase filled wi hivy beuks up the stair tae convey the wecht o Catherine's trauma pheesically insteid o uisin a planned speech in the oreeginal script.[191] The Heiress wis released in October 1949 an wis well received bi creetics.[192] For her performance, de Havilland received the New York Film Creetics Awaird, the Gowden Globe Awaird, an the Academy Awaird for Best Actress‍—‌her seicont Oscar.[192]

Efter giein birth tae her first bairn, Benjamin, on September 27, 1949, de Havilland teuk time aff frae makin films tae be wi her infant.[193] She turned doun the role o Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, later expleenin that becomin a mither wis a "transformin experience" an that she couldna relate tae the chairacter.[194] In 1950 her faimily flittit tae New York City, whaur she began rehearsals for a major new stage production o Shakespeare's Romeo an Juliet; it wis her lifelang ambition tae play Juliet on the stage.[193] The play opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 11, 1951, tae mixed reviews, wi some creetics believin the thirty-five year auld actress wis ower auld for the role.[193] The play closed efter forty-five performances.[193] Undaunted, de Havilland acceptit the teetle role in the stage production o George Bernard Shaw's comedy Candida, whilk opened at the National Theatre on Broadway in Aprile 1952.[193] While reviews o the play war mixed, de Havilland's performance wis weel received, an follaein the scheduled thirty-twa performances, she gaed on tour wi the company an delivered 323 additional performances, mony tae selt-oot audiences.[193] While de Havilland achieved major accomplishments during this period o her career, her mairriage tae Goodrich‍—‌aichteen years her senior‍—‌haed grown strained due tae his crankie temperament.[195] In August 1952 de Havilland filed for divorce, that became final the follaein year.[196]

New life in Paris, 1953–62


O coorse the thing that staggers ye when ye first come tae Fraunce is the fact that aw the French speak French‍—‌even the bairns. Mony Americans an Bretishers wha veesit the kintra niver quite adjust tae this, an the idea perseests that the natives speak the leid juist tae shaw off or be difficult.[197]

— Olivia de Havilland in Every Frenchman Has One
Wi Pierre Galante an dauvhter Gisèle, 1956

In Aprile 1953, at the invitation o the French govrenment, de Havilland traivelt tae the Cannes Film Festival, whaur she met Pierre Galante, an executive eeditor for the French jurnal Paris Match.[198] Follaein a lang-distance courtship an the requisite nine-month residency requirement, de Havilland an Galante mairit on Aprile 2, 1955, in the veelage o Yvoy-le-Marron, an settled thegither in a three-story hoose near Bois de Boulogne park in the Rive Droite section o Paris.[199][200] That same year, de Havilland returned tae the screen in Terence Young's period drama That Lady (1955), aboot a Spainyie princess an her unrequitit luve for Keeng Philip II o Spain, whase respect she earned in her youth efter losin an ee in a swuird fecht defendin his honour.[201] Accordin tae Tony Thomas, the film uises authentic Spainyie locations feckfu, but suffers frae a convolutit plot an excessive dialogue,[201] an while de Havilland delivered a wairm an elegant performance as Ana de Mendoza, the film wis disappyntin.[201] Follaein her appearances in the romantic melodrama Not as a Stranger (1955)[202] an The Ambassador's Daughter (1956)[203]‍—‌neither o which war successfu at the box office‍—‌de Havilland gae birth tae her seicont bairn, Gisèle Galante, on Julie 18, 1956.[200]

De Havilland returned tae the screen in 1958 in Michael Curtiz's Western drama The Proud Rebel,[204] a film aboot a umwhile Confederate sodger whase wife wis killt in the war an whase son lost the ability tae speak efter witnessin the tragedy. De Havilland played Linnett Moore, a rochle yet feminine frontier woman wha cares for the boy an comes tae luve his faither.[205] The film wis filmed on location in Utah, whaur de Havilland learned tae hitch an drive a team o horse an haundle a gun for her role.[206] The Proud Rebel wis released Mey 28, 1958, an wis well received bi audiences an creetics. In his review for The New York Times, A. H. Weiler cried the film a "truly sensitive effort" an "hertwairmin drama", an praised de Havilland's ability tae convey the "wairmth, affection an sturdiness needit in the role".[207]

Ane o de Havilland's best performances in this period wis in Guy Green's romantic drama Light in the Piazza (1962) wi Rossano Brazzi.[208] Filmed in Florence an Roum,[208] an based on Elizabeth Spencer's novelle o the same name, the film is aboot a middle-cless American tourist on stendit vacation in Italy wi her beautifu twanty-sax-year-auld dauchter, wha is mentally disabled as a result o a bairnheid accident.[208] Faced wi the prospect o her dauchter fawin in luve wi a young Italian, the mither strauchles wi conflictin emotions aboot her dauchter's futur.[209] De Havilland projects a calm maternal lown outthrouch maist o the film, anly shawin glims o the fashin mither anxious for her bairn's happiness.[210] The film wis released on Februar 9, 1961, an wis weel received, wi a Hollywood Reporter reviewer cawin it "an uncommon luve story ... tauld wi rare delicacy an force", an Variety notin that the film "achieves the rare an delicate balance o airteestic beauty, romantic substance, dramatic novelty an commercial appeal". Variety singled oot de Havilland’s performance as "ane o great consistency an subtle projection".[211]

In early 1962 de Havilland traivelt tae New York an began rehearsals for Garson Kanin's stage play A Gift of Time. Adaptit frae the autobiographical book Death of a Man bi Lael Tucker Wertenbaker, the play explores the emotionally pynfu strauchle o a hoosewife forced tae deal wi the slaw daith o her guidman, played bi Henry Fonda. The play opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway tae positive notices, wi de Havilland receivin her best reviews as a stage actress.[200] Theater creetic Walter Kerr praised her final scene, writin, "As darkness gathers, the actress gains in statur, takin on the simple an resolute willinness tae unnerstaund."[212] The New York World Telegram and Sun reviewer concluded, "It is Miss de Havilland who gives the play its unbroken continuity. This distinguished actress reveals Lael as a special an admirable woman."[212] She stayed wi the production for ninety performances.[200]

The year 1962 saw the publication o de Havilland's first book, Every Frenchman Has One, a lichthertit accoont o her aften amusin attempts tae unnerstaund an adapt tae French life, manners, an customs.[200] The beuk sauld oot its first prentin prior tae the publication date an wis later tae become a bestseller.[213][199]

Later films an televeesion, 1963–88


In 1964 de Havilland appeared in her last twa leadin roles in featur films‍—‌baith psychological thrillers. In Walter Grauman's Lady in a Cage she played a walthy poet wha gets fankilt in her mansion's lift an faces the threat o three terrorisin hooligans in her ain hame.[214] This wis the anly controversial film in her career‍—‌it wis banned in England‍—‌an creetics respondit negatively tae the graphic veeolence an cruelty shawn on screen.[212] A. H. Weiler o The New York Times cried it a "sordid, if suspensefu, exercise in aimless brutality".[215] That same year, de Havilland appeared in Robert Aldrich's Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte wi her close friend Bette Davis.[216] Efter Joan Crawford left the pictur due tae illness, Davis haed Aldrich flee tae Swisserland tae persuade a reluctant de Havilland tae accept the role o Miriam Deering, a cruel, conneevin chairacter hidden ahint the chairmin façade o a polite an cultured lady.[217] De Havilland's quiet, restrained performance providit a counterbalance tae Davis's rantin chairacterization.[218] Film historian Tony Thomas descrivit her performance as "a subtle piece o actin" that wis "a vital contreibution tae the effectiveness o the film".[218] The film wis weel received an earned seiven Academy Awaird nominations.[219]

As film roles became mair difficult tae find‍—‌a common problem skared bi mony Hollywood veterans frae her era‍—‌de Havilland began wirkin in telly dramas, in maugre o her dislik o the networks' practice o breakin up story lines wi commercials.[220] Her first ventur intae the medium wis a teleplay directit bi Sam Peckinpah cried Noon Wine (1966) on ABC Stage 67,[220] a dark tragedy aboot a fermer's act o murther that leads tae his suicide.[220] The production an her performance as the fermer's wife Ellie war weel received.[221] In 1972 she starned in her first telly featur film, The Screaming Woman, aboot a walthy woman recoverin frae a nervous breakdoun.[222] In 1979 she appeared in the ABC miniseries Roots: The Next Generations in the role o Mrs. Warner, the wife o a umwhile Confederate officer played bi Henry Fonda. The miniseries wis seen bi an estimatit 110 million fowk‍—‌ near ane-third o American hames wi telly sets.[223] Outthrouch the 1970s, de Havilland's film wirk wis leemitit tae smawer supportin roles an cameo appearances.[224] Her last featur film wis The Fifth Musketeer (1979).[224]

In this period, de Havilland began daein speakin engagements in ceeties athort the Unitit States wi a tauk enteetled "From the City of the Stars to the City of Light", a programme o personal mindins anent her life an career.[225] She attendit tributes tae Gone with the Wind an aa.[225] In the 1980s, her telly wirk includit an Agatha Christie telly film Murder Is Easy (1982), the telly drama The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana (1982) in whilk she played The Queen Mother, an the 1986 ABC miniseries North and South, Book II.[226] Her maist notable performance o the decade wis in the telly film Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) as Dowager Empress Maria, whilk earned her a Gowden Globe Awaird for Best Supportin Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Televeesion Film.[227] In 1988 de Havilland appeared in the HTV romantic telly drama The Woman He Loved‍—‌it wis her final screen performance.[226]

Retirement an remembrance, 1989–

Receivin the Naitional Medal o Airts frae Preses George W. Bush, 2008

In retirement, de Havilland remained active in the film community. In 1998 she traivelt tae New York tae help promote a special shawin o Gone with the Wind.[228] In 2003 she appeared as a presenter at the 75t Academy Awairds.[227] In 2004 Turner Classic Movies produced a retrospective piece cried Melanie Remembers in whilk she wis interviewed for the saxty-fift anniversary o the oreeginal release o Gone with the Wind.[229] In Juin 2006, she made appearances at tributes commemoratin her 90t birthday at the Academy o Motion Pictur Airts an Sciences an the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.[194]

On November 17, 2008, at the age o 92, de Havilland received the Naitional Medal o Airts, the heichest honour conferred tae an individual airtist on behauf o the fowk o the Unitit States. The medal wis presentit tae her bi Preses George W. Bush, wha commendit her "for her persuasive an compellin skeel as an actress in roles frae Shakespeare's Hermia tae Margaret Mitchell's Melanie. Her unthirldom, integrity, an grace wan creative freedom for hersel an her fellae film actors."[230][231] The follaein year, de Havilland narratit the documentary I Remember Better When I Paint (2009),[232] a film aboot the importance o airt in the treatment o Alzheimer's disease.[232] On September 9, 2010, de Havilland wis appyntit a Chevalier (knicht) o the Légion d'honneur, the heichest decoration in Fraunce, awairdit bi French Preses Nicolas Sarkozy, wha tauld the actress, "Ye honour Fraunce for haein chosen us."[233] In Februar the follaein year she appeared at the César Awairds in Fraunce, whaur she wis hailsed wi a staundin ovation.[Note 12] De Havilland celebratit her 100t birthday on Julie 1, 2016.

Personal life




Awtho kent as ane o Hollywood's maist excitin on-screen couples,[227] de Havilland an Errol Flynn war never involved in a romantic relationship.[235][236] Upon first meetin her at Warner Bros. in August 1935, Flynn wis drawn tae the nineteen-year-auld actress wi "warm brown eyes" an "extraordinary charm".[237] In turn, de Havilland fell in luve wi him,[235][Note 13] but kept her feelins inside, later recawin, "He niver guessed I haed a crush on him ... it never occurred tae me that he wis smitten wi me, too."[236] Flynn wad later write, "Bi the time we made The Charge of the Light Brigade, I wis sure that I wis in luve wi her."[237] Flynn finally professed his luve on Mairch 12, 1937, at the Coronation Ball for Keeng George VI at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, whaur thay slaw danced thegither tae "Sweet Leilani" at the hotel's Cocoanut Grove nightclub.[238] "I wis deeply affectit bi him," she wad later remember, "It wis impossible for me nae tae be."[239] The evening endit on a soberin note, houiver, wi de Havilland inseestin that despite his separation frae his wife Lili Damita, he needit tae divorce her afore thair relationship coud proceed.[239] Flynn reunited wi his wife later that year,[240] an de Havilland never acted on her feelins for Flynn.[235][Note 14]

In Julie 1938 de Havilland began datin business tycoon, aviator, an filmmakker Howard Hughes,[241] wha haed juist completit his record-settin flicht aroond the warld in 91 oors.[14] In addition tae escortin her aboot toun, he gae the actress her first fleein lessons.[241] She wad later remember, "He wis a rather shy man ... an yet, in a whole commonty where the men every day played heroes on the screen an didna dae onything heroic in life, here wis this man wha wis a real hero."[14] In December 1939 de Havilland began a romantic relationship wi actor James Stewart. At the request o Irene Mayer Selznick, the actor's agent asked Stewart tae escort de Havilland tae the New York premiere o Gone with the Wind at the Astor Theater on December 19, 1939.[242] Ower the next few days, Stewart teuk her tae the theater several times an tae the 21 Club.[242] Thay continued tae see ilk ither back in Los Angeles, where Stewart providit occasional fleein lessons an romance.[243] Accordin tae de Havilland, Stewart proposed marriage tae her in 1940, but she felt that he wis nae ready tae settle doun.[243] Thair relationship endit in late 1941 whan de Havilland began a romantic relationship wi film director John Huston while makin In This Our Life.[244] "John wis a very great luve o mine", she wad later admit, "He wis a man I wantit tae mairy."[245][Note 15]

Mairiages an bairns

Wi her son Benjamin, c. 1952

On August 26, 1946, she mairit Marcus Goodrich, a Navy veteran, jurnalist, an author o the 1941 novelle Delilah.[180] The mairriage ended in divorce in 1953.[196] They haed ane bairn, Benjamin Goodrich, wha wis born on December 1, 1949.[193] He wis diagnosed wi Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age o nineteen,[227] but wis able tae graduate frae the University o Texas. He workit as a statistical analyst for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California, an as an internaitional baunkin representative for the Texas Commerce Bank in Houston.[227] He died on October 1, 1991, in Paris at the age o forty-ane o hert disease brocht on bi treatments for Hodgkin's disease, three weeks afore the daith o his faither.[247][248]

On Aprile 2, 1955, de Havilland mairit Pierre Galante, an executive editor for the French jurnal Paris Match.[198] Her marriage tae Galante prompted de Havilland tae muive tae Paris.[200] The couple separated in 1962 but continued tae stey in the same hoose for anither sax year tae raise thair childer thegither.[200][228][249] Galante muived athort the street an the twa remained close, even efter the finalisation o the divorce in 1979.[228] She takkit tent o him throuch his final bout wi buff cancer afore his daith in 1998. They haed ane bairn, Gisèle Galante, wha wis born on Julie 18, 1956.[200] After studyin law at the Université de Droit de Nanterre School o Law, she worked as a jurnalist in Fraunce an the United States.[227] Syne 1956, de Havilland haes steyed in the same three-story hoose near Bois de Boulogne park in the Rive Droite section o Paris.[199]

Releegion an politics


De Havilland wis raised in the Episcopal Kirk an haes remained an Episcopalian throughout her life.[250][Note 16] Efter flittin tae Fraunce, she became ane o the first weemen lectors at the American Cathedral in Paris, whaur she wis on the regular rota for Scriptur readins. As recently as 2012, she wis still daein readins on major feast days,[250] includin Christmas an Easter. "It's a task I luve," she ance said.[194] In describing her preparation for her readings, de Havilland ance observed, "Ye hae tae convey the deep meanin, you see, an it haes tae stairt wi yer ain faith. But first I always pray. I pray afore I stairt tae prepare, as well. In fact, I would always say a prayer afore shuitin a scene, sae this isna sae different, in a way."[250] De Havilland prefers tae uise the Revised Inglis Bible for its poetic style.[250] She raised her son Benjamin in the Episcopal Kirk an her dauchter Gisèle in the Roman Catholic Kirk, the faith o the bairn's faither.[252]

As a United States ceetizen,[163] de Havilland became involved in politics as a wey o exercisin her ceevic responsibilities.[194] She campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt's re-election in 1944.[194] Efter the war, she jyned the Independent Citizens' Committee o the Arts, Sciences an Professions, a naitional public policy advocacy group that includit Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, an Humphrey Bogart in its Hollywood chapter.[194] In Juin 1946 she wis askit tae deliver speeches for the committee that reflectit the Communist Pairty line‍—‌the group wis later identified as a Communist front organisation.[253] Disturbed at seein a smaw group o Communist members manipulatin the committee, de Havilland remuived the pro-Communist material frae her speeches an rewrit thaim tae reflect Harry S. Truman's anti-Communist platform. She later recalled, "I realised a nucleus o fowk wis controllin the organisation wioot a majority o the members o the buird bein aware o it. An I knew thay haed tae be Communists."[194]

She organised a fecht tae regain control o the committee frae its pro-Soviet leadership, but her reform efforts failed. Her resignation frae the committee triggered a waw o resignations frae eleiven ither Hollywood figures, includin futur Preses Ronald Reagan.[194][Note 17] In 1958 she wis secretly cried afore the House Un-American Activities Committee an recoontit her experiences wi the Independent Citizens' Committee.[194]

Sibling rivalry

Joan Fontaine an Gary Cooper at the Academy Awairds, 1942

De Havilland an her sister Joan Fontaine are the anly siblings tae hae wan Academy Awairds in a lead actin category.[257] Accordin tae biografer Charles Higham, the sisters ay haed an uneasy relationship, stairtin in early bairnhuid whan Olivia haed trouble acceptin the idea o haein a younger sister, an Joan resentin her mither's favoritism for her aulder sister.[258] This tension wis made waur bi Fontaine's frequent bairnheid illnesses, whilk led tae her mither's ower pertective expression, "Livvie can, Joan canna."[17] O the twa sisters, de Havilland wis the first tae become an actress, an for several years Fontaine wis owershaidaed bi her accomplishments.[259] Whan Mervyn LeRoy offered Fontaine a personal contract, her mither tauld her that Warner Bros. wis "Olivia's studio" an that she coud nae uise the name "de Havilland".[259] In 1942 de Havilland an Fontaine war baith nominatit for an Academy Awaird for Best Actress‍—‌de Havilland for Hold Back the Dawn, an Fontaine for Suspicion. Whan Fontaine's name wis annoonced as winner, de Havilland reactit graciously sayin, "We'v gat it!"[260] Accordin tae biografer Charles Higham, Fontaine rejectit de Havilland's attempts tae congratulate her, an de Havilland wis offendit an embarrassed.[261]

Thair relationship wis further raxt in 1946 whan Fontaine made negative comments tae an interviewer aboot de Havilland's new guidman. Whan she read her sister's remerks, de Havilland wis deeply hurt an waited for an apology that wis never offered.[262] The follaein year efter acceptin her first Academy Awaird for To Each His Own, de Havilland wis approached backstage bi Fontaine wha wantit tae congratulate her, de Havilland turned away frae her sister.[262] They didnae speak tae ilk anither for the neist five year,[Note 18] an thair silence mey hae caused the estrangement atween Fontaine an her ain dauchters, wha secretly mainteened a relationship wi de Havilland.[261] Follaein her divorce frae Goodrich, de Havilland resumed contact wi her sister,[262] comin tae her apairtment in New York an spendin Christmas thegither thare in 1961.[262][263] The final break atween the sisters occurred in 1975 frae a disagreement ower thair mither's cancer treatment‍—‌de Havilland wantit tae consult ither doctors an supportit exploratory surgery; Fontaine disagreed.[264] Fontaine claimed that de Havilland didnae notify her o thair mither's daith while she wis tourin wi a play‍—‌de Havilland in fact haed sent a telegram, whilk teuk twa week tae reak her sister.[258] The sibling feud endit wi Fontaine's daith on December 15, 2013.[262][Note 19] The follaein day, de Havilland released a statement sayin she wis "shocked an saddened" bi the news.[266]

Career assessment an legacy

Starn on the Hollywood Walk o Fame, at 6762 Hollywood Blvd.[267]

De Havilland's career spanned fifty-three years, frae 1935 tae 1988.[226] In that time, she appeared in forty-nine featur films, an wis ane o the leadin movie starns in the gowden age o Clessical Hollywood. She began her career playin demure ingénues anent popular male stars, includin Errol Flynn, wi wham she made her breakout film Captain Blood in 1935.[227] Thay wad gang on tae mak seiven mair featur films thegither, an became ane o Hollywood's maist popular romantic on-screen pairings.[227] Her range o performances included roles in maist major movie genres. Follaein her film debut in the Shakespeare adaptation A Midsummer Night's Dream, de Havilland achieved her initial popularity in romantic comedies, sic as The Great Garrick an Hard to Get, an Western adventure films, sic as Dodge City an Santa Fe Trail.[226] Her naitural beauty an primsie actin style made her parteecularly effective in historical period dramas, lik Anthony Adverse, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gone with the Wind, an The Heiress, an romantic dramas, lik Hold Back the Dawn an To Each His Own. In her later career, she wis maist sonsie in drama films, lik In This Our Life an Light in the Piazza, an psychological dramas playin unglamorous chairacters in films lik The Dark Mirror, The Snake Pit, an Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte.[227]

Outthrou her career, de Havilland wan twa Academy Awairds (To Each His Own an The Heiress), twa Gowden Globe Awairds (The Heiress an Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna), twa New York Film Creetics Circle Awairds (The Snake Pit an The Heiress), the National Buird o Review Awaird an the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup (The Snake Pit), an a Primetime Emmy Awaird (Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna).[268]

For her contreibutions tae the motion picture industry, de Havilland received a starn on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6762 Hollywood Boulevard on Februar 8, 1960.[267] Syne her retirement in 1988, her lifetime contreibution tae the arts haes been honored on twa continents. In 1998 she received an honorary doctorate frae the University of Hertfordshire in England.[269]

In 2006, she wis inductit intae the Online Film & Television Association Award Film Haw o Fame.[270] On November 17, 2008, Preses George W. Bush presented de Havilland the National Medal o Arts, the heichest honour gien for achievement in the arts conferred tae an individual airtist on behalf o the American fowk.[230] On September 9, 2010, de Havilland wis appyntit a Chevalier (knight) o the Légion d'honneur, the heichest decoration in Fraunce, awairdit bi French Preses Nicolas Sarkozy.[233]

Honours an awairds

Year Awaird Category Film Result Ref
1939 Academy Awaird Best Actress in a Supportin Role Gone with the Wind Nominatit [268]
1941 Academy Awaird Best Actress in a Leadin Role Hold Back the Dawn Nominatit [268]
1946 Academy Awaird Best Actress in a Leadin Role To Each His Own Wan [268]
1948 Academy Awaird Best Actress in a Leadin Role The Snake Pit Nominatit [268]
1948 Naitional Buird o Review Awaird Best Actress The Snake Pit Wan [187]
1948 New York Film Creetics Circle Awaird Best Actress The Snake Pit Wan [187]
1949 Academy Awaird Best Actress in a Leadin Role The Heiress Wan [268]
1949 Gowden Globe Awaird Best Motion Pictur Actress The Heiress Wan [271]
1949 New York Film Creetics Circle Awaird Best Actress The Heiress Wan [187]
1949 Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup Best Actress The Snake Pit Wan [187]
1952 Grauman's Cheenese Theatre Haund prents an fitprents Honoured [272]
1953 Gowden Globe Awaird Best Motion Pictur Actress My Cousin Rachel Nominatit [271]
1960 Hollywood Walk o Fame Star Motion Pictur at 6762 Hollywood Blvd, Februar 8, 1960 Honoured [267]
1986 Gowden Globe Awaird Best Performance bi an Actress in a Supportin Role Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Wan [271]
1986 Primetime Emmy Awaird Ootstaundin Supportin Actress in a Miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Wan [268]
1998 Honorary Doctorate Varsity o Hertfordshire Honoured [269]
2006 Online Film & Telly Association Film Haw o Fame Honoured [270]
2008 Naitional Medal o Airts Honored [230]
2010 Chevalier o the Légion d'honneur Honoured [233]
2016 Oldie o the Year Honoured [234]




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