Olivia de Havilland Dies Aged 104
Golden Age star Olivia de Havilland has died at the age of 104.
Her career spanned more than 50 years and almost 50 feature movies, and she was the last surviving star from Gone with the Wind (1939).
Gone with the Wind earned her one of her five Oscar nominations.
Olivia de Havilland, who had lived in Paris since 1960, was central in taking down Hollywood’s studio system, giving actors better contracts.
The actress also had a tempestuous relationship with her sister, fellow Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine.
At the time of her death, Olivia de Havilland was the oldest living performer to have won an Oscar. She died on July 25 of natural causes at her home in the French capital, her publicist said.
Olivia Mary de Havilland was born in Tokyo in 1916 and soon moved to California with her family.
She made her breakthrough in Captain Blood, opposite Errol Flynn, and the pair developed an immediate chemistry.
Olivia de Havilland was then cast in the role of Melanie in David O Selznick’s epic adaptation of the Margaret Mitchell novel, Gone with the Wind.
She lost the best supporting actress Oscar to Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy in the movie.
However, she did win a Best Actress Oscar in 1946 for her role in To Each His Own, and then a second for The Heiress in 1949.
Joan Fontaine dies in California at 96
Olivia de Havilland also famously turned down the role of Blanche DuBois in the 1951 adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire. Vivien Leigh won an Oscar for the role.
The actress continued to act until the late 1980s, winning a Golden Globe in 1986 for Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna.
Off screen, Olivia de Havilland took on the studios at a time when they had complete control over their stars.
Backed by the Screen Actors Guild, she took Warner Brothers to court in 1943 when it added time to her original contract as a penalty for turning down roles.
The California Supreme Court ruled in her favor in what became known as the De Havilland Law, which loosened the grip studios had on their actors.
Much has been made of Olivia de Havilland’s feud with her sister. The pair reportedly had a difficult relationship from childhood. It was exacerbated by them both being nominated for Best Actress in 1942, with Joan Fontaine winning out.
Olivia de Havilland was also reportedly angered by Joan Fontaine’s comments about her new husband, Marcus Goodrich, whom de Havilland married in 1946. And there was also disagreement over medical treatment for their mother in 1975. Joan Fontaine died in 2013.