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Olivia De Havilland
Price: $195.00
8x10 B&W from the movie Gone With the Wind
Olivia De Havilland Biography Olivia Mary De Havilland was born to British patent attorney and his wife on July 1, 1916 in Tokyo, Japan. Her sister, Joan, later to be Joan Fontaine, was born the following year. Her parents divorced when Olivia was just three years old and moved with the remaining family to Los Angeles, California. After graduating from high school, where she fell prey to the acting bug, Olivia enrolled in Mills College in Oakland. It was while she was at Mills that she participated in the school play, A Midsummer Nights Dream, that she was spotted by Max Reinhardt. She was so impressive in the production, that Reinhardt picked her up for both his stage version and, later, the Warner Bros. film version in 1935. She, again, was so impressive that Warner executives signed her to a seven year contract. No sooner had the ink dried on the contract, Olivia appeared in three more films that year, THE IRISH IN US, ALIBI IKE, and CAPTAIN BLOOD, the latter with that female heartthrob, Errol Flynn. Flynn and Olivia were to star in eight productions together during their careers. In 1939, Warner Bros. loaned her to David O. Selznick for the famed production called GONE WITH THE WIND. Playing the sweet Melanie Hamilton, Olivia received her first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role, only losing out to one of her co-stars in the film, Hattie McDaniel. After GWTW, Olivia returned to Warner Bros. and continued to churn out films. In 1941, Olivia played Emmy Brown in HOLD BACK THE DAWN, which resulted in her second nomination for an Oscar, this time for Best Actress. This time she lost to her sister, Joan, for her role in SUSPICION. After that strong showing, Olivia now demanded better acting roles instead of the being typecast in sweet roles. The studio responded by placing her under a six month suspension. All the studios at the time were under the assumption that players were nothing more than property to do with as they saw fit. If that wasnt bad enough, when her contract with the studio was up, Warner said Olivia would have to make up the lost time because of the suspension. Irate, Olivia sued the studio. During the time of the court battle, Olivia didnt appear in a single film. The result, however, was worth the wait. In a landmark decision, the courts said that not only did Olivia not have to make up the time, but all performers were to be limited to a seven year contract which would include any suspensions handed down. This became known as the De Havilland Law. Now studios couldnt treat their performers as mere cattle. Returning to screen in 1946, Olivia responded by appearing in four films. One in particular won her that elusive Oscar. It was TO EACH HIS OWN where she played Josephine Norris to the delight of critics and audiences alike. Olivia was the strongest performer in Hollywood for the balance of the 1940s. In 1948, she turned in another strong showing in THE SNAKE PIT as Virginia Cunningham, a woman suffering a mental breakdown. The end result was another Oscar nomination for Best Actress. She lost to Jane Wyman in JOHNNY BELINDA. As in the two previous years, she made only one film in 1949, but again won a nomination and the Academy Award for Best Actress in THE HEIRESS. After a three year hiatus, Olivia returned in 1952 to star in MY COUSIN RACHEL. From that point on she made few appearances on the silver screen, but was seen on Broadway and some television shows. Her last screen appearance was THE FIFTH MUSKETEER in 1979. Her last appearance anywhere was in the TV movie THE WOMAN HE LOVED. During the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of GWTW in 1989, she graciously declined requests for all interviews as the only surviving member of the four main stars. She passed away peacefully on July 27, 2020 at the age 104.