Olivia de Havilland


I couldn’t possibly cover 104 years of absolute badassary and do them justice, but, in my review of The Dark Mirror (1946, dir. Robert Siodmak) a few years ago, I referred to Olivia de Havilland as one of those ‘universally beloved people in the classic film world’ and the outpouring of love following her passing last month proves that. Her immense talent, dedication and wise choice of roles are a reflection of her hard-working nature and, if her infamous lawsuit against Warner Bros in 1944 – look it up – is anything to go by, she was just as fierce offscreen as she was onscreen. Like her BFF Bette Davis, Olivia fought for better parts and resisted the Hollywood studio system at a time when that just wasn’t possible. She re-invented her career time and again, ended up winning two Oscars for To Each His Own (1946, dir. Mitchell Leisen) and The Heiress (1949, dir. William Wyler) out of five nominations and, after 50 years in the business, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2017. A legacy such as hers shouldn’t have to require online articles entitled ‘More than just Melanie’ or ‘Ten Olivia de Havilland movies that aren’t Gone With The Wind’, especially because it seems to have been an exception, rather than the rule, but somehow her life and career seems to get lost in wider circles who no doubt know all about Bette, Kate or Joan. Yet, like them, Olivia was a baddass. And as she joins her old friends in Hollywood Heaven, we shall continue to honor her here on earth. Farewell, Olivia!

10 thoughts on “Olivia de Havilland

  1. John A. Rizzo

    This was great Carol. P.S.  you said you would like to read my book one day. It is now finished. If you can message or email me your address I will send you a copy. Can’t guarantee you’ll like it, but I think you will.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike noonan

    I guess the last of the old Hollywood school. She was feisty till the end as she sued the people behind the Davis/Crawford mini series for an unflattering portrayal of her,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. caracoleta07

    I agree!
    She was beloved even if she wasn’t as easily recognised by many as other stars of her time.
    Over the last few years I kept having ‘mini heart attacks’ everytime I came across any article on my timeline titled something like ‘Olivia de Havilland, 102, living in France…’, for fearing she’d passed away. It happened so many times 😅
    Conversely, when I came across those news I wasn’t startled at all.

    I haven’t yet seen many of her roles but from the little it was easily discernible that she curated her career.
    I absolutely loved The Heiress!
    Reading about the lawsuit in articles covering her passing also cemented that idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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