One of the premiere leading ladies of Hollywood’s Golden Age, actress Olivia de Havilland (July 1, 1916 – July 26, 2020) 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. 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.
Take a look back at the legendary actress when she was young during the 1930s:
|1934. (Dick Whittington Studio)|
|1935. (Pictorial Parade)|
|1935. (John Springer)|