Olivia de Havilland, the final remaining star from the 1939 epic movie “Gone With the Wind” and a two-time Academy Award winner who for decades was noticed as the essence of Hollywood royalty, has died at her home in Paris. She was 104.
De Havilland, who died Sunday of organic leads to, was typically viewed as the final of the massive identify actors from the golden age of Hollywood, an period when the studios hummed with exercise and the stars appeared bigger than everyday living.
The actress — often a absolutely free spirit in what then was a buttoned-down world — gave up on Hollywood and moved to Paris in the early 1950s but remained firmly in the general public eye into her last years, when she waged a 1st Amendment fight for privacy about the use of her image in the 2017 docudrama “Feud: Bette and Joan.”
She produced headlines on the eve of her a hundred and first birthday by announcing that she was suing Forex about what she alleged was the unauthorized use of her identity in the miniseries, which chronicled the storied rivalry between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Catherine Zeta-Jones portrayed De Havilland in the serial.
“I was furious. I definitely envisioned that I would be consulted about the textual content. I never imagined that any person would misrepresent me,” she told The Instances in 2018, introducing that the series characterized her as a “vulgar gossip” and a “hypocrite.”
The scenario was expedited because of to De Havilland’s advanced age. Even with early victories, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to listen to the scenario in early 2019.
Before in her occupation, motion picture audiences realized De Havilland very best as the demure, fairly heroine opposite the dashing Errol Flynn in “Captain Blood” and other common Warner Bros. costume dramas of the 1930s, which include “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and “The Demand of the Light-weight Brigade.”
But she won her guide-actress Oscars in far more considerable, much less flattering roles soon after leaving Warner Bros. in the mid-1940s.
Her first Oscar arrived for the 1946 movie “To Each and every His Individual,” a World War I-period drama in which she played an unwed mother who lives to regret offering up her young son.
She won her 2nd for “The Heiress,” a 1949 drama set in 19th century New York in which she portrayed a shy and plain-searching young girl who falls in enjoy with a handsome young guy (played by Montgomery Clift) whom her rich and overbearing father suspects is a fortune hunter.
De Havilland also been given a guide-actress Oscar nomination for her memorable function in “The Snake Pit,” a 1948 drama that chronicles the mental breakdown and restoration of a young married girl who is put in a mental institution.
But her most enduring monitor function was that of sweet Melanie in “Gone With the Wind,” the 1939 Civil War epic that won hearts and Oscars but finally became a symbol of the country’s systemic racism for its romanticized portrayal of the antebellum South and its sanitized treatment of the horrors of slavery.
WarnerMedia pulled the movie from its streaming provider in the course of the national protests sparked by the May perhaps twenty five death of George Floyd soon after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the floor by leaning on his neck for quite a few minutes as other police officers appeared to glimpse on dispassionately.
De Havilland was the final survivor amongst the film’s principal actors, who provided Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard.
Off-monitor, De Havilland was acknowledged in Hollywood for her milestone legal victory about Warner Bros. in the mid-1940s, a courtroom choice that revolutionized actor-studio contractual interactions and later offered ammunition for her struggle with Forex.
And market insiders and lovers were well informed of her substantially-publicized feud with her motion picture-star sister, Joan Fontaine, an outsized sibling rivalry that commenced in their childhood.
“My sister is 1 12 months, three months, three months and 1 working day young than me,” De Havilland told the Washington Put up in 1979 when she was 62. “When 1 does all the things first, it will have to be pretty challenging on the 2nd. I locate it a excellent pity.”
In her autobiography, “No Bed of Roses,” Fontaine speculated that De Havilland would have preferred to be an only little one and often resented obtaining a young sister.
That Fontaine adopted her sister to Hollywood and won the first guide-actress Oscar in the family — in 1942 for “Suspicion,” beating out De Havilland in “Hold Back again the Dawn” — didn’t support issues.
In a 1978 interview, Fontaine said, “I married first, won the Oscar right before Olivia did, and if I die first, she’ll definitely be furious simply because I conquer her to it.”
Fontaine died of organic leads to in 2013 at the age of ninety six. De Havilland said the two experienced mended their variances right before her sister’s death.
The daughter of British mothers and fathers, De Havilland was born July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, the place her father headed a patent regulation organization. Her mother, who experienced attended the Royal Academy of Extraordinary Arts in London, named her first-born daughter Olivia soon after the character in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Evening.”
In 1919, when De Havilland was not nevertheless 3, her parents’ marital problems prompted her mother to acquire her two daughters and move to Northern California, the place they settled in Saratoga, in close proximity to San Jose. De Havilland’s mothers and fathers later divorced, and her mother married George M. Fontaine, manager of a local section store.
At Los Gatos Union High School, De Havilland joined the drama club and, even with a tendency to undergo stage fright, appeared in faculty plays and won trophies on the debating crew and in a general public talking contest.
Immediately after higher faculty graduation in 1934, she acquired a scholarship to attend Mills College or university in Oakland, but her everyday living took a detour that summer season.
An assistant for renowned director Max Reinhardt observed the Saratoga Neighborhood Players’ manufacturing of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Aspiration,” in which De Havilland played Puck.
Reinhardt was assembling a national touring manufacturing of that play to debut at the Hollywood Bowl, and De Havilland was invited to be part of a group of other learners to notice rehearsals in Hollywood.
She wound up as an understudy, and when actress Gloria Stuart experienced to drop out of the Hollywood Bowl manufacturing, which provided Mickey Rooney as Puck, De Havilland took about the function of Hermia.
In the viewers on opening night was Warner Bros. manufacturing executive Hal Wallis, who was so impressed with De Havilland’s overall performance that he implored studio manager Jack Warner to see the present.
Warner agreed with Wallis’ assessment that the eighteen-12 months-previous not only would be great for the studio’s impending motion picture model of the Shakespeare fantasy but that she experienced the makings of a star.
Immediately after completing the 4-week national tour, De Havilland signed a seven-12 months agreement with Warner Bros.
By the close of 1935, her first 12 months at the studio, she experienced not only played Hermia but played opposite Joe E. Brown in “Alibi Ike,” appeared with James Cagney in “The Irish in Us” and costarred with Flynn, a different new Warner agreement participant, in “Captain Blood.”
Flynn and De Havilland appeared alongside one another in seven far more films about the up coming six years, which include “Dodge Metropolis,” “The Personal Life of Elizabeth and Essex” and “They Died With Their Boots On.”
But the fiercely formidable De Havilland yearned to play far more demanding roles than all those staying supplied to her at Warner Bros.
“I believed in next Bette Davis’ example,” De Havilland told The Instances in 1988. “She didn’t care no matter if she appeared superior or lousy. She just needed to play intricate, attention-grabbing, intriguing components, a range of human knowledge. I needed Melanie to be just 1 of the images. Let’s have a number of others.”
She discovered this sort of a function in “Gone With the Wind,” impartial producer David O. Selznick’s sweeping adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-successful novel about the Civil War and Reconstruction.
The dilemma of who would play Scarlett O’Hara experienced turn into a national fixation, and 1 of the actresses who was intrigued was De Havilland’s sister, Joan.
In “Sisters,” Charles Higham’s twin biography of De Havilland and Fontaine, “Gone With the Wind” director George Cukor is quoted as declaring that Fontaine asked to study for the element of the fiery Scarlett. Cukor told the blond actress that that was out of the dilemma, but he would like her to study for the function of the far more sedate Melanie.
“If it’s a Melanie you want,” Fontaine reportedly snapped, “call Olivia!”
Cukor did. And soon after De Havilland carried out a scene at Selznick’s household, with Cukor participating in opposite her as Scarlett, Selznick appeared at De Havilland and declared, “You’re Melanie!”
“Gone with the Wind” was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, which include guide actress for Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and supporting actress for performances by De Havilland and Hattie McDaniel.
Though she was 1 of the film’s 4 guide players, De Havilland as soon as said, “In all those days, irrespective of billing or agreement, the producer experienced the right to decide the classification and Selznick, in buy not to break up the vote between Vivien and me, set me down as supporting actress.”
On Oscar night, Leigh won as guide actress and McDaniel walked absent with the supporting actress honor, the first Black American to get an Academy Award.
Nonetheless sad with the forms of roles Warner Bros. was featuring her, De Havilland took frequent suspensions for refusing them.
In 1943, her seven-12 months agreement with Warner Bros. experienced operate its training course. But simply because she experienced been put on suspension various periods for refusing roles, the studio maintained that she owed it an further six months.
De Havilland employed well-acknowledged Hollywood lawyer Martin Gang, who informed her that condition labor legislation said that a seven-12 months agreement is for seven calendar years only. She took Warner Bros. to courtroom.
De Havilland won her scenario in Top-quality Court, but Jack Warner appealed the choice and enjoined other movie corporations from using the services of her. When the Appellate Court voted unanimously in De Havilland’s favor, Warner appealed to the condition Supreme Court. In February 1945, that courtroom upheld the choice.
Since then, the judgment has been acknowledged as the De Havilland Choice. A long time later, De Havilland’s legal precedent helped musician and Oscar winner Jared Leto persuade the courts to implement the rule to recording contracts as well.
Freed from Warner Bros., De Havilland commenced freelancing at various studios and now experienced her option of scripts.
The actress, whose identify experienced been romantically linked with Howard Hughes, James Stewart and John Huston, amongst others, married author Marcus Aurelius Goodrich, author of the bestseller “Delilah,” in 1946. They experienced a son, Benjamin, and were divorced in 1952.
A 12 months later, De Havilland met Pierre Galante, a author and executive of Paris Match journal. She and Galante married in Paris in 1955 and experienced a daughter, Gisele. They were divorced in 1979.
She appeared on Broadway quite a few periods in the course of the ‘50s and ‘60s, which include a 1951 revival of “Romeo and Juliet,” a 1952 revival of “Candida” and “A Present of Time” in 1962 with Henry Fonda.
But she appeared in only 9 films in the ‘50s and ‘60s, which include “Lady in a Cage” in 1964 and “Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte” opposite her previous Warner Bros. colleague Bette Davis the exact 12 months.
In her later years, she appeared in videos this sort of as “Airport 77” and “The Swarm” in 1978. She also did occasional do the job on television, which include “Roots: The Subsequent Generations” in 1979 and, most notably, in 1986 as the Dowager Empress in a 4-hour presentation of “Anastasia,” for which she acquired an Emmy nomination for supporting actress. She formally retired in 1988.
In 2003, De Havilland returned to Los Angeles and was a presenter at the 75th Academy Awards. Five years later President George W. Bush offered her with the National Medal of Arts and — two years soon after that — she was knighted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2018, she was produced a dame of the British Empire, getting the eldest residing human being to get the honor.
De Havilland is survived by her daughter, Gisele. Her son, Benjamin Goodrich, died of difficulties of Hodgkin’s illness in 1991.
Instances team author Nardine Saad contributed to this report.