i use the best, i use the rest..
Last edited by lady stardust; 19-12-2005 at 04:03 PM.
Been things & seen places
Vivian Mary Hartley
5' 3½" (1.61 m)
If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time her parents take her to England. Her mother thinks she should have a proper English upbringing and insists on leaving her in a convent school - even though Vivien is two years younger than any of the other girls at the school. The only comfort for the lonely child is a cat that was in the courtyard of the school that the nuns let her take up to her dormitory. Her first and best friend at the school is an eight-year-old girl, Maureen O'Sullivan who has been transplanted from Ireland. In the bleakness of a convent school, the two girls can recreate in their imaginations the places they have left and places where they would some day like to travel. After Vivien has been at the school for 18 months, her mother comes again from India and takes her to a play in London. In the next six months Vivien will insist on seeing the same play 16 times. In India the British community entertained themselves at amateur theatricals and Vivien's father was a leading man. Pupils at the English convent school are eager to perform in school plays. It's an all-girls school, so some of the girls have to play the male roles. The male roles are so much more adventurous. Vivien's favorite actor is Leslie Howard, and at 19 she marries an English barrister who looks very much like him. The year is 1932. Vivien's best friend from that convent school has gone to California, where she's making movies. Vivien has an opportunity to play a small role in an English film, Things Are Looking Up (1935). She has only one line but the camera keeps returning to her face. The London stage is more exciting than the movies being filmed in England, and the most thrilling actor on that stage is Laurence Olivier. At a party Vivien finds out about a stage role, "The Green Sash", where the only requirement is that the leading lady be beautiful. The play has a very brief run, but now she is a real actress. An English film is going to be made about Elizabeth I. Laurence gets the role of a young favorite of the queen who is sent to Spain. Vivien gets a much smaller role as a lady-in-waiting of the queen who is in love with Laurence's character. In real life, both fall in love while making this film, Fire Over England (1937). In 1938, Hollywood wants Laurence to play Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939). Vivien, who has just recently read Gone with the Wind (1939), thinks that the role of Scarlett O'Hara is the first role for an actress that would be really exciting to bring to the screen. She sails to America for a brief vacation. In New York she gets on a plane for the first time to rush to California to see Laurence. They have dinner with Myron Selznick the night that his brother, David O. Selznick, is burning Atlanta on a backlot of MGM (actually they are burning old sets that go back to the early days of silent films to make room to recreate an Atlanta of the 1860s). Vivien is 26 when Gone with the Wind (1939) makes a sweep of the Oscars in 1939. So let's show 26-year-old Vivien walking up to the stage to accept her Oscar and then as the Oscar is presented the camera focuses on Vivien's face and through the magic of digitally altering images, the 26-year-old face merges into the face of Vivien at age 38 getting her second Best Actress Oscar for portraying Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). She wouldn't have returned to America to make that film had not Laurence been going over there to do a film, Carrie (1952) based on Theodore Dreiser's novel "Sister Carrie". Laurence tells their friends that his motive for going to Hollywood to make films is to get enough money to produce his own plays for the London stage. He even has his own theater there, the St. James. Now Sir Laurence, with a seat in the British House of Lords, is accompanied by Vivien the day the Lords are debating about whether the St James should be torn down. Breaking protocol, Vivien speaks up and is escorted from the House of Lords. The publicity helps raise the funds to save the St. James. Throughout their two-decade marriage Laurence and Vivien were acting together on the stage in London and New York. Vivien was no longer Lady Olivier when she performed her last major film role, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961).
Vivian Mary Hartley was born on November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, India, a strange place for one of the world's most celebrated actresses to be born. She was to live in this beautiful country for the next six years. Her parents wanted to go home to England but because of World War I they opted to stay in India. At the end of the war the Hartleys headed back to their home country, where Vivien's mother wanted her daughter to have a convent education. She was one of the youngest in attendance. While there her mother came for a visit and took her to a play on London's legendary West Side. It was there that Vivien decided to become an actress. At the end of her education, she met and married Herbert Leigh in 1932 and together had a child named Suzanne in 1933. Though she enjoyed motherhood, it did not squelch her ambition to be an actress. Her first role in British motion pictures was as Rose Venables in 1935's The Village Squire (1935). That same year Vivien appeared in Things Are Looking Up (1935), Look Up and Laugh (1935) and Gentlemen's Agreement (1935). In 1938, Vivien went to the US to see her lover, Laurence Olivier, who was filming Wuthering Heights (1939) (she had left Herbert Leigh in 1937). While visiting Olivier, Vivien had the good luck to happen upon the Selznick brothers, who were filming the burning of Atlanta for the film, Gone with the Wind (1939), based on Margaret Mitchell's novel. The role of Scarlett O'Hara had yet to be cast and she was invited to take part in a screen test for the role. There had already been much talk in Hollywood about who was to be cast as Scarlett. Some big names had tried out for the part, such as Norma Shearer, Katharine Hepburn and Paulette Goddard. In fact, most in the film industry felt that Goddard was a sure bet for the part. However, four days after the screen test, Vivien was informed that she had landed the coveted slot. The rest, as they say, is history. The film became one of the most celebrated in the annals of cinema. Not only did it win Best Picture during the Academy Awards, but Vivien won for Best Actress. Already she was a household name. In 1940, she made two films, Waterloo Bridge (1940) and 21 Days (1940), though neither approached the magnetism of GWTW. That same year saw Vivien marry Olivier and the next year they appeared together in That Hamilton Woman (1941).
By the time of the filming of Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), her life had begun to unravel. She had suffered two miscarriages, contracted tuberculosis, and was diagnosed as a manic depressive. However, her public was still enthralled with her. She rebounded nicely for her role as Blanche DuBois for her second Oscar-winning performance in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) opposite Marlon Brando in 1951. She wasn't heard from much after that. She made a film in 1955 (The Deep Blue Sea (1955)) and didn't appear onscreen again until 1961 in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961).
Vivien's final turn on the screen came in Ship of Fools (1965), and that was a small part. She died at the age of 53 after a severe bout of tuberculosis on July 7, 1967.
Laurence Olivier (31 August 1940 - 2 December 1960) (divorced)
Herbert Leigh Holman (20 December 1932 - 19 February 1940) (divorced) 1 child
Cat like smile
Won Tony Award-Best Musical Actress (1963) "Tovarich"
Ranked #48 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Suffered from manic depression.
Daughter, with Holman, Suzanne (b. 10/12/1933).
Lived with John Merivale from 1959 to her death in 1967.
A heavy smoker, Leigh was smoking almost four packs a day during filming of Gone with the Wind (1939).
Gertrude Hartley, while awaiting the birth of her child in Darjeeling, spent 15 minutes every morning gazing at the Himalayas in the belief that their astonishing beauty would be passed to her unborn child.
After cremation at Golders Green, London, her ashes were scattered on the mill pond at her home, Tickerage Mill, at Blackboys in Sussex.
Scarlett O'Hara might have been played by an actress called 'April Morn', a stage name she briefly considered before settling on Vivien Leigh.
Laurence Olivier's first wife, Jill Esmond, named Vivien as co-respondent in her February 1940 divorce from Olivier on grounds of adultery. Vivien would name Joan Plowright - Olivier's next and last wife - as co-respondent in her 1960 divorce from Olivier, also on grounds of adultery.
The producer of the 1935 play "The Mask of Virtue" suggested to her that she change the 'a' in her first name to an 'e' from "Vivian" to "Vivien."
According to legend, Myron Selznick introduced Vivien to his brother - Gone with the Wind (1939) producer David O. Selznick - with the words, "Hey, genius! Meet your Scarlett."
Married Laurence Olivier at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara on August 31st, 1940, with Katharine Hepburn as maid of honor; they honeymooned on actor Ronald Colman's yacht.
A lover of cats, especially Siamese.
Claimed that when she tested for Gone with the Wind (1939), the costume was still warm from the actress who preceded her.
Was offered the supporting role of Isabella in Wuthering Heights (1939), but decided to gamble and hold out for the lead role of Cathy. Director William Wyler thought she was crazy to pass up the opportunity, telling her, "You will never get a better part than Isabella for an American debut." Shortly after, she landed the plum role of Scarlett O'Hara.
Pictured on one of four 25¢ US commemorative postage stamps issued 23 March 1990 honoring classic films released in 1939. The stamp features Clark Gable and Leigh as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind (1939). The other films honored were Beau Geste (1939), Stagecoach (1939), and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Her favorite role was that of Myra Lester, which she played in Waterloo Bridge (1940).
She took her then husband's first name (Leigh) as her last name when she began acting professionally.
Son-in-law's name is Robin Farrington.
Has three grandsons: Neville Farrington (b. December 4 1958), Jonathan Farrington (b. May 13 1961) and Rupert Farrington (b. Aug 31 1962)
Godmother of actress Juliet Mills.
Measurements: 32A/B-23-33 (during Gone with the Wind (1939)). (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Reportedly used one of her two Oscars to doorstop her bathroom.
Is blood related to the author/poet Lyndsylee Spence. Lyndsylee looks like Vivien.
Kept Laurence Olivier's photograph beside her bed and on her dressing table even after they divorced. Until her death she was addressed as "Lady Olivier."
Was the first non-American to win a "Best Actress" Oscar (Gone with the Wind (1939)).
She desperately wanted to play the second Mrs. De Winter in Rebecca (1940) opposite her husband Laurence Olivier, but producer David O. Selznick thought the role would dilute her value as a Scarlett O'Hara type and cast Joan Fontaine instead. His decision severely strained her professional relationship with Selznick; neither she nor Olivier ever appeared in one of his films again. Fontaine won her first Academy Award nomination in the role.
Had an affair with actor Peter Finch that nearly ended her marriage to Laurence Olivier. The movie The V.I.P.s (1963) is based on an incident from Leigh's and Olivier's marriage, when she was about to leave him for Finch but Olivier wooed her back.
According to Laurence Olivier in his autobiography, one day in the late 1940s, Leigh announced out of the blue that she loved him like a brother, but while she was no longer in love with him, she wanted to continue as his wife. Olivier said the revelation was emotionally devastating to him. The remark marked the watershed in their relationship, when Leigh descended more and more into the dark moods linked to her bipolar disorder.
Although she was a British subject for her whole life, her ancestry was French and Irish.
Won Broadway's 1963 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for "Tovarich."
Was named #16 Actress on The American Film Institutes 50 Greatest Screen Legends
Is portrayed by Morgan Brittany in The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) (TV) and by Mel Martin in Darlings of the Gods (1989) (TV)
She was supposed to star in the Paramount film "Elephant Walk" with Peter Finch and Dana Andrews, but was replaced by Elizabeth Taylor after appearing in a few scenes. The reasons for Leigh's dismissal were rumored to be her difficult nature having just been diagnosed as a manic-depressive. Further complications may have erupted because of an affair she had with co-star Peter Finch while she was still married to Laurence Olivier... and Leigh and Olivier were still married in 1954.
She has at least 3 great granddaughters: Amy, Sophie and Ashua
^what a lifestory.
i watched a streetcar named desire yesterday, for the first time, and i was impressed by her performance, and her chosing this role/being chosen for this role which i think was a very bold decision, no? the marvelous beauty playing such an at times unattractive role. actors playing roles against their "type" (physically) were not so common as they are today.
Been things & seen places
well, Blanche was supposed to be a faded beauty...not unattractive but just "over the hill" a bit...back then, that meant early 30's
Both roles that Viv won an Oscar for involved her playing American Southern Iconic women which makes me proud as I am from Louisiana myself.
I love "Streetcar"-- just breaks my heart.
Glad you got to see it
Last edited by Orchide; 20-12-2005 at 05:25 PM.
early thirties? i forgot how OLD she was!
no, you are absolutely right, it was important that you could see, that she was very beautiful as faded or broken as she was at the time of her visit at her sister's house. so she was great in that part. for some reason i just didn't expect such a classic film actress to 'cover up' her beauty for the role's sake. maybe because i really can't remember other actresses in similar roles in the forties or fifties.. i guess on the theatre stage it was always usual but american movies from the fifties i always connected with glamour and being as beautiful and spruce as possible. quite a cliché i know.
I love her. Gone with the wind was my favourite film as a kid. I used to watch it about 4 times a day! (which meant no one got to see me much as its so long) I used to practice raising one eyebrow in the mirror for HOURS so i could look like her, lol. She is such a classic beauty with a dangerous edge which makes her even more sexy.
Vivien Leigh is one of my favourite actresses and a great beauty too. Every role she plays is so believable. I wish she had made more movies though. My favourites are Gone With the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire and Waterloo Bridge. I think she gave her best performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.
"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." - James Dean