Happy 100th Birthday Olivia de Havilland!

Posted on July 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

Happy 100th birthday to one of the greatest and most versatile stars of the golden age of Hollywood, Olivia de Havilland!

She and her fellow-Oscar-winning sister, Joan Fontaine, were born in Tokyo, the daughters of British parents, a professor and an actress. The girls and their mother later moved to California, where she appeared in local theater productions as a teenager. Producer Max Reinhardt offered her an understudy role in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and when Gloria Stuart (later nominated for an Oscar for “Titanic”) left the production, de Havilland played Hermia, and was asked to perform the same part in the film, opposite Dick Powell.

Soon she was paired with Errol Flynn in “Captain Blood.”

They made eight more films together. My favorite is “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

Another of my favorite de Havilland performances is opposite James Cagney in “The Strawberry Blonde.”

She played Melanie in “Gone With the Wind.”

She won an Oscar for “To Each His Own.”

She won another one for “The Heiress.” And she won something more important — her rebellion against the oppressive contracts of the Hollywood studios led to a lawsuit that gave actors the freedom to choose their roles.

Happy birthday, Miss de Havilland! Thank you for 100 years of grace, beauty, and intelligence.

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