Classic film 'Gone with the Wind' actress dies at 104

Olivia de Havilland was the last surviving lead from the classic 1939 historical romance film. The Award-winning actress dies on Sunday, July 26th at the age of 104.  Read below for more on the actress.

  • De Havilland was a British-American actress, the oldest living Award-winner up until her death. 
  • With her portrayal of Melanie Hamilton in the classic film Gone With The Wind she received the first of five Oscar nominations.
  • The 1939 film is based on Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling Civil War novel and winner of 10 Academy Awards.

The actress passed away at her home in Paris, where she had been living since the 1950s. She had stated that the classic romance film was “one of the happiest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It was doing something I wanted to do, playing a character I loved and liked.” The prolific actress also continued her off-screen career on Broadway. In 1951, she played a role in Romeo and Juliet, then again in 1952 with the play Candida and ten years later in A Gift of Time.

On Sunday Canadian singer Bryan Adams posted a photo on Twitter of de Havilland that he had taken of the star in 2009.

De Havilland played various roles, one of her most memorable ones is of Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood, but she felt frustrated because according to her she was never offered more challenging roles. This eventually led to her suing Warner Bros. in 1943 for trying to keep her under contract after it had expired. The California Court of Appeals finally ruled that "no studio could extend an agreement without the performer’s consent".

Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood, released in the US in 1938

The actress from The Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema won an Academy Award in 1946 for her performance in To Each His Own and three years later she won another Award for The Heiress. De Havilland's sister Joan Fontaine was also an Academy Award winner, her relationship with Fontaine, who died in 2013, was estranged. “On my part, it was always loving, but sometimes estranged and, in the later years, severed,” said de Havilland.

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