Olivia De Havilland

Shop by the Stars aisle featuring Olivia de Havilland (born 1916) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.

Five-time Academy Award nominee and two-time winner, immortalized for her portrayal of Melanie in Gone With the Wind (1939), de Havilland was born a British citizen in Tokyo, Japan. Older sister of fellow Academy Award winner Joan Fontaine. Olivia, Joan, and their mother relocated to San Francisco in 1919—their father left the family to return to Japan. De Havilland performed in school plays and began performing with the amateur Saratoga Community Players in 1933. Her Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream earned Max Reinhardt's attention, and de Havilland was soon elevated from understudy to play Hermia in Reinhardt's own production of the same play. When Warner Bros. hired Reinhardt to direct their screen version, the Austrian director asked the young actress to play Hermia on-screen and De Havilland thus signed her first movie contract. She quickly rose to stardom alongside Errol Flynn in Captain Blood (1935), the first of eight classic pairings that also included the even bigger The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and de Havilland's famous faint in They Died with Their Boots On (1941). Became a US citizen in 1941. A contract dispute led to her suing Warner Bros. in 1943. She won the suit, but wound up blacklisted for a few years afterward. Her successful return sandwiched Oscar victories for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949) around another nomination for what I think of as her best role in The Snake Pit (1948). She moved to New York and played on Broadway for the first time. In 1955, she married Paris Match editor Pierre Galante, and moved to France, where she remains to this day. She appeared in the occasional play, TV program or movie, and theatrical film through 1988. Worldwide honors continue to roll in: National Medal of Arts from the US in 2008; Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur from France in 2010; and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017. Other movies worth seeking out include The Strawberry Blonde (1941), her Oscar-nominated performance in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), and Princess O'Rourke (1943).

Birthday: July 1

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