Olivia de Havilland, ‘Gone With the Wind’ actress and Hollywood royalty, dies at age 104.
The news came from the actress’ publicist, Lisa Goldberg, who announced her death of natural causes at her home in Paris, where she lived for more than 60 years.
De Havilland had not been seen on the screen in many years. She started out in the 1930s, making her first big splash in her first of eight pairings with swashbuckler Errol Flynn with Captain Blood in 1935. The pair’s cinematic chemistry between the gregarious Flynn and the delicate de Havilland reached its zenith in 1938’s classic rendition of Robin Hood, with de Havilland as Maid Marian.
The role she was to become most famous for happened a few years later: She was only 24 when she starred in the pic Gone With The Wind as the saintlike Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett O’Hara’s rival for the affections of her beloved Ashley Wilkes. The Civil War saga was a full-on sensation, winning the Best Picture Oscar for 1939, although de Havilland lost Best Supporting Actress to her co-star Hattie McDaniel, the first Academy Award won by a Black entertainer. (De Havilland traveled to New York in 1998 to celebrate the movie’s 60th anniversary.)
After Gone With The Wind, she searched for more challenging roles. Nominated for Best Actress for 1941’s Hold Back The Dawn, she lost to her sister, Joan Fontaine, who won for Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion. The two were the first sisters nominated for an Oscar in the same year, and hosted a decades-long rivalry. De Havilland bounced back to win for 1946’s To Each His Own and 1949’s The Heiress, playing a plain Jane who falls for charming player Montgomery Clift (she also got another Best Actress nomination for 1948’s The Snake Pit). Other awards and honors earned over her lifetime include the Medal Of Arts from President George W. Bush, and Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II (a few weeks before her 101st birthday, becoming the oldest woman to receive the honor). She was married twice, and both marriages ended in divorce, although she remained close friends with her second husband, French journalist Pierre Galante.
Some reactions to news of de Havilland’s death:
Olivia de Havilland, legendary Golden Age Hollywood star, has died at age 104. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/DWcG7vLlXd
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) July 26, 2020
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) July 26, 2020
Olivia De Havilland, One Of Hollywood's Longest Living Legends, Dies At 104 https://t.co/exk5gPd0Wv
— Diedrich Bader (@bader_diedrich) July 26, 2020
“To Each His Own,” “The Heiress,” “Gone with the Wind” and so many others. A two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, Olivia de Havilland was a mainstay of Hollywood’s Golden Age and an immeasurable talent. Here's to a true legend of our industry. pic.twitter.com/VYMMNknh4v
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) July 26, 2020