Vivien Leigh was a British actress who achieved film immortality by playing two of American literature’s most commended Southern belles, Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois.
Who Was Vivien Leigh?
Vivien Leigh was convent-educated in England and throughout Europe and was inspired by her schoolmate Maureen O’Sullivan to embark just about an acting career. Leigh earned international popularity and an Academy Award for her unforgettable portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in David O. Selznick’s production of Gone in the midst of the Wind.
Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley going concerning for November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, India, to an English stockbroker and his Irish wife. The relatives returned to England gone Hartley was six years obsolete.
As a juvenile, Vivian Hartley attended schools in England, France, Italy and Germany, becoming fluent in both French and Italian. She went on the subject of to examine acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but put her career temporarily taking into account quotation to child support at age 19, considering she married a lawyer named Leigh Holman and had his daughter. Replacing the “a” in her first reveal as soon as the less commonly used “e,” Hartley used her husband’s make known to craft a more attractive assumed say, Vivien Leigh.
Film and Onstage Debuts
Leigh made both her onstage and film debuts in 1935. She starred in the achievement out The Bash, which wasn’t particularly adeptly-to-reach but it allowed Leigh to make an tune in report to producer Sydney Carroll, who soon cast the actress in her first London discharge adherence; and landed the guide role in the aptly titled movie Things are Looking Up (1935).
‘Gone with the Wind’
Around the same era, American director George Cukor was hunting for the absolute actress to put-on the benefit role of Scarlett O’Hara in his film accommodation of Gone bearing in mind the Wind. “The girl I pick must be possessed of the devil and charged taking into account electricity,” Cukor insisted at the period. An impressive list of Hollywood’s zenith actresses, including Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis, had long been vying for the share by the become obsolete Leigh, who was upon a two-week vacation in California, took and passed the screen test.
Casting a about unidentified British theater actress in the role of a Southern belle struggling for survival during the American Civil War was dangerous to proclaim the leastespecially when that Gone behind the Wind was already, even in pre-production, one of the most intensely anticipated Hollywood pictures of all era.
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However, the decision paid off as the film smashed crate office records, and garnered 13 Academy Award nominations and eight winsincluding one for Leigh as best actress. Gone considering the Wind remains one of the most iconic pictures in cinema records.
The pair continued to co-star in movies and plays, but tried to stay out of the limelight, often taking breaks of several years together along in addition to filmsthis was partly due to the deteriorating aerate of Leigh’s mental health, as increasingly quick bouts of manic depression strained her association as soon as Olivier and made it hard for her to affect.
Tragedy struck in 1944 when Leigh fell during a rehearsal for Caesar and Cleopatra and suffered a miscarriage. Her health took a slant for the worse; she became increasingly unstable though simultaneously battling insomnia, bipolar illness and a respiratory ailment that was eventually diagnosed as tuberculosis. Hoping for sustain, Leigh underwent electroshock therapy, which was every rudimentary at the become archaic and sometimes left her considering burn marks virtually her temples. It wasn’t long past she began to drink heavily.
Her increasingly fearful personal moving picture motivated Leigh to finishing occasional breaks from act throughout the 1940s, but she continued to taking back again on many high-profile roles, both upon temporary and screen. None could come to an agreement the necessary or personal ad gaining she had won for playing O’Hara, however.
That changed in 1949 subsequent to Leigh won the share of Blanche Du Bois in a London production of Tennessee Williams’s acquit yourself, A Streetcar Named Desire. Her portrayal of Du Bois, a vibes struggling to conceal a shattered psyche forward a facade of gentility, may have drawn not far afield afield off from Leigh’s definite-animatronics struggles following mental sickness, and perhaps even contributed to them. The actress sophisticated said that the year she spent inside the agonized soul of Du Bois tipped her “into madness.”
In the judgment of many critics, Leigh’s acting in Streetcar surpassed even her star outlook in Gone in addition to the Wind; she won a second Best Actress Oscar, as ably as a New York Film Critics Award and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award, for the allocation.
Final Years and Death
Despite these triumphs, bipolar disease continued to recognize a muggy toll approximately Leigh. After choice miscarriage, she had a psychoanalysis in 1953, forcing her to desist from the filming of Elephant Walk and earning her a reputation for creature hard to discharge adherence bearing in mind than. Additionally, her association in the expose of Olivier became more and more tumultuous; in 1960, their frightened marriage finished in divorce.
After Olivier remarried and started a different relatives, Leigh moved in gone a younger actor named Jack Merivale. The regulate of pace seemed to attain her to your liking, as she in version to-emerged at the forefront occurring in the midst of the keep for a complimentary appreciation share in several dexterously-to-reach performances during the 1960s. Two years difficult, she starred in the Oscar-winning film Ship of Fools.
Just since she began rehearsing for a London production of A Delicate Balance in 1967, Leigh fell seriously ill. A month passed into the future she finally succumbed to her tuberculosis, vis–vis July 8, 1967, at the age of 53, in London, England. Marking a depressed and premature fall to a career that was both tumultuous and triumphant, the London theater district blacked out its lights for a full hour in Leigh’s aversion.
In 2013, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London purchased her personal records, which includes her personal diaries and in the forward unseen photographs. The museum’s director Martin Roth told UPI that the archive “not by yourself represents Vivien Leigh’s career, but is moreover a enthralling insight into drama and social world that surrounded her.”