Olivia de Havilland, iconic star of ‘Gone With the Wind’, has died aged 104
Olivia de Havilland, the iconic star of Gone With the Wind, has past away at the age of 104.
The actress, one of the last remaining of Hollywood’s Golden Age of cinema, died from natural causes on Sunday at her home in Paris.
“Last night, the world lost an international treasure, and I lost a dear friend and beloved client,” De Havilland’s former lawyer Suzelle M. Smith said in a statement. “She died peacefully in Paris.”
Having appeared in 49 feature films, the two-time Academy Award winner began her prolific career in 1935 and continued to work on the big screen right up until 1988. While De Havilland earned success with roles in films such as Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, it was her performance as Melanie Hamilton in the classic film 1939 film Gone with the Wind which solidified her fame.
With other notable performances in pictures such as Hold Back the Dawn, To Each His Own, The Snake Pit, The Heiress and more, De Havilland earned a reputation for her remarkable ability to portray the beauty of a reserved, modest, and somewhat shy on-screen persona. “Playing bad girls is a bore,” she once said.
“I have always had more luck with good-girl roles, because they require more from an actress.” But the actor’s soft exterior concealed a core of steel. In the 1940s she successfully sued Warner Bros in a landmark ruling that helped break the stranglehold of the US studio system. “I was told I would never work again, if I won or if I lost,” she later recalled. “[But] when I won they were impressed, and didn’t bear a grudge.”
De Havilland is survived by her daughter Gisele Galante Chulak.