Olivia de Havilland

Biography

Date of Birth 1 July 1916, Tokyo, Japan Birth Name Olivia Mary de Havilland Height 5' 4" (1.63 m) Olivia Mary de Havilland was born to a British patent attorney and his wife on July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan. Her sister, Joan, later to become famous as Joan Fontaine, was born the following year. Her parents divorced when Olivia was just three years old, and she moved with her mother and sister to Saratoga, California. After graduating from high school, where she fell prey to the acting bug, Olivia enrolled in Mills College in Oakland. It was while she was at Mills that she participated in the school play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and was spotted by Max Reinhardt. She so impressed Reinhardt that he picked her up for both his stage version and, later, the Warner Bros. film version in 1935. She again was so impressive that Warner executives signed her to a seven-year contract. No sooner had the ink dried on the contract than Olivia appeared in three more films: The Irish in Us (1935), Alibi Ike (1935) and Captain Blood (1935), the latter with the man with whom her career would be most closely identified, heartthrob Errol Flynn. He and Olivia starred together in eight films during their careers. In 1939 Warner Bros. loaned her to David O. Selznick for the classic Gone with the Wind (1939). Playing the sweet Melanie Hamilton, Olivia received her first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, only to lose out to one of her co-stars in the film, Hattie McDaniel. After GWTW, Olivia returned to Warner Bros. and continued to churn out films. In 1941 she played Emmy Brown in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), which resulted in her second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress. Again she lost, this time to her sister Joan for her role in Suspicion (1941). After that strong showing, Olivia now demanded better, more substantial roles than the "sweet young thing" slot into which Warners had been fitting her. The studio responded by placing her on a six-month suspension, all of the studios at the time operating under the policy that players were nothing more than property to do with as they saw fit. As if that weren't bad enough, when her contract with Warners was up, she was told that she would have to make up the time lost because of the suspension. Irate, she sued the studio, and for the length of the court battle she didn't appear in a single film. The result, however, was worth it. In a landmark decision, the court said not only that Olivia did not have to make up the time, but that all performers were to be limited to a seven-year contract that would include any suspensions handed down. This became known as the "de Havilland decision"; no longer could studios treat their performers as mere cattle. Returning to screen in 1946, Olivia made up for lost time by appearing in four films, one of which finally won her the Oscar that had so long eluded her. It was To Each His Own (1946), in which she played Josephine Norris to the delight of critics and audiences alike. Olivia was the strongest performer in Hollywood for the balance of the 1940s. In 1948 she turned in another strong showing in The Snake Pit (1948) as Virginia Cunningham, a woman suffering a mental breakdown. The end result was another Oscar nomination for Best Actress, but she lost to Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948). As in the two previous years, she made only one film in 1949, but she again won a nomination and the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Heiress (1949). After a three-year hiatus, Olivia returned to star in My Cousin Rachel (1952). From that point on, she made few appearances on the screen but was seen on Broadway and in some television shows. Her last screen appearance was in The Fifth Musketeer (1979), and her last career appearance was in the TV movie The Woman He Loved (1988) (TV). During the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of GWTW in 1989, she graciously declined requests for all interviews as the only surviving one of the four main stars. Today she enjoys a quiet retirement in Paris, France.

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Birth Name

Olivia Mary de Havilland

Birth Place

Tokyo, Japan

Birth Date

7/1/1916

Death Date

7/25/2020
Known For
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The Adventures of Robin Hood

Maid Marian

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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Miriam

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Santa Fe Trail

'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)

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The Dark Mirror

Terry / Ruth Collins

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They Died with Their Boots On

Elizabeth Bacon

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The Snake Pit

Virginia Stuart Cunningham

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Dodge City

Abbie Irving

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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Lady Penelope Gray

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Lady in a Cage

Mrs. Cornelia Hilyard

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In This Our Life

Roy Timberlake

Starring In
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Olivia de Havilland - Unbeugsam und so charmant

Self (archive footage)

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The Fabulous Allan Carr

Self (archive footage)

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1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year

(archive footage)

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Die Bette Davis Story

Herself (archive footage)

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The Adventures of Errol Flynn

Herself - Actress

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50 Years: The Best Of Hollywood

Interview

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The first 100 Years of Cinema

Herself

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The Woman He Loved

Aunt Bessie Merryman

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Anastasia - The Mystery of Anna

Dowager Empress Maria

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Hollywood Out-Takes and rare Footage

Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Swarm

Maureen Schuester

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Airport '77

Emily Livingston

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Pope Joan

Mother Superior

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The Screaming Woman

Laura Wynant (as Olivia DeHavilland)

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The Adventurers

Deborah Hadley (as Olivia De Havilland)

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Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Miriam

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Lady in a Cage

Mrs. Cornelia Hilyard

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Light in the Piazza

Meg Johnson

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Libel

Lady Margaret Loddon

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The Proud Rebel

Linnett Moore

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The Ambassador's Daughter

Joan Fisk

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Not as a Stranger

Kristina Hedvigson

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My Cousin Rachel

Rachel Ashley (as Olivia deHavilland)

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The Heiress

Catherine Sloper

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The Snake Pit

Virginia Stuart Cunningham

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The Dark Mirror

Terry / Ruth Collins

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To Each His Own

Miss Josephine 'Jody' Norris (as Olivia De Havilland)

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Predilección

Charlotte Brontë (as Olivia DeHavilland)

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Breakdowns of 1944

Self (uncredited)

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Princess O'Rourke

Princess Maria (as Olivia DeHavilland)

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Government Girl

Smokey Allard

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Thank Your Lucky Stars

Herself

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The Male Animal

Ellen Turner

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In This Our Life

Roy Timberlake

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Breakdowns of 1942

Self (uncredited)

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They Died with Their Boots On

Elizabeth Bacon

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Hold Back the Dawn

Emmy Brown

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The Strawberry Blonde

Amy Lind

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Santa Fe Trail

'Kit Carson' Holliday (as Olivia De Havilland)

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My Love Came Back

Amelia Cornell

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Gone with the Wind

Melanie Hamilton - Their Cousin

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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Lady Penelope Gray

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Dodge City

Abbie Irving

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Wings of the Navy

Irene Dale

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Raffles

Gwen

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Out Where the Stars Begin

Serena Ferris (archive footage) (uncredited)

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The Adventures of Robin Hood

Maid Marian

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Four's a Crowd

Lorri Dillingwell

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Gold Is Where You Find It

Serena Ferris

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The Great Garrick

Germaine (as Olivia deHavilland)

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It's Love I'm After

Marcia West

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A Day at Santa Anita

Olivia de Havilland (uncredited)

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Call It a Day

Catherine 'Cath' Hilton

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The Charge of the Light Brigade

Elsa Campbell (as Olivia De Havilland)

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Anthony Adverse

Angela Guiseppe

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Captain Blood

Arabella Bishop

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A Dream Comes True

Self (uncredited)

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Hermia - In love with Lysander (as Olivia de Haviland)

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La Historia de Carlos y Diana

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

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