Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Actress Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland may be the oldest woman I've featured on this blog.  Not to mention one of the most distinguished.

The famous movie actress turned 99 earlier this month (July 2015), and not only is she alive and well as of this writing, but she's living in Paris. ;-)

Born to British parents, Olivia de Havilland grew up in California where she developed her acting abilities in her school drama clubs.  She hit the ground running in the early days of talking pictures, debuting as Hermia in the 1935 film version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.   She established herself with her performances as Maid Marian in 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood and as Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in 1939's Gone With the Wind, which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She got her first Oscar, for Best Actress, for her performance as Josephine Norris in 1946's To Each His Own and earned a second Best Oscar Actress for her portrayal of Catherine Sloper in 1949's The Heiress.  And as Miriam Deering in 1964's Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte, she held her own against the great Bette Davis.

She continued to work sporadically in the seventies and eighties, especially on television - she even appeared in an episode of "The Love Boat" once - and she earned a Golden Globe Award and Emmy nomination for playing the Dowager Empress Maria in the 1986 miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, about the Grand Duchess Anastasia, who was famously impersonated by many women after the Romanov dynasty (including Anastasia herself) was executed by the Bolsheviks.  (Fun fact:  This miniseries was Christian Bale's first film.)

Olivia de Havilland is still alluring to her many admirers.  In 2012, historian David McCullough, seventeen years her junior, met her at a U.S. Embassy reception in Paris.  He kissed her, fulfilling a lifelong dream. :-)  

Another fun fact: Actress Joan Fontaine was her sister.

No comments: