Gone with the Wind star Olivia de Havilland dies at 104

Gone with the Wind star Olivia de Havilland dies at 104: Oscar-winning Hollywood golden age icon passes away ‘peacefully in her sleep’ at her home in Paris

  • Olivia de Havilland died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Paris, France on Saturday at age 104
  • The Gone with the Wind star was considered to be one of the last remaining stars of Old Hollywood 
  • She won two Best Actress Oscars for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949) respectively 
  • In 2018, Olivia famously took legal action against FX and Ryan Murphy, after she said that Murphy never sought her permission to depict her or use her name in the drama Feud: Bette & Joan

Olivia de Havilland, a star of Hollywood’s golden age and a two-time Academy Award winning actress, has died aged 104.

The British-American Dame, best-known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind (1939), died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Paris, France on Saturday, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Less than a month earlier, de Havilland, who had been the oldest surviving star of the classic movie, had celebrated her birthday on July 1.

The sister of actress Joan Fontaine, de Havilland enjoyed a remarkable life and career, evening winning two Best Actress Oscars for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949) respectively.

RIP: Gone With the Wind actress (pictured above in 2011 at the 36th Cesar Awards in Paris) ishas died aged 104

Born in Tokyo in 1916, De Havilland, Fontaine and their actress-mother Lillian moved to California in 1919 after their father Walter, a British patent attorney, left them to pursue a relationship with their housekeeper.  

She went on to make her on-screen debut in Max Reinhardt’s elaborate 1935 adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Gone with the Wind recently hit the headlines after HBO Max removed the picture from its service, before re-adding it with a few additions including a new introduction discussing the film’s controversial depiction of slavery in the South.

Meanwhile, in 2018, Olivia famously took legal action against FX and Ryan Murphy, after she said that Murphy never sought her permission to depict her or use her name in his drama Feud: Bette & Joan. 

The eight-episode series about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis saw Olivia played by fellow Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, however, the lawsuit was later dismissed. 

Golden era: The British-American Dame is perhaps best-known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind (1939)

Interestingly, Olivia is said to have had her own feud with actress-sister Joan, who was born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, which could certainly give Murphy something to chew over for his next project. 

To promote her 1978 memoir, No Bed of Roses, Joan said: ‘You can divorce your sister as well as your husbands. I don’t see her at all and I don’t intend to.’ 

She also added, ‘I got married first, got an Academy Award first, had a child first. If I die, she’ll be furious, because again I’ll have got there first!’

Portrayal: Fellow Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones played Olivia in Ryan Murphy’s hit series Feud, although the actress was not happy that FX failed to seek her permission over the show

Hollywood royalty: Olivia one two Best Actress Oscars for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949) respectively

Olivia looked radiant in 2011, when she attended the 36th Cesar Awards – the French Oscars – at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. 

Her acting career spanned six decades and continued into the late eighties, and she played Queen Elizbaeth, The Queen Mother in the American TV movie The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana in 1982. 

The actress had two marriages, to screenwriter Marcus Goodrich from 1946 to 1953, and Pierre Galante, from 1955 to 1979. 

Honors: Olivia pictured holding her Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters certificate, awarded by the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

Her first child with Marcus, a son named Benjamin Goodrich, died at the age of 42 of heart disease brought on by his suffering with Hodgkin’s disease. 

She had her second child, daughter Gisèle Galante, with husband Pierre, who was executive editor for the French journal Paris Match. Olivia’s marriage to Pierre meant a relocation to Paris where she remains to this day.

In 2017, Olivia became the oldest individual to be named a Dame.

Talking about the honor at the time, Olivia said in a statement that she was ‘extremely proud that the Queen has appointed me a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.’

A Star Is Born: Olivia pictured in 1948

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