“Famous people feel that they must perpetually be on the crest of the wave, not realising that it is against all the rules of life. You can’t be on top all the time, it isn’t natural”
Olivia Mary de Havilland (July 1, 1916 – July 25, 2020) was a British-American actress. The major works of her cinematic career spanned from 1935 to 1988. She appeared in 49 feature films and was one of the leading actresses of her time. She was the last major surviving star from the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema and oldest living Academy Award winner until her death in July 2020. Her younger sister was the actress Joan Fontaine.
De Havilland first came to prominence with Errol Flynn as a screen couple in adventure films such as “Captain Blood” (1935) and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938). One of her best-known roles is that of Melanie Hamilton in “Gone with the Wind” (1939), for which she received her first of five Oscar nominations, the only one for Best Supporting Actress.
De Havilland departed from ingénue roles in the 1940s and later distinguished herself for performances in “Hold Back the Dawn” (1941), “To Each His Own” (1946), “The Snake Pit” (1948), and “The Heiress” (1949), receiving nominations for Best Actress for each and winning for To Each His Own and “The Heiress”. She was also successful in work on stage and television. De Havilland lived in Paris from the 1950s and received honours such as the National Medal of the Arts, the “Légion d’honneur”, and the appointment to “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire”.
In addition to her film career, de Havilland continued her work in the theatre, appearing three times on Broadway, in “Romeo and Juliet” (1951), “Candida” (1952), and “A Gift of Time” (1962). She also worked in television, appearing in the successful miniseries “Roots: The Next Generations” (1979) and “Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna” (1986), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Movie or Series. During her film career, de Havilland also collected two New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup. For her contributions to the motion picture industry, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She and her sister remain the only siblings to have won major acting Academy Awards and the only sisters to have won any Academy Awards.