Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – Olivia de Havilland

1 - Olivia-de-Havilland-b.-1916

Olivia de Havilland

born July 1, 1916, Tokyo, Japan


Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland is a British American motion-picture actress remembered for the lovely and gentle ingenues of her early career as well as for the later, more-substantial roles she fought to secure.

The daughter of a British patent attorney, de Havilland and her younger sister, Joan Fontaine, moved to California in 1919 with their mother, an actress. While attending school, de Havilland was chosen from the cast of a local California production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to play Hermia in a 1935 Warner Brothers film version of that play. As the sweet-tempered beauty to Errol Flynn’s gallant swain, she appeared in many costume adventure movies of the 1930s and ’40s, including Captain Blood (1935), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941).

They Died with Their Boots On (1941) Autie and Libbie Farewell

She also played romantic leading roles in Strawberry Blonde (1941), Hold Back the Dawn (1941), and The Male Animal (1942) and portrayed Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939).

Gone with the Wind (1939) Mammy and Melanie stair scene

She gave Academy Award-winning performances in To Each His Own (1946) and

The Heiress (1949). She also gave a superb performance in The Snake Pit (1948).

De Havilland moved to France in 1955 and worked infrequently in films after that, most memorably in The Light in the Piazza (1962), Lady in a Cage (1964), and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). She also appeared in a number of television plays.

De Havilland was the recipient of numerous honours. She received the American National Medal of Arts in 2008, and two years later she was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour in France, where she lived.

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland get rid of the body

In 2017, shortly before her 101st birthday, she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)

More on:


Olivia de Havilland – From Baby to 102 Year Old


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