Olivia de Havilland was an independent and confident woman who shaped her own success with willpower and talent.
Some people are exceptional not just because of their talent but also because of who they are as a person. Hollywood star, Olivia de Havilland was such a person. At a time where circumstances were not favorable to her for varied reasons, Olivia rose to fame through sheer will power. She did not allow anyone to look down at her or underestimate her capabilities, instead she fought for what she deserved and made a place for herself.
According to People, the legendary actress passed away in her sleep at her home in Paris on 26 July 2020. “Last night, the world lost an international treasure, and I lost a dear friend and beloved client. She died peacefully in Paris," said a statement, according to Irish Examiner.
Her death comes soon after her 104th birthday celebration on 1 July 2020. The actress is well-known for her box-office hit Gone With The Wind and was one of the top Hollywood names in the 1930s and 40s.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Olivia rose to fame through her roles in a series of adventure films like Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood. At the time, she often played characters that were saved by the heroes and trapped by her marital life. However, as she moved forward in her career, the actress began playing powerful lead roles sending out a loud and clear message to the world.
She was first nominated for the Oscars for the role of Melanie in Gone With The Wind. Though she did not win the award, the movie inspired millions of Americans. In 1946, Olivia won her first Academy Award for To Each His Own and another award for her 1949 movie, The Heiress.
Over the years, Olivia displayed her brilliance in acting and mesmerized the world with her performances. One of the most notable characters was the role of an inmate of a mental institution in the 1948 movie, The Snake Pit. "She rarely stops acting (or rehearsing) when she leaves the set," stated the Time Magazine that year, according to People.
The actress carefully chose her characters and did not shy away from saying "no". According to Entertainment Weekly, she turned down the role of Blanche DuBois in 1951 after she felt she could not "relate to it."
Besides, she was so confident in herself that she even put up a fight with the production giant, Warner Bros. When the studio decided to extend her seven-year contract with them because she kept refusing roles, Olivia decided not to remain quiet. She fought against them legally and won the case.
The landmark ruling helped end binding seven-year contracts for all Hollywood actors and is known as “de Havilland law," according to Entertainment Weekly. The ruling “made it clear that California law limits to seven years the time an employer can enforce a contract with an employee," according to People.
“To Each His Own,” “The Heiress,” “Gone with the Wind” and so many others. A two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, Olivia de Havilland was a mainstay of Hollywood’s Golden Age and an immeasurable talent. Here's to a true legend of our industry. pic.twitter.com/VYMMNknh4v— The Academy (@TheAcademy) July 26, 2020
Olivia moved to Paris in 1955 after she married French journalist Pierre Galante. Soon after her professional career slowed down. She played supporting characters throughout the 1970s and later switched to television.
The actress even shined there. She won the Gloden Globe for her role in the TV movie Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna. As the years went by, she retired from the public eye and followed a more private lifestyle away from fame and Hollywood. However, she occasionally made appearances on television and even made movies.
According to People, the actress became the oldest person to be named a Dame Commander in Queen Elizabeth II‘s Birthday Honors List in 2017 at the age of 100. Speaking to People at the time, the actress said she was “extremely proud" of the honor.
Olivia de Havilland, legendary Golden Age Hollywood star, has died at age 104. Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/DWcG7vLlXd— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) July 26, 2020
Her demise is a great loss to the world. "A two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, Olivia de Havilland was a mainstay of Hollywood’s Golden Age and an immeasurable talent. Here's to a true legend of our industry," stated The Academy, on Twitter. Many others shared their condolences.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the funeral will be held privately.