Iconic Actress Olivia de Haviland Dies at 104

Photo via The Academy on Twitter

Iconic Actress Olivia de Haviland Dies at 104

By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor 

GONE WITH THE WIND actress Olivia de Haviland died in her sleep at 104 years old on July 26, 2020.

De Haviland celebrated her 104th birthday on July 1, 2020. She’s survived by her daughter, Gisèle Galante.

De Haviland was one of the final survivors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The Atlantic reported de Haviland’s early days:

Born in Tokyo to British parents, she had grown up mostly in Northern California and was discovered by the Austrian director Max Reinhardt, who cast her in his 1935 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As she blossomed from a promising young player into a star—in a string of swashbuckling costume dramas with Flynn, and then as the indelible Melanie Hamilton in Gone With the Wind—de Havilland grew pickier about the parts she would accept.

E! reported, “Along with her acclaimed acting career, Olivia is also known for changing the Hollywood system in the Golden Age of Cinema. In 1944, the actress audaciously sued Warner Bros. and ended up winning her case, which allowed other stars to be free of their studio contracts.”

E! added, “Her trailblazing lawsuit drastically shifted the Hollywood system, which created a more level-playing field between studios and actors.”

Related: GONE WITH THE WIND Actress’s Case Could Go to The Supreme Court

Movieguide® previously reported more on de Haviland’s accomplishments:

“In 2008, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush for her years of ‘persuasive and compelling skill as an actress’ and her fight for creative freedom for herself and fellow actors,” Newsweek reported.

Variety reported, “In June 2017, she became the oldest woman ever to receive the British title of dame, an honor bestowed on her by Queen Elizabeth II.”

Variety added, “The actress lived in Paris for 50 years. She made rare public appearances when she wanted, such as her trip to Los Angeles for a 2006 celebration of her 90th birthday thrown by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and occasional interviews centered on her 100th birthday.”

De Haviland was also the first female President of Jurors at the Cannes Film Festival.

De Haviland has a whopping 61 credits to her name. Her last role was in the 1988 TV movie THE WOMAN HE LOVED alongside Jane Seymour.

De Haviland won two Oscars during her tenure in Hollywood–one for Best Actress for THE HEIRESS (1949) and one for Best Actress for TO EACH HIS OWN.

Several fans in the Hollywood community took to social media to celebrate de Haviland’s legacy.

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