Olivia de Havilland passed away on July 25, 2020, at the age of 104. She’s one of Hollywood’s classic stars with a frock flick pedigree that can’t be beat. From her eight films with Errol Flynn to the obvious Gone With the Wind to My Cousin Rachel to TV series North and South and Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna — Miss de Havilland was a mainstay of the costume drama longer than most anyone of her generation.
Her legacy lasts beyond her acting roles, however, because in 1943, she sued Warner Bros. Pictures to help break the studio system that chained actors to only one studio for their careers. The resulting California Labor Code Section 2855 is known as the ‘De Havilland Law’ because of her, and since then, performers have gained extended greater creative freedom to performers
Olivia de Havilland moved to France in the 1950s, having married an editor for Paris Match. They separated in 1962, but she stayed in Paris, raising her daughter and continuing to act through the 1980s.
Here are just a few of the costume drama highlights we’ll remember her in! Share your memories in the comments.
What’s your favorite Olivia de Havilland frock flick?
She’s lovely! Quite a career and quite a long life! I’m going to rewatch Gone with the Wind soon to see her Melanie.
Tiny edit, I think two versions of this sentence may have gotten mushed together, “because of her, and since then, performers have gained extended greater creative freedom to performers”
I may be wrong, but I think she was the last living member of the credited cast of GWTW.
Absolutely my favorite is The Heiress.
One of my all-time favourite films!
Best exit line – ‘I can be very cruel – I have been taught by masters.’
It feels strange to bid her farewell,it is almost as if she was a living memorial of old Hollywood,with all its vices and virtues.How swiftly time flies.
My favourite role of her is “The Heiress”.The film itself was somewhat mopey,but Havilland’s portrayal of the titular character was the tour de force of her impressive career.
Rachel. 104 is a hell of a run.
And just last year, she sued the people behind “Feud” because she was displeased with how she was portrayed, specifically a scene where the actor playing her called de Havilland’s sister “a bitch”
That shocks me. Joan Fontaine and Olivia hated each other so much. They had a bet going on who would go first, and I was under the impression that Olivia thought she was great because she outlived her sister. Maybe they made up in their final years, but I’m surprised that Olivia cared about her sister to have sued them for defamation in regard to that.
Maybe she regretted that she let the feud go on that long? Or that would be the last thought anyone would have of her and Joan? It was her life and she should have the last say on it. Either way: 104 is a remarkable lifespan for anyone and Ms. de Haviland will be long remembered.
Bay Area connection – she and her sister spend part of their childhood years in Saratoga, CA. What a great lady she was. Pick: Anything with Errol Flynn.
She was in Pope Joan (1972). It was also a period film.
The 1938 Robin Hood shall ever be my one of my favorite movies.
She also stole “The Strawberry Blonde” (1941) from Rita Hayworth and held her own against James Cagney in this Olde New York/Turn of the last Century film.
Olivia was also in “Santa Fe Trail” in 1940, allegedly set in the 1850’s, remember I said “alledgedly”!
Can’t Believe she’s gone😭😭😭😭😭😭 she was the one actress I Wanted to beat Luise Rainer’s record for Longest surviving oscar winner they tied in 104
Loved all her historical flicks she has that natural regalness that made her so especial
But I believe Devotion, Santa Fe Trial, and part of To Each his own were allegedly historical
And I’m quite shore there was a lot more
I truly cannot believe she’s gone. Melanie is my absolutely favourite GWTW character- book or movie. Of her frock roles my favourites in no particular order are The Heiress, Robin Hood, Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, all the Errol Flynn and My Cousin Rachel.
I said, “Oh, noooo” when I saw the first paragraph of this post, but I had a feeling her death would come soon. It’s quite rare for a Hollywood legend to make it past 104 — and that’s an incredible record as it stands. Sad to see the last member of GWTW gone — she was, in a sense, a link to the past and to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
I hosted a Olivia de Havilland Blog-a-Thon for her birthday this year, which gave me the chance to re-watch many of her films — GWTW is my favorite, but she was terrific in My Cousin Rachel and in Robin Hood, which is absolutely gorgeously costumed (and also has Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains in it, a bonus in my book!).
Thank you, Olivia. You gave me many hundreds of hours of entertainment — and some memories watching your movies with my now-deceased grandmother that I shall never forget.
I may be the only person in the U.S. who can’t stand GWTW, book or movie, but I loved her in everything else she did, and to be fair, she was probably the best part of GWTW.
The Adventures of Robin Hood for lighthearted fun and The Heiress for gratifying vengeance.