Olivia de Havilland was a leading actress of her era, renowned for her beauty and artistry, with a career that spanned from the 1930s into the 1980s. Known as one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, she passed away on July 26, 2020, at the age of 104.
Early Life and Career Olivia Mary de Havilland was born on July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, to English parents. Her younger sister, Joan Fontaine, also became a famous actress. The family moved to California due to Olivia's health problems. While in high school, Olivia played Hermia in a stage production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which led to her being cast in the 1935 Warner Bros. film adaptation.
Rise to Fame One of de Havilland's most notable early roles was as Melanie Hamilton in "Gone with the Wind" (1939), which won her wide acclaim and her first of five Oscar nominations. Her portrayal of the gentle and kind-hearted Melanie contrasted sharply with the fiery Scarlett O'Hara, played by Vivien Leigh. For her performance, de Havilland received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Academy Awards Throughout her career, de Havilland won two Academy Awards for Best Actress: for "To Each His Own" (1946) and "The Heiress" (1949). She was also known for her professional and, at times, strained personal relationship with Errol Flynn, with whom she starred in several films, including "Captain Blood" (1935) and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938).
Legal Legacy Off-screen, de Havilland made a significant impact on the film industry through what became known as the "de Havilland Law." In 1943, she sued Warner Bros. over their practice of extending an actor's contract beyond its original term. The landmark ruling in her favor effectively ended the binding long-term contract system that had restricted the careers of Hollywood actors.
Later Life and Honors In her later years, de Havilland moved to Paris, France, and took on fewer roles. She authored the memoir "Every Frenchman Has One" (1962) and remained engaged with the film community. She received multiple honors, including the National Medal of Arts, France's Legion of Honour, and she was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017.
Death Olivia de Havilland died of natural causes in Paris, where she had lived for more than six decades. Her death marked the end of an era, as she was among the last surviving figures from the classical Hollywood cinema.
For more detailed information about her career and life, sources such as her New York Times obituary and IMDb profile would be useful. Her legacy in film history, as well as labor rights for actors, remains monumental.