(1913 - 1967)
The British actress, best remembered for playing two Southern belles on the screen (Scarlett O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND and Blanche DuBois in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE) was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, daughter of a successful businessman living in India.
At the end of WWI, her family moved back to England, and her parents placed the young girl of six in a convent school. One of her best childhood friends at the school was future actress Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane to Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan in six features).
At the age of nineteen, Vivian married Herbert Leigh in 1932 and had her only child the following year. She left her husband in 1937 and began a relationship with actor Laurence Olivier. Their twenty-year marriage began in 1940 after divorce ink was dry for both.
She was awarded the plum role of Scarlett O'Hara after virtually every actress in show business had auditioned for the part. For her nine months of work on GONE WITH THE WIND, she was paid $25,000. After winning the Academy Award Best Actress award as Scarlett, her film salary quadrupled. She later won the Best Actress honor again for STREETCAR.
Her health unraveled in 1945. She contracted tuberculosis and was diagnosed as a manic depressive. Both illnesses would plague her the rest of her life.
She had to drop out of the filming of the 1954 film, ELEPHANT WALK, due to sickness. She was replaced by Elizabeth Taylor. An affair with co-star Peter Finch during filming nearly broke up her marriage to Olivier. Watching ELEPHANT WALK today, if you look closely at some of the long shots of the movie, it is Vivien Leigh in the frame, not Liz.
The strain of her illnesses eventually destroyed her marriage, and she and Olivier divorced in 1960.
A severe attack of tuberculosis took Vivien in 1967. She was only 53.
Despite her legendary status as a movie actress, Vivien Leigh made only nineteen movies. She and Olivier spent much of their careers performing on the London and New York stages.
|THINGS ARE LOOKING UP|
|THE VILLAGE SQUIRE|
|FIRE OVER ENGLAND|
|STORM IN A TEACUP|
|A YANK AT OXFORD|
|THE SIDEWALKS OF LONDON|
|GONE WITH THE WIND|
|21 DAYS TOGETHER|
|THAT HAMILTON WOMAN|
|CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA|
|A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE|
|THE DEEP BLUE SEA|
|THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE|
|SHIP OF FOOLS|