Remembering Olivia de Havilland on Her Birthday
Born in Tokyo to British parents on July 1, 2016, Olivia de Havilland became one of the great ladies of the silver screen. I was saddened by her passing last year. This legendary actress appeared in over 50 films during her illustrious career, earning five Oscar nominations and two gold statuettes for Best Actress -- one for To Each His Own (1946) and the other for The Heiress (1949).
To many moviegoers, de Havilland gave her most memorable performance as the sweet-tempered Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939). But this talented actress also galvanized attention in roles leaning more to the darker side in films like Dark Mirror (1946) where she portrayed twin sisters -- one a disturbed murderer.
The list of directors de Havilland worked with reads like a filmmaking Whoís Who; it includes such famous names as John Huston, Victor Fleming, Anatole Litvak, Mitchell Leisen, Stanley Kramer and William Wyler. She co-starred with luminaries like Charles Boyer, Richard Burton, Montgomery Clift, Joseph Cotton, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Ralph Richardson and Errol Flynn.
Flynn paired with de Havilland in one of my favorite adventure films, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). I own the video of that terrific movie and still watch it frequently. The chemistry between Flynn as Robin Hood and de Havilland as Maid Marian simply canít be matched in terms of good-natured bantering and mutual attraction. Thatís probably why these two actors were paired in seven more films.
Although Olivia de Havilland is missed by her fans throughout the world, we are fortunate that she left us such a marvelous film legacy.