TV & Showbiz

Remembering Olivia de Havilland: 1916-2020

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Actress Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving major star from ‘Gone With the Wind’ died Saturday at her Paris home at 104 years old.

Just last month, I mentioned to my mom that Olivia de Havilland would turn 104 on July 1. I hoped she would make it to 104, I said.

I’m not sure what it is about people — celebrities or not — who make it into their 90s. We want to see them hit that magical 100th birthday. And if they are fortunate enough to live for a century, we want to see them make every subsequent birthday.

She made it 104, but died in her sleep in her Paris home Saturday. She was said to be one of the last, if not the last living member from Hollywood’s “Golden Age.”

Her character, Melanie, was the first to die in Gone With the Wind. But the actress who played her outlived all of her co-stars.

But Hollywood also knew her for a real-life drama involving her sister, fellow actor Joan Fontaine. The two supposedly stopped speaking with each other in the 1970s. When Fontaine died in 2013, de Havilland released a statement claiming to be “shocked and saddened.”

It ended a long-standing feud that, according to legend, dated all the way back to the sisters’ childhood.

Fontaine once said de Havilland was a lion and Fontaine was a tigress, “and they don’t get along.”

She also said Hollywood tried to cast the sisters together in a picture, which would have been “another Hiroshima.”

De Havilland filed a lawsuit the day before her 101st birthday against FX and the producers of Feud: Bette and Joan. In the suit, de Havilland claimed she was portrayed “in a false light.”

The court later dismissed the suit, saying de Havilland had no right to control how filmmakers depicted her. Still, it showed even into her 11th decade, she was willing to fight for what she thought was right.

Back in 2003, de Havilland appeared at the 75th Oscar Awards to present a reunion of 58 other Oscar winners. She won two Oscars herself, for 1946’s To Each His Own and for 1949’s The Heiress.

RIP, Miss de Havilland.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.