Image of Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland

Olivia Mary de Havilland was born to a British patent attorney and his wife on July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan. Her sister, Joan, later to become famous as Joan Fontaine, was born the following year. Her parents divorced when Olivia was just three years old, and she moved with her mother and sister to Saratoga, California. After graduating from high school, Olivia enrolled in Mills College in Oakland. At Mills, she participated in the school play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and was spotted by Max Reinhardt. Reinhardt was so impressed that he picked her up for both his stage version and the Warner Bros. film version in 1935. Greatly impressd, Warner executives signed her to a 7-year contract. Olivia appeared in 3 more films: The Irish in Us (1935), Alibi Ike (1935) and Captain Blood (1935), the latter with Errol Flynn. He and Olivia starred together in 8 films during their careers. In 1939 Warner Bros. loaned her to David O. Selznick for Gone with the Wind (1939). Playing the sweet Melanie Hamilton, Olivia received her 1st nomination for Best Supporting Actress, only to lose out to co-star, Hattie McDaniel. After GWTW, Olivia returned to Warner Bros. In 1941 she played Emmy Brown in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), which resulted in her 2nd Oscar nomination, now for Best Actress. Again she lost to her sister Joan for her role in Suspicion (1941). After that strong showing, Olivia now demanded better, more substantial roles than the "sweet young thing" slot into which Warners had been fitting her. The studio responded by placing her on a 6-month suspension. As if that weren't bad enough, when her contract was up, she was told that she would have to make up the time lost for the suspension. She sued the studio, and for the length of the court battle didn't appear in a single film. In a landmark decision, the court said not only that Olivia did not have to make up the time, but that all performers were to be limited to a seven-year contract that would include any suspensions handed down. This became known as the "de Havilland decision". In 1946, Olivia made up for lost time by appearing in 4 films, one finally won her an Oscar: To Each His Own (1946). Olivia was the strongest performer in Hollywood for the balance of the 1940s. In 1948 she starred in The Snake Pit (1948). The end result was another Oscar nomination for Best Actress, losing to Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948). She made only one film in 1949, but she won a nomination and the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Heiress (1949). After a 3-year hiatus, Olivia returned to star in My Cousin Rachel (1952). From that point on, she made few appearances on the screen but was seen both on Broadway and in some television shows. Her last screen appearance was in The Fifth Musketeer (1979), and her last career appearance was in the TV movie The Woman He Loved (1988). During the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of GWTW in 1989, she graciously declined requests for all interviews as the only surviving one of the four main stars. Today she enjoys a quiet retirement in Paris, France.

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Jul 1, 1916 In Tokyo, Japan
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Alibi Ike 1935-06-15
Latest Project:
Movie Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn 2015-08-18
Known For
Poster of Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland
Poster of The Well Groomed Bride
Poster of Hold Back the Dawn
Poster of Raffles
Movie Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn Herself (archive footage) 2015-08-18
Movie The Adventures of Errol Flynn Self - Actress (also archive footage) 2005-04-05
Movie Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland Herself 2004-11-09
Movie The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies 1995-06-05
Movie The Woman He Loved Aunt Bessie Merryman 1988-04-03
Movie The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind Herself 1988-10-01
Movie Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Dowager Empress Maria 1986-12-07
Movie Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage Herself (archive footage) 1983-02-25
Movie Murder Is Easy Honoria Waynflete 1982-01-02
Movie The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother 1982-09-20
Movie The Fifth Musketeer Anne d'Autriche 1979-04-06
Movie The Swarm Maureen Schuester 1978-07-14
Movie Airport '77 Emily Livingston 1977-03-11
Movie The Screaming Woman Laura Wynant 1972-01-29
Movie Pope Joan Mother Superior 1972-08-16
Movie The Adventurers Deborah Hadley 1970-03-25
Series ABC Stage 67 Unknown 1966-09-14
Movie Noon Wine Ellie Thompson 1966-11-23
Movie Lady in a Cage Mrs. Cornelia Hilyard 1964-01-01
Movie Hollywood Without Make-Up Herself 1963-07-01
Movie Libel Lady Margaret Anne Loddon 1959-10-23
Movie The Proud Rebel Linnett Moore 1958-07-01
Movie The Ambassador's Daughter Joan Fisk 1956-07-26
Movie Not as a Stranger Kristina Hedvigson 1955-07-01
Movie That Lady Ana de Mendoza 1955-05-11
Series This Is Your Life Unknown 1955-07-29
Movie My Cousin Rachel Rachel Sangalletti Ashley 1952-12-25
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Movie The Snake Pit Virginia Stuart Cunningham 1948-11-04
Movie Devotion Charlotte Brontë 1946-04-05
Movie To Each His Own Miss Josephine 'Jody' Norris 1946-03-12
Movie The Well Groomed Bride Margie Dawson 1946-05-17
Movie The Dark Mirror Terry / Ruth Collins 1946-10-17
Movie Show-Business at War Self 1943-05-21
Movie Thank Your Lucky Stars Herself 1943-09-25
Movie Princess O'Rourke Princess Maria 1943-10-23
Movie Government Girl Elizabeth 'Smokey' Allard 1943-11-05
Movie The Male Animal Ellen Turner 1942-03-12
Movie Breakdowns of 1942 Self 1942-01-01
Movie In This Our Life Roy Timberlake 1942-05-08
Movie The Strawberry Blonde Amy Lind 1941-02-21
Movie Hold Back the Dawn Emmy Brown 1941-09-26
Movie They Died with Their Boots On Elizabeth Bacon 1941-11-20
Movie Gone with the Wind Melanie Hamilton 1940-02-16
Movie My Love Came Back Amelia Cornell 1940-07-13
Movie Santa Fe Trail Kit Carson Holliday 1940-12-20
Movie Cavalcade of the Academy Awards Herself 1940-07-31
Movie Wings of the Navy Irene Dale 1939-02-11
Movie Dodge City Abbie Irving 1939-04-08
Movie Raffles Gwen 1939-11-11
Movie The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Lady Penelope Gray 1939-11-11
Movie Gold Is Where You Find It Serena Ferris 1938-02-12
Movie The Adventures of Robin Hood Maid Marian 1938-05-13
Movie Out Where the Stars Begin Serena Ferris (archive footage) 1938-05-28
Movie Hard to Get Margaret "Maggie" Richards 1938-11-05
Movie Call It a Day Catherine 'Cath' Hilton 1937-04-17
Movie A Day at Santa Anita Olivia de Havilland (uncredited) 1937-05-27
Movie The Great Garrick Germaine de la Corbe 1937-10-30
Movie It's Love I'm After Marcia West 1937-10-08
Movie Anthony Adverse Angela Guiseppe 1936-08-29
Movie Alibi Ike Dolly Stevens 1935-06-15
Movie The Irish in Us Lucille Jackson 1935-07-31
Movie A Dream Comes True Herself (uncredited) 1935-12-31
Movie Captain Blood Arabella Bishop 1935-12-26
Movie A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia 1935-10-09
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