Olivia de Havilland, Star Of 'Gone With the Wind', Dies At 104

Olivia de Havilland, Star Of 'Gone With the Wind', Dies At 104

Her publicist revealed that she died from natural causes in Paris.

Image Source: IMDb (L)The Great Garret/(R)An event for La nuit des Césars

The last surviving cast member from 'Gone With The Wind' has died at the age of 104. The actress recently celebrated her birthday. According to The Guardian, her publicist revealed that she died from natural causes in Paris, where she was residing. Olivia, who is actress Joan Fontaine's sister, won her first Oscar for her role in To Each His Own (1946) and her second one was for The Heiress (1949). However, she did receive an Academy Award nomination for her role in Gone With The Wind. She is best known for her role in the 1939 movie as well. 


Not winning the award really broke her heart back then, says Entertainment Weekly.  “When I returned home on Oscar night, aged 23 and the loser of the award…. I was convinced there was no God,” she says via email. But when she considered the historical significance of McDaniel becoming the first African-American to win, her loss didn’t seem so dramatic. And she cheered herself up by interpreting the Academy’s decision as vindication that she belonged in the lead category all along. “About two weeks later, I woke up and thought, ‘Oh, how wonderful! I wasn’t a supporting actress, and Hattie was, and she won!"


"Those blessed voters were not misled for one minute…. I’d rather live in a world where someone who is a supporting actress wins against someone who, instead, is a star playing a starring role!… There is a God, after all!’" de Havilland’s specialty was the demure, soulful beauty. “Playing bad girls is a bore,” she once claimed. “I have always had more luck with good-girl roles, because they require more from an actress.” But the actor’s soft exterior concealed a core of steel. In the 1940s she successfully sued Warner Bros in a landmark ruling that helped break the stranglehold of the US studio system.


“I was told I would never work again, if I won or if I lost,” she later recalled. “[But] when I won they were impressed and didn’t bear a grudge.” However, she did continue to work, but it was for a brief period. She went into a sort of self-retirement after she moved to Paris during the 50s. Away from the cameras, she preferred to teach Sunday School at church. In later life, she insisted, acting had largely lost its allure. “Life is too full of events of great importance,” she told one interviewer. “That is more absorbing and enriching than a fantasy life. I don’t need a fantasy life as once I did."


She added: "That is the life of the imagination and I had a great need for it. Films were the perfect means of satisfying that need.”Apart from this, in 2017, De Havilland also achieved a very special distinction, as she became the oldest person to be named a Dame. Of the honor, de Havilland said in a statement to PEOPLE that she is “extremely proud that the Queen has appointed me a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.” She added, “To receive this honor as my 101st birthday approaches is the most gratifying of birthday presents."  Rest in peace, Olivia de Havilland!


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