Vivien Leigh, originally named Vivian Mary Hartley, was born in India in 1913 to British parents. Vivien famously played the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind and co-starred along side Clark Gable whom she did not get along with. Vivien won an Oscar for her performance and later won another Oscar for her role as Blanche DuBois alongside Marlon Brando in A Street Car Named Desire. Famous for her trademark lifted right eyebrow and her striking beauty, Vivien was as determined and stubborn as her character Scarlett. She is reported to have stolen her first husband away from another woman, and then left him for the gorgeous and famous Laurence Olivier - who left his then wife for Vivien.
Vivien played alongside Olivier in many performances and the two eventually were married in 1940. The small wedding ceremony was attended by friend Katherine Hepburn. Vivien played many famous female roles including Cleopatra and Ophelia but her diagnosis with tuberculosis and the fate of having several miscarriages, exasperated her struggle with bi-polar disorder. Due to her bouts of depression and anger, which Olivier seems to have experienced the brunt of, the couple separated. Vivien had other relationships and Olivier eventually married actress Joan Plowright. However, Vivien and Olivier do appear to have remained in love with each other.
Vivien died in 1967 after another bout of tuberculosis, and Oliver rushed to her apartment, but did not make it in time. Although nearing the end, her life was rather sad and tumultuous, Vivien really was a star. She had a remarkable beauty and played extremely important cinematic female roles that are still famously known. If you would like to read more about Vivien, her former husband wrote of her in his memoir titled, Confessions of an Actor, or read Vivien Leigh: A Biography by Michelangelo Capua.
Vivien is most definitely my favourite actress. I -embarrassingly- used to practice Scarlett O'Hara lines in front of my mirror as a child, while raising my right eyebrow in that femme fatale way Vivien did. I strongly recommend watching the lengthy Gone with the Wind, if you are one of the few persons on this earth who have not seen it. The dresses alone make the movie a must-see.
Lots of Love,