Let’s look at her career, pre and post Gone With the Wind. How much do you really know about the two time Oscar winner.
After her sensational turn as Scarlett O’Hara in 1939’s Gone With The Wind, Vivien Leigh was perhaps the world’s most famous movie actress. After her 1940 marriage to Laurence Olivier, she reigned for nearly two decades as one half of the most glittering stage team of its time.
She was refined, she was beautiful. She had exquisite taste, was generous with friends and coworkers, socialized with British royalty and very much relished her title — after Olivier was knighted in the late Forties — of “Lady.”
Vivien Leigh, it turns out, was a complex woman with a dark side we don’t hear about very often.
Born in British-ruled India in 1913 as Vivian Mary Hartley, Leigh starred in nine movies in England before she was introduced to producer David Selznick — by his brother, agent Myron — with the words, ‘Here, genius. Meet your Scarlett O’Hara.’
The role won Vivian her first Oscar, but was followed up by only eight sometimes forgettable movies over the duration of her entire film career.
Leigh’s fragile physical and mental state worried Olivier, who was particularly alarmed by her frequent weight losses and lack of sleep especially since she had bouts of tuberculosis in the past. Her mood swings were becoming more pronounced, frightening and alienating the actor. (Vivien’s manic-depressive mental condition would directly lead to her divorce from Olivier in 1961.)
Ok, let’s get to our Vivian Leigh Quiz covering her pre and post GWTW films. We post the still, you identify the movie. As usual, answers tomorrow.
- Charles Laughton coproduced as well as costarred with Vivien in this 1938, pre-GWTW gambol about street dancers in London. Rex Harrison is also in the cast. The title is……..?
2. In this MGM weeper, her second screen appearance post GWTW, Vivien portrays a dancer with a dark past who falls for and loses a handsome American Army captain (Robert Taylor). Audiences loved her and it. The title is…
3. In this 1937 spy outing, produced by Alexander Korda, Vivien falls for a World War I spy for the other side — played by German actor Conrad Veidt, one of our favorite supporting players (calling Major Strasser from Casablanca). This was two years before her Scarlett incarnation. The title is…..
4) This mega-budget movie Vivien’s fourth film after GWTW, was a box office disappointment. The British producers promoted her participation with the line — her first great role since ‘Scarlett.’ For reasons we’ll explain tomorrow, the movie marked an ordeal for the actress. Yes, that’s Claude Rains on the right. The movie’s title is……?
5. This 1961 drama, based on a 1950 Tennessee Williams novel, has Vivien playing a fading actress-widow who takes up with a young gigolo (Warren Beatty). In all, an interesting screen farewell. The title is…….?