Do you know what happened 97 years ago today?
A Star was born. Vivien Leigh, many of you may remember her best in her Academy Award winning role as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind". That may have been the highlight of Leigh's career but that was definitely not the extent of this extraordinary woman's feats or works.
Vivien Leigh actually born Vivian Mary Hartley on November, 5th 1913 made her first public appearance at the delicate age of 3 when she performed for a small theater group her mother was involved with. Little did they know at that time that she would go on to grace the stage in both film and plays for a trying and triumphant 30 years.
Vivien Leigh joined and trained at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) beginning at the age of 19
Though Vivien Leigh awed people with her immense beauty and charmed them on stage she was not without her faults and struggles. She had been diagnosed with Tuberculosis which caused her to suffer greatly when overcome with bouts of her illness but that alone was not her struggle. Vivien Leigh also struggled with bi-polar disorder.
It was her bi-polar disorder that caused her to be looked upon as difficult by those who worked closely with her and knew her best. It was also affects of her disorder that seemed to be in part to blame for recurrent bouts of depression that took away from both her acting career and her marriage to Laurence Olivier.
Though her struggles with a mental disorder and tuberculosis may have slowed her down there is no denying that this beauty had talent and in the end that is what would shine through. Even those closest to Vivien Leigh remember her for being more than her struggles they remember an actress who earned her role as a leading lady.
This great actress who gave the public more than just the one outstanding performance in Gone with the Wind, that is now deemed traditional in many homes, passed away in her home at the age of 53 on July 7th, 1967. Her long time illness (tuberculosis) was finally too hard to fight.
Just to Name a Few: Films and Stage Performances Vivien Leigh Starred in:
The Mask of Virtue
Things are Looking Up
Gone with the Wind
A Streetcar Named Desire
The School for Scandal
Fire Over England
The Sleeping Prince
Vivian Mary Hartley Facts:
Born in: Darjeeling, Bengal Presidency, British India
Born on: November 5th, 1913
Died in: London, England
Died on: July 7th, 1967
Died of: Complications of Tuberculosis
Marriages: 1st marriage to Leigh Holman 1932-1940
2nd marriage to Laurence Olivier 1940-1960
Children: 1 daughter, Suzanne, born October 10th, 1933
Biggest hit of all time: Role as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind
Awards: 2 Academy Awards for her roles as Scarlett in "Gone with the Wind "and Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire" - 1 Tony for best musical comedy performance for "Tovarich"