One of Hollywood’s true legends, Olivia de Havilland, passed away in 2020. The 104-year-old star of classic movies like The Adventures of Robin Hood and Gone with the Wind, who won two Oscars, passed away.

While filming Gone With the Wind, the final major living Hollywood star was infamous for her dark sense of humor, but her real life was even more sinister than her films.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland

Everett Collection / Shutterstock . com Nobody can touch Olivia in terms of her grace, control, beauty, strength, intelligence, and wit. The picture of a lady, she was.

De Havilland first rose to prominence in the 1930s as one of Hollywood’s top ingénues, starring in memorable roles in action movies with Errol Flynn, such as the classics Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood. She ended the decade playing Melanie Wilkes in the iconic Gone with the Wind, which is frequently regarded as one of the greatest Hollywood movies of all time and remains, when adjusted for inflation, the highest-grossing movie ever made. This is perhaps the role for which she is best remembered. De Havilland gave a timeless performance that earned her her first Oscar nomination as the sweet best friend and confidant to Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland

Wikimedia Commons However, her most significant off-screen contribution to Hollywood occurred in 1943 when she sued Warner Bros. wanting the freedom to pursue roles with other studios, she objected to the terms of her exclusive contract.

She prevailed in the lawsuit, giving actors a victory and lessening the influence the studio system had over them. The de Havilland Law has been in existence for quite some time. It also meant that de Havilland was able to shed her ingenue stereotype at Warner Bros and pursue more dramatic roles, which paid off: She won two Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for the 1946 film To Each His Own and the 1949 film The Heiress, among other accolades.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland

Tragic childhood Wikimedia Commons In 1960, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The National Medal of Arts was presented to her in 2008. De Havilland, one of the final representatives of classic Hollywood, made her final on-screen appearance in 1988. Given her background and the achievements she had made, Olivia de Havilland must have been extremely proud of herself. Her early years were quite tragic and difficult. Olivia was born in Tokyo in 1916 to British parents Lillian (nee Ruse), an actor, and Walter de Havilland, a patent attorney.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland
Kate Bush, Color Photograph, 1993

Lilian Fontaine and her daughters, Olivia de Havilland (seated) and Joan Fontaine (on the floor), shortly after their arrival in the United States. Olivia also had a younger sister named actress Joan Fontaine, who was born in 1917. The sister’s relationship and rivalry “was a constant source of speculation in the gossip columns,” the BBC claims. Their mother apparently decided to relocate to California in 1919 because Olivia and Joan had bronchial issues. The plan was to relocate the girls to a climate that would be more beneficial to them.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland

A doctor suggested Saratoga, which is located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains. Sadly, Lillian and Walter de Havilland never reconciled. Olivia’s father was infamous for having extramarital affairs and would later desert the family. The father returned to Tokyo to marry his Japanese housekeeper 11 days after arriving in California. Instead of growing up with her mother, sister, and stepfather, Olivia de Havilland lived with them all. The mother’s upbringing was reportedly very rigid. On her daughters, Lillian placed extremely high expectations. Oliva and Joan had to get permission to leave the house.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland

De Havilland in the stage production of Alice in Wonderland, 1933 When a teenage de Havilland, with her large brown eyes and long golden-brown hair, started to become interested in amateur theatre and started to appear in school plays, things at home started to go south. She had a strong desire to work in the entertainment industry, which eventually brought her and her stepfather, George Milan Fontaine, into a heated argument. He threatened to evict her from the house if Olivia accepted the lead role in the high school production of “Pride and Prejudice” because he didn’t want her to pursue a career as an actress. But Olivia’s love of drama was insatiable. She was made aware that if she left the house, she would be gone for good by her strict stepfather. The 17-year-old girl made the decision to accept the part and left her family behind to pursue her dreams.

Until she was awarded a scholarship to Mills College, Olivia resided at the home of friends. The rest is now history.

James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland in The Irish in Us (1935). Olivia’s passing has left a huge hole in the atmosphere, like oxygen leaving the room around us. At 104 years old, she passed away on July 26, 2020. Her publicist claimed that she passed away at her Parisian home from natural causes. Naturally, it didn’t take long for Hollywood to honor the legend and her remarkable career.

She was described as “larger than life” and “a brilliant actor” by actress Jane Seymour in her recollection of working with her on a movie. ”.

Yesterday marked the passing of the legendary Olivia De Havilland. She was 104 years old. I was fortunate to meet Olivia in Paris and she had a significant impact on my life. I thanked her for her bravery and explained how my brother and I were impacted by her decisions (1/6)—JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) July 26, 2020.

Inside the life of ‘Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland

The actor Jared Leto, who recalled meeting de Havilland in Paris and talking about how the actress’ legal victory affected his own career, provided one of the most intimate tributes. Leto posted a message on Twitter saying, “I thanked her for her bravery and shared how my brother and I were affected by her choices. Additionally, admirers paid tribute to de Havilland by placing messages on her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What a remarkable life and career, as captured by Ringo Chiu of Share this story with your favorite Olivia de Havilland memories. R.I.P. to a true Hollywood legend.