Olivia de Havilland

American actress Olivia de Havilland

Olivia Mary de Havilland is a Japanese-born British American film and stage actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 and 1949. She is the elder sister of actress Joan Fontaine. The sisters are among the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s.
Olivia de Havilland's personal information overview.
01 July 1916

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  • 2016
    Age 99
    DeHavilland celebrated her 100th birthday on July 1, 2016.
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  • 2012
    Age 95
    As recently as 2012, she was still doing readings on major feast days, including Christmas and Easter. "It's a task I love," she once said.
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  • 2010
    Age 93
    On September 9, 2010, deHavilland was appointed a Chevalier (knight) of the Légion d'honneur, the highest decoration in France, awarded by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who told the actress, "You honor France for having chosen us."
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  • 2006
    Age 89
    In 2006, she was inducted into the Online Film & Television Association Award Film Hall of Fame. On November17, 2008, President George W. Bush presented deHavilland the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given for achievement in the arts conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the American people. On September9, 2010, deHavilland was appointed a Chevalier (knight) of the Légion d'honneur, the highest decoration in France, awarded by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
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    In June 2006, she made appearances at tributes commemorating her 90th birthday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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  • 2004
    Age 87
    In 2004, Turner Classic Movies produced a retrospective piece called Melanie Remembers in which she was interviewed for the 65th anniversary of the original release of Gone with the Wind.
  • 2003
    Age 86
    In 2003, she appeared as a presenter at the 75th Academy Awards.
  • 1998
    Age 81
    In retirement, deHavilland remained active in the film community. In 1998, she traveled to New York to help promote a special showing of Gone with the Wind.
  • 1988
    Age 71
    In 1988, deHavilland appeared in the HTV romantic television drama The Woman He Loved; it was her final screen performance.
  • 1986
    Age 69
    In the 1980s, her television work included an Agatha Christie television film Murder Is Easy (1982), the television drama The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana (1982) in which she played the Queen Mother, and the 1986 ABC miniseries North and South, Book II.
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  • 1979
    Age 62
    In 1979, she appeared in the ABC miniseries Roots: The Next Generations in the role of Mrs. Warner, the wife of a former Confederate officer played by Henry Fonda.
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  • 1972
    Age 55
    In 1972, she starred in her first television feature film, The Screaming Woman, about a wealthy woman recovering from a nervous breakdown.
  • 1964
    Age 47
    In 1964, de Havilland appeared in her last two leading roles in feature filmsboth psychological thrillers.
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  • 1962
    Age 45
    The year 1962 also had the publication of deHavilland's first book, Every Frenchman Has One, a lighthearted account of her often amusing attempts to understand and adapt to French life, manners, and customs.
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  • 1961
    Age 44
    Following her divorce from Goodrich, deHavilland resumed contact with her sister, coming to her apartment in New York and spending Christmas together there in 1961.
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  • 1956
    Age 39
    Following her appearances in the romantic melodrama Not as a Stranger (1955) and The Ambassador's Daughter (1956)neither of which were successful at the box officedeHavilland gave birth to her second child, Gisèle Galante, on July18, 1956. De Havilland returned to the screen in 1958 in Michael Curtiz's Western drama The Proud Rebel, a film about a former Confederate soldier whose wife was killed in the war and whose son lost the ability to speak after witnessing the tragedy.
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  • 1955
    Age 38
    On April 2, 1955, deHavilland married Pierre Galante, an executive editor for the French journal Paris Match. Her marriage to Galante prompted deHavilland to move to Paris. The couple separated in 1962, but continued to live in the same house for another six years to raise their children together. Galante moved across the street and the two remained close, even after the finalization of the divorce in 1979.
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  • 1953
    Age 36
    After romantic relationships with Howard Hughes, James Stewart, and John Huston, deHavilland married author Marcus Goodrich, with whom she had a son, Benjamin. Following her divorce from Goodrich in 1953, she moved to Paris and married Pierre Galante, an executive editor for the French journal Paris Match, with whom she had a daughter, Gisèle.
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  • 1952
    Age 35
    In August 1952, deHavilland filed for divorce, which became final the following year. Following a long-distance courtship and the requisite nine-month residency requirement, deHavilland and Galante married on April2, 1955, in the village of Yvoy-le-Marron, and settled together in a three-story house near Bois de Boulogne park in the Rive Droite section of Paris.
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  • 1950
    Age 33
    In 1950, her family moved to New York City, where she began rehearsals for a major new stage production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet; it was her lifelong ambition to play Juliet on the stage.
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  • 1949
    Age 32
    After giving birth to her first child, Benjamin, on September27, 1949, deHavilland took time off from making films to be with her infant.
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  • 1946
    Age 29
    Their relationship was further strained in 1946 when Fontaine made negative comments to an interviewer about deHavilland's new husband.
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    On August26, 1946, she married Marcus Goodrich, a Navy veteran, journalist, and author of the 1941 novel Delilah. The marriage ended in divorce in 1953.
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    Her performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946her first Oscar.
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  • 1945
    Age 28
    After the California Court of Appeals ruling freed her from her Warner Bros. contract, deHavilland signed a two-picture deal with Paramount Pictures. In June 1945, she began filming Mitchell Leisen's drama To Each His Own, about an unwed mother who gives up her child for adoption and then spends the rest of her life trying to undo that decision.
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  • 1944
    Age 27
    On December8, 1944, the California Court of Appeals for the Second District ruled in her favor.
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  • 1943
    Age 26
    In November 1943, the California Superior Court found in deHavilland's favor, and Warner Bros. immediately appealed.
    On August23, 1943, on the advice of her lawyer, Martin Gang, deHavilland took Warner Bros. to court, citing an existing California labor law that forbade an employer from enforcing a contract against an employee for longer than seven years.
    After fulfilling her seven-year Warner Bros. contract in 1943, deHavilland was informed that six months had been added to her contract for times she had been on suspension.
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  • 1942
    Age 25
    Filmed in July and August 1942, the story is about a European princess in Washington, DC, visiting her diplomat uncle, who is trying to find her an American husband. Intent on marrying a man of her own choosing, she boards a plane heading west and ends up falling in love with an American pilot, who is unaware of her true identity. The film was released on October23, 1943, and did well at the box office.
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    In 1942, deHavilland appeared in Elliott Nugent's romantic comedy The Male Animal with Henry Fonda, about an idealistic professor fighting for academic freedom while trying to hold onto his job and his wife Ellen.
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  • 1941
    Age 24
    While appearing in a summer stock production of What Every Woman Knows in Westport, Connecticut, her second professional stage appearance, deHavilland began dating Marcus Goodrich, a Navy veteran, journalist, and author of the 1941 novel Delilah. They were married on August26, 1946.
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    In 1941, she appeared in three commercially successful films, beginning with Raoul Walsh's romantic comedy The Strawberry Blonde with James Cagney.
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  • 1940
    Age 23
    According to deHavilland, Stewart proposed marriage to her in 1940, but she felt that he was not ready to settle down. Their relationship ended in late 1941 when deHavilland began a romantic relationship with film director John Huston while making In This Our Life. "John was a very great love of mine", she would later admit, "He was a man I wanted to marry."
    In early 1940, deHavilland refused to appear in several films assigned to her, initiating the first of her suspensions at the studio.
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  • 1939
    Age 22
    In December 1939, deHavilland began a romantic relationship with actor James Stewart.
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    Warner relented, and deHavilland was signed to the project a few weeks before the start of principal photography on January26, 1939.
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  • 1938
    Age 21
    In a letter to a colleague dated November 18, 1938, film producer David O. Selznick wrote, "I would give anything if we had Olivia deHavilland under contract to us so that we could cast her as Melanie."
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    In July 1938, deHavilland began dating business tycoon, aviator, and filmmaker Howard Hughes, who had just completed his record-setting flight around the world in 91 hours.
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  • 1937
    Age 20
    In September 1937, deHavilland was selected by Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner to play Maid Marian opposite Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
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    In 1937, deHavilland had her first top billing in Archie Mayo's comedy Call It a Day, about a middle-class English family struggling with the romantic effects of spring fever during the course of a single day.
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  • 1936
    Age 19
    During the film's production, deHavilland renegotiated her contract with Warner Bros. and signed a seven-year contract on April14, 1936, with a starting weekly salary of five hundred dollars.
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  • 1935
    Age 18
    Filmed between August5 and October29, 1935, Captain Blood gave deHavilland the opportunity to appear in her first costumed historical romance and adventure epic, a genre to which she was well suited, given her beauty and elegance.
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    In July 1935, Warner Bros. paired deHavilland with an unknown Australian actor named Errol Flynn in the swashbuckler film Captain Blood (1935).
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    Olivia deHavilland made her screen debut in Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1935.
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  • 1934
    Age 17
    DeHavilland made her screen debut in Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was filmed at Warner Bros. studios from December19, 1934, to March9, 1935.
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    With her mind still set on becoming a teacher, deHavilland initially wavered, but eventually Reinhardt and executive producer Henry Blanke persuaded her to sign a five-year contract with Warner Bros. on November12, 1934, with a starting salary of $200 a week.
    After graduating from high school in 1934, deHavilland was offered a scholarship to Mills College in Oakland to pursue her chosen career as an English teacher.
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  • 1933
    Age 16
    In 1933, deHavilland made her debut in amateur theatre in Alice in Wonderland, a production of the Saratoga Community Players based on the novel by Lewis Carroll.
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  • 1925
    Age 8
    In April 1925, after her divorce was finalized, Lilian married George Milan Fontaine, a department store manager for O.A.Hale & Co. in San Jose.
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  • 1922
    Age 5
    DeHavilland entered Saratoga Grammar School in 1922 and did well in her studies.
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  • 1919
    Age 2
    In February 1919, Lilian persuaded her husband to take the family back to England to a climate better suited for their ailing daughters.
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    Born in Tokyo to English parents, deHavilland and her younger sister, actress Joan Fontaine, moved to California in 1919.
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  • 1916
    Born on July 1, 1916.
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