Olivia de Havilland, the last remaining great Hollywood star of both the golden '30s and '40s, is an irresistible woman.
She is undoubtedly best remembered as the noble-minded yet resilient Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" (1939). But she found even wider-ranging roles in "To Each His Own" (1946), for which De Havilland won her first lead actress Oscar, and in "The Snake Pit" (1948), which earned her a lead actress nomination for her portrayal of a young wife stricken with mental illness and thrust into a hellish state institution.
But "The Heiress" (1949), directed by William Wyler, which brought De Havilland her second Oscar, is a highlight in a career that could strike envy even in even the most versitile and successful actress.
Of all the filmmakers who directed her in more than 40 feature films, De Havilland retains a special fondness for the late Mitchell Leisen, who directed her not only in "To Each His Own" but also in "Hold Back the Dawn" (1941), which allowed De Havilland to reveal the passion and vulnerability lurking in a seemingly prim and decidedly unsophisticated woman. It also earned her yet another Oscar nomination for lead actress.
De Havilland has shown that strength and femininity are hardly mutually exclusive, and the meticulously developed scripts that came alive within the stylized world of the studio system allowed De Havilland to create truly complete women, something that few young actresses have the opportunity to do in today's Hollywood. Her major films have stood the test of time.
|1939||Best Supporting Actress||Gone With the Wind||Nomination|
|1941||Best Actress||Hold Back the Dawn||Nomination|
|1946||Best Actress||To Each His Own||Win|
|1948||Best Actress||The Snake Pit||Nomination|
|1949||Best Actress||The Heiress||Win|