Vivien Leigh was a tiny, frail actress from the Himalaya mountains who won enduring fame for her fiery film performance as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind."
The two-time Academy Award-winning actress won her first Oscar in 1940 for her portrayal of Scarlett. She won the second Oscar 12 years later for her performance in "Streetcar Named Desire." Her last American film was "Ship of Fools," released in 1966.
Her tumultuous marriage to Sir Laurence Olivier lasted two decades until their divorce in 1960. He had been a key link in the chain of events that gave the actress the role of Scarlett. When producer David O. Selznick decided to film the Civil War novel by Margaret Mitchell, a worldwide search was launched for a woman to play the role of the tempestuous Southern belle.
The quest triggered feminine dreams of glamor, wealth and fame around the world. And at least 1,400 women submitted applications to the studio. Olivier introduced Leigh to Myron Selznick, who introduced her to his brother, the producer, with the comment "Meet Scarlett O'Hara."
Her selection for the Scarlett role became embedded in the folklore of Hollywood.
Leigh, a versatile actress equally at ease with light, frothy, roles, played other unsympathetic Southern women in her later important American films. She portrayed the faded, neurotic Blanche DuBois in "Streetcar Named Desire" and an alcoholic in "Ship of Fools."
Though Leigh was an accomplished actress who played many roles, she will best be remembered as Scarlett O'Hara.
|1939||Best Actress||Gone With the Wind||Win|
|1951||Best Actress||A Streetcar Named Desire||Win|