Vivien Leigh won two Academy Awards for her roles as the sassy Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” and Blanch DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She is best known for playing shrewd Southern belles. Leigh, a British actress who was unknown at the time, beat out Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis for the part in the Civil War drama. In a review for The New York Times, Frank E. Nugent said, “She is so perfectly made for the part by art and nature that it’s hard to imagine any other actress in the role.”
Leigh studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but she got married at 19 and had a child before she started her career. According to Biography, the marriage led to the birth of a daughter, whose name was changed from “Vivian” to “Vivien” and “Leigh” for her stage name.
The Royal Philatelic Society London says that she started acting in 1935, first in the play “The Bash” and then in the movie “Things Are Looking Up.” Harper’s Bazaar says that she met Laurence Olivier in London while they were both working on the play “The Mask of Virtue” in 1936.
He was also married, but when they were both casts in the movie “Fire Over England” in 1937, they fell in love with each other and began an affair. After getting divorced, they got married in 1940 and were a big deal in show business for 20 years until they broke up.
Many people don’t know that Leigh had bipolar disorder, which often got in the way of her career.
Vivien Leigh Struggled For A Long Time With Her Health.
During the filming of GWTW, her secretary Sunny Lash noticed that she was acting strangely. In a letter to Olivier, she said, “Several times I thought she really was going mad.” “She told me once that she would do it someday, and I was starting to think that day had come.”
IMDb says that the movie won eight Academy Awards and broke box office records. Guinness World Records says that the movie broke box office records. Viv and Larry say that Leigh fell and lost her baby when she was rehearsing “Caesar and Cleopatra” in 1944. Leigh finished the movie, but she didn’t go to the premiere. In fact, she didn’t watch it for years. Mental Floss says that after the trauma, Leigh became sad and had trouble sleeping.
Marie Claire magazine says that Leigh turned to electroshock therapy for help because of her disorder, a terrible loss, and a problem with her lungs that turned out to be tuberculosis.
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” in which she played Blanche DuBois, did not help her get better. “Blanche is a woman with nothing left,” she is quoted as saying by Mental Floss. “She is a sad person, and I can relate to her. But playing with her drove me crazy.”
A death notice in The New York Times says that Leigh died in 1967 at the age of 53 from tuberculosis, which she had since 1945. At the time, she was practicing for a West End show of “A Delicate Balance” that she was going to be in.