Olivia de Havilland


Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland DBE (July 1, 1916 – July 25, 2020) was a British-American actress and centenarian. The major works of her cinematic career spanned from 1935 to 1988. She appeared in 49 feature films, and was one of the leading actors of her time. She was also one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema. Her younger sister was actress Joan Fontaine.

She first came to prominence as a screen couple in several films with Errol Flynn in adventure films such as Captain Blood (1935), also her first of many collaborations with director Michael Curtiz; and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), both featuring Basil Rathbone. One of her best-known roles is Melanie Hamilton in Victor Fleming‘s Gone with the Wind (1939), starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable; for which she received her first of five Oscar nominations, the only one for Best Supporting Actress (the award would go to co-star Hattie McDaniel).

De Havilland departed from ingénue roles in the 1940s and later received acclaim for her performances in Hold Back the Dawn (1941), with Charles Boyer, Paulette Goddard, Victor Francen, Walter Abel, Curt Bois, and Rosemary DeCamp; Mitchell Leisen’s To Each His Own (1946), with Mary Anderson and Roland Culver; Anatole Litvak’s The Snake Pit (1948), with Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Beulah Bondi, and Lee Patrick; and William Wyler‘s The Heiress (1949), with Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, and Miriam Hopkins; receiving nominations for Best Actress for each, winning for To Each His Own and The Heiress. She was also successful in work on stage and television. De Havilland has lived in Paris since the 1950s, and received honours such as the National Medal of the Arts, the Légion d’honneur, and the appointment to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Other notable film roles include Lloyd Bacon’s The Irish in Us (1935), with James Cagney; James Whale’s The Great Garrick (1937), with Brian Aherne and Edward Everett Horton; John Huston‘s In This Our Life (1942), with Bette Davis; The Strawberry Blonde (1941), with Cagney and Rita Hayworth; My Cousin Rachel (1952), with Richard Burton; That Lady (1955), Not as a Stranger (1955), with Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra; Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), with Joseph Cotten; and The Swarm (1978); starring Michael Caine. In addition to her film career, de Havilland continued her work in the theatre, appearing three times on Broadway, in Romeo and Juliet (1951), Candida (1952), and A Gift of Time (1962).

She also worked in television, appearing in the successful miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations (1979), and Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Movie or Series. During her film career, de Havilland also collected two New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup. For her contributions to the motion picture industry, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Alibi Ike (1935) – directed by Ray Enright
  • The Irish in Us (1935) directed by Lloyd Bacon
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935) – directed by Max Reinhardt & William Dieterle
  • Captain Blood (1935) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Anthony Adverse (1936) – directed by Mervyn LeRoy
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Call It a Day (1937) – directed by Archie Mayo
  • It’s Love I’m After (1937) – directed by Archie Mayo
  • The Great Garrick (1937) – directed by James Whale
  • Gold Is Where You Find It (1938) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – directed by Michael Curtiz & William Keighley
  • Four’s a Crowd (1938) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Hard to Get (1938) – directed by Ray Enright
  • Wings of the Navy (1939) – directed by Lloyd Bacon
  • Dodge City (1939) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Gone with the Wind (1939)** – directed by Victor Fleming
  • Raffles (1939) – directed by Sam Wood
  • My Love Came Back (1940) – directed by Curtis Bernhardt
  • Santa Fe Trail (1940) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • The Strawberry Blonde (1941) – directed by Raoul Walsh
  • Hold Back the Dawn (1941) – directed by Mitchell Leisen
  • They Died with Their Boots On (1941) – directed by Raoul Walsh
  • The Male Animal (1942) – directed by Elliott Nugent
  • In This Our Life (1942) – directed by John Huston
  • Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) – directed by David Butler
  • Princess O’Rourke (1943) – directed by Norman Krasna
  • Government Girl (1943) – directed by Dudley Nichols
  • To Each His Own (1946) – directed by Mitchell Leisen
  • Devotion (1946) – directed by Curtis Bernhardt
  • The Well Groomed Bride (1946) – directed by Sidney Lanfield
  • The Dark Mirror (1946) – directed by Robert Siodmak
  • The Snake Pit (1948) – directed by Anatole Litvak
  • The Heiress (1949) – directed by William Wyler
  • My Cousin Rachel (1952) – directed by Henry Koster
  • That Lady (1955) – directed by Terence Young
  • Not as a Stranger (1955) – directed by Stanley Kramer
  • The Ambassador’s Daughter (1956) – directed by Norman Krasna
  • The Proud Rebel (1958) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Libel (1959) – directed by Anthony Asquith
  • Light in the Piazza (1962) – directed by Guy Green
  • Lady in a Cage (1964) – directed by Walter Grauman
  • Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) – directed by Robert Aldrich
  • The Adventurers (1970) – directed by by Lewis Gilbert
  • The Screaming Woman (1972) – directed by Jack Smight – TV movie
  • Pope Joan (1972) – directed by Michael Anderson
  • Airport ’77 (1977) – directed by Jerry Jameson
  • The Swarm (1978) – directed by Irwin Allen
  • The Fifth Musketeer (1979) – directed by
  • Ken Annakin
  • Murder Is Easy (1982) – directed by Claude Whatham – TV movie
  • The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana (1982) – directed by Peter Levin – TV movie
  • North and South, Book II (1986) – directed by Kevin Conor – miniseries, 6 episodes
  • Anastasia (1986) – directed by Marvin J. Chomsky – miniseries, 2 episodes
  • The Woman He Loved (1988) – directed by Charles Jarrott – TV movie