Legendary “Gone with the Wind” actress Olivia de Havilland turns 104

ATLANTA — Likely the last remaining credited cast member of the legendary film “Gone with the Wind,” actress Olivia de Havilland turned 104 on Wednesday. 

De Havilland played the loyal and long-suffering Melanie Wilkes in the Oscar-winning film, which had its premiere at the Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta on December 15, 1939. Melanie in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939). From a re-release trailer.

Posted by Olivia de Havilland on Monday, May 11, 2020

Born in Tokyo on July 1, 1916, de Havilland made her big-screen debut in 1935 in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Following the success of “Gone with the Wind,” de Havilland would go on to win two Academy Awards for Best Actress for her roles in 1946′s “To Each His Own” and 1949′s “The Heiress.”

Happy 104th birthday, Dame Olivia de Havilland! 🎂 It's now just after the stroke of midnight in Paris, where Dame...

Posted by Olivia de Havilland on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

“Ultimately, de Havilland’s career spanned 53 years, from 1935 to 1988. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. She was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in England. And, while her relationship with younger sister Joan Fontaine remained strained until Fontaine’s death at age 96 in 2013, they are the only siblings in history to be awarded with an Oscar in a lead acting category,” Forbes reported in 2019.

“I don’t need a fantasy life as once I did. That is the life of the imagination that I had a great need for. Films were the perfect means for satisfying that need,” de Havilland told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.

“In November 2008, President George W. Bush presented de Havilland, then 92, with the National Medal of Arts, saying ‘Her independence, integrity and grace won creative freedom for herself and her fellow film actors.’ Two years later, she was appointed a chevalier (knight) of the Legion d’Honneur. In June 2017, she became the oldest woman ever to receive the British title of dame, an honor bestowed on her by Queen Elizabeth II,” Variety reported.


“The actress has lived in Paris for 50 years. She still makes rare public appearances when she chooses, such as her trip to Los Angeles for a 2006 celebration of her 90th birthday thrown by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and occasional interviews centered on her 100th birthday,” the New York Post reported.

In 2017, de Havilland, who had just turned 101 years old, filed suit over the unauthorized use of her identity in Ryan Murphy’s FX series “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones portrayed a young de Havilland in the miniseries.

"I want respect; respect for doing a difficult job," de Havilland once said.

FX and those involved in the project put de Havilland in “a false light to sensationalize the series,” a statement from de Havilland said, noting that everyone else portrayed in the series is dead.

Last year on her 103rd birthday, a picture of de Havilland was posted to Facebook of her riding a bike. 

Olivia enjoys a bicycle ride.

Posted by Olivia de Havilland on Thursday, July 4, 2019

“How many women in this world are served breakfast in bed every morning by a gorgeous young man? I am. So how do I feel about older age? Crazy about it. Wouldn’t trade it for anything!” de Havilland told Entertainment Weekly.

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