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Olivia de Havilland, who was best known to viewers for her role as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind has died. The actress reportedly died peacefully in her sleep. She was 104 and the last surviving star of Gone with the Wind.
According to THR, Olvia de Havilland passed away on Saturday, July 25 at he home in Paris, which was announced by her publicist Lisa Goldberg. The actress had just celebrated her 104th birthday earlier this month. At this time, her family has not released any further statement.
Olivia de Havilland first became known to the public in the early 1930s through her roles in smaller films like Call It a Day and It’s Love I’m After. While none of these films would help advance her career immediately, critics were slowly taking notice of her work, with many lauding her performances.
As the decade went on, she would eventually find mainstream success in Hollywood films through roles in projects like The Adventures of Robin Hood, in which she starred alongside Errol Flynn. The film became an immediate success and earned de Havilland even more recognition. She would eventually go on to star in other notable films of the ’30s like Four’s a Crowd, Wings of the Navy and Dodge City.
But of course, Olivia de Havilland’s most iconic role would come in 1938 when she was cast as the refined, but strong-willed, Melanie Wilkes in Victor Fleming’s big-screen adaptation of Gone with the Wind. The actress famously worked to secure the role, which was originally out of reach since she was still under contract at Warner Bros. and was unable to do an MGM production. However, the actress teamed up with the wife of Warner Bros.’ Jack L. Carter, the head of the studio at the time, to release her so that she could star in the film. And Carter eventually agreed to the arrangement.
Olivia de Havilland would receive critical acclaim for her role in Gone with the Wind. Many would cite the actress’ portrayal of the character’s kindness cerebral demeanor as a highlight of the film. She would go on to receive her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
De Havilland would go on to play more complex characters, with one of her biggest hits being 1946’s To Each His Own, in which she played a mother trying to get back the child she put up for adoption. This role would earn her the Academy Award for Best Actress. She would also win a second Best Actress Oscar for 1949’s The Heiress. In her late years, she starred in other notable projects like Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna and Roots: The Next Generations.
In her personal life, Olivia De Havilland was the older sister of actress Joan Fontaine, who actually beat out De Havilland for an Oscar in 1942. Fontaine passed away in 2013 at the age of 96.
Funeral arrangements for de Havilland are being kept private, but memorial contributions can be made to the American Cathedral in Paris.
We here at CinemaBlend extend our thoughts to the loved ones of Olivia de Havilland at this time.