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Olivia de Havilland Biography

Birth Name:
Olivia Mary de Havilland
Birth Place:
Tokyo, Japan
Profession
Actor

Fast Facts

  • Born in Tokyo to British subjects; moved to California at 3 years old
  • As a teen, she frequented a soda shop called Kirk and Bill's, where the proprietors would extend credit
  • Upon returning to the establishment after 18 years, she was presented with an outstanding bill of $1
  • 81, which she promptly paid
  • Won a scholarship to Mills College in Oakland, but never attended due to her budding acting career
  • Discovered by famed theatrical producer Max Reinhardt while appearing in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • While under contract to Warner Bros
  • , she starred in nine movies with Errol Flynn
  • Became an American citizen in 1941
  • Tired of being suspended by Warner Bros
  • for refusing roles in bad movies, she sued the studio in the 1940s and won a landmark ruling regarding actors' contracts; it's still known in law books as "the de Havilland decision
  • " Was involved in a bitter, well-publicized feud with her sister, Joan Fontaine, that reportedly began when they were children and escalated after they were both nominated for an Oscar in 1941 (Fontaine won)
  • Published her memoir, Every Frenchman Has One, in 1962
  • Made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017, making her the oldest woman to be made a dame

Awards

  • 1987Emmy-Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special: nominated
  • 1987Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: winner
  • 1953Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: nominated
  • 1950Golden Globe-Actress in a Leading Role: winner
  • 1949Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: winner
  • 1949New York Film Critics Circle-Best Actress: winner
  • 1949Venice Film Festival-International Prize for Best Actress: winner
  • 1948Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: nominated
  • 1948National Board of Review-Best Actress: winner
  • 1948New York Film Critics Circle-Best Actress: winner
  • 1946Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: winner
  • 1941Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: nominated

Relationships