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Vivien Leigh Biography

Birth Name:
Vivian Mary Hartley
Birth Place:
Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

Fast Facts

  • Attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton, England, until the age of 13 before embarking on a tour of Europe with her parents; the rest of her education consisted of brief stints in finishing schools
  • Met future husband Laurence Olivier playing Ophelia to his Hamlet in 1937
  • Was said to have predicted (referring to herself and Olivier), "Larry won't play Rhett Butler, but I shall play Scarlett O'Hara
  • Wait and see
  • " Katharine Hepburn was her maid of honor at her small 1940 wedding to Olivier
  • The British beauty ironically found her greatest fame and acclaim playing two belles of the American South: Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Struggled for decades with bipolar disorder, which affected her both professionally and personally, and with the chronic tuberculosis that eventually ended her life
  • In 1993, her Best Actress Oscar for Gone With the Wind was sold at auction for more than a half million dollars


  • 1953BAFTA Film Awards-Best British Actress: winner
  • 1952Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: nominated
  • 1951Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: winner
  • 1951New York Film Critics Circle-Best Actress: winner
  • 1951Venice Film Festival-Best Actress: winner
  • 1940National Board of Review-Best Acting: winner
  • 1939Oscar-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: winner
  • 1939New York Film Critics Circle-Best Actress: winner


  • Suzanne Holman Farrington -- Daughter
  • Herbert Leigh Holman -- Ex-husband
  • Ernest Hartley -- Father
  • Gertrude Yackje -- Mother
  • Jack Merivale -- Significant Other