VIVIEN LEIGH BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Vivien Leigh was born on November 5th, 1913 in Darjeeling, West Bengal, British India with the birth name Vivian Mary Hartley. Her parents were originally from England but opted to stay living in India till Vivian was six years old due to World War I.
When Vivian was six years old, her family returned to England where her mother enrolled her in a convent for her schooling. Being one of the youngest enrolled in this school made her experience not so successful, however her mother on a visit took her to see a live performance on stage and it was then that Vivian decided she wanted to grow up and be an actress.
When Vivian expressed her interest to her parents that she wanted a career as an actress, her father enrolled her at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. During her schooling she met a man, Herbert Leigh Holman and they were married in 1932. She left her acting school and opted at the time for motherhood. However, in 1933, she realized she had made a mistake and decided she was ready to now to pursue a career as an actress.
Vivian was offered a small part in her first film debut, "Things Are Looking Up" (1935) and she then took on the stage name Vivian Leigh. Vivian soon got a larger role on a stage play called, "The Mask of Virtue" (1935) and received great reviews. Various film roles soon followed such as, "Look Up and Laugh" (1935) and "Gentleman's Agreement" (1935).
Her big break came when she traveled to the United States and did a screen test for the film, "Gone with the Wind". She was up against some major female star actresses, but luckily, Vivien received the role and the film became a huge hit. "Gone with the Wind" (1939) won an Oscar for Best Picture and Vivien won for Best Actress.
Vivien Leigh was a huge star and she continued to work in the industry taking on more film roles. In 1940 she did two films, "Waterloo Bridge" and "21 Days Together" (both 1940). The following year she appeared on the big screen with her husband in, "That Hamilton Woman" (1941).
As Vivien continued to take on more film roles it was after her appearance on, "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945) that her personal life began to suffer. She had suffered from two miscarriages and was dealing with major depression. Needless to say, Vivien was still well liked and received by viewers and her next major role in, "Street Car Named Desire" (1951) earned her a second winning Oscar performance.
Vivien did for more films before she finally returned from the industry appearing in, "The Deep Blue Sea" (1955), " ITV Play of the Week" (1959), "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" (1961) and "Ship of the Fools" (1965) being her final film role.
Vivian married twice throughout her lifetime. Her first love was on 1932 to Herbert Leigh Holman with whom she had one child, Suzanne Farrington and divorced in 1940 when her career was at an all time high. She then married Laurence Olivier in 1940 and they remained together until 1961 appearing on film together. She had one more relationship with John Merivale whom she lived with from 1959 until she passed away, however the couple never married.
Vivien Leigh passed away July 7th, 1967 at the age of fifty three in London, England after being ill with tuberculosis. She was cremated at Golderns Green in London and her ashes were scattered on the mill pond at her residence in Tickerage Mill in Sussex.
Although a very famous actress with a very successful career, Vivien did suffer from manic depression and was a heavy smoker throughout her lifetime. She actually had to undergo shock therapy to keep her depression under control.
Vivien Leigh was ranked #48 in Empire magazine in the UK as, "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" in 1997. She was also named #16 Actress on the American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends. Vivien was also honored by being pictures on one of four 25 cent US commemorative postage stamps in 1990.
1965 Ship of Fools
1961 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
1959 ITV Play of the Week
1955 The Deep Blue Sea
1951 A Streetcar Named Desire
1948 Anna Karenina
1945 Caesar and Cleopatra
1941 That Hamilton Woman
1940 Waterloo Bridge
1940 21 Days Together
1939 Gone with the Wind
1938 Sidewalks of London
1938 A Yank at Oxford
1937 Storm in a Teacup
1937 Dark Journey
1937 Fire Over England
1935 The Village Squire
1935 Look Up and Laugh
1935 Gentlemen's Agreement
1935 Things Are Looking Up