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The Unprecedented Bravery of Olivia de Havilland

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The Unprecedented Bravery of Olivia de Havilland

The Gone With the Wind film legend, who died at age 104, went up against a broken Hollywood studio system—and helped change the industry forever.


JULY 26, 2020


Olivia de Havilland in the 1939 hit Warner Bros. film Dodge City EVERETT COLLECTION

Olivia de Havilland was the last great living female star of the movies’ golden age, in the 1930s and ’40s. She died today at 104 at her home in Paris, and her radiant visage and sinuous voice will haunt audiences for at least another century, whether as Errol Flynn’s blushing Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood, or as her old friend Bette Davis’s scheming foil in the Grand Guignol of Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

Yet de Havilland’s most lasting impact on Hollywood history is lodged not on celluloid but in the less glamorous pages of California’s law books, the result of her risky 1943 decision to sue her bosses at Warner Bros. Pictures. That move destroyed the indentured servitude that was the studio system, and helped pave the way for the modern age of movie stars as independent mini-moguls, with control of their own artistic and financial fortunes.

To be sure, de Havilland was plenty glamorous. She won two Academy Awards for Best Actress. She had passionate public romances with James Stewart, Howard Hughes, and John Huston, and survived a seriocomic courtship by a young John F. Kennedy. She maintained the most epic sororal feud in Hollywood history with her sister, Joan Fontaine. Yet her fearless, feminist stance in a Los Angeles County courtroom in the middle of World War II is her enduring legacy.

Read More >> https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/olivia-de-havilland/608851/

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But let us not forget the Studio System did produce outstanding movies which we watch here on TCM ... and left a long and lasting legacy which will never be erased  ...

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