Olivia de Havilland has died. The 104-year-old – the last surviving star of “Gone with the Wind” – succumbed to natural causes yesterday at her home in Paris. She was one of the last remaining actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
De Havilland picked up Oscar nominations for “Gone with the Wind,” “The Snake Pit,” and “Hold Back the Dawn.” She won for “The Heiress” and “To Each His Own.” Even though she was the last surviving star of “Gone with the Wind,” she didn’t capitalize on the fact. Instead, she chose to stay out of the limelight and live a quiet life in Paris.
While Olivia famously feuded with her younger sister, Joan Fontaine, she’s best known for helping bring down the studio system in Hollywood. When her contract with Warner Bros ended in 1943, they tried to keep her on by saying that she owed them six more months because of various suspensions. She fought the case and won. “The de Havilland decision” freed many actors from imprisoning contracts and allowed for negotiation with the studios for more favorable terms.
De Havilland was married to Marcus Goodrich from 1946 to 1953 and to Pierre Galante from 1955 to 1979. Both marriages ended in divorce. Benjamin, her son from her first marriage, preceded her in death in 1991. She leaves behind a daughter, Gisele Galanta Chulak, from her second marriage.