Hollywood pays tribute to Olivia de Havilland
By Javier Romualdo
A file photo dated 25 February 2011 shows British-US actress Olivia de Havilland arriving for the 36th Cesar awards ceremony at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, France (reissued 26 July 2020). According to media reports, Olivia de Havilland died in Paris on July 26, 2020, at age 104. EFE/EPA/IAN LANGSDON
A general view taken July 26, 2020, of the apartment building where British-US actress Olivia de Havilland lived in Paris, France. According to media reports, De Havilland died in Paris on July 26, 2020, at age 104. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
By Javier Romualdo
Los Angeles, US, Jul 26 (efe-epa).- Hollywood celebrities, institutions and studios on Sunday commemorated the legacy of Olivia de Havilland, whose death at the age of 104 in Paris means that the golden age of cinema lost the last of its surviving icons.
From the Academy that awards the Oscars, and Warner Bros. studios, where de Havilland's career began, to fellow actors, the film industry lamented the news of the death of the actress and celebrated a career highlighted by her two Oscars and roles in films such as "Gone with the Wind" (1939) and “The Heiress" (1949).
"Beyond all reason I hoped that the great Olivia de Havilland, aged 104 would be with us for much longer," actress Mia Farrow wrote on Twitter.
“She knew how to live & was loved by all especially by her niece, my childhood friend Deborah. In films she was unfailingly wonderful & an unforgettable ‘Melanie’ in GWTW.”
Jared Leto recalled the time she spent with de Havilland in Paris, where she had lived since the mid-20th century, in love with the French capital.
"Olivia made a powerful impact in my life and I had the pleasure to spend some time with her in Paris. I thanked her for her bravery and shared how her choices affected me and my brother and gave us opportunities to fight for our creative freedom," the actor wrote on Twitter.
Leto applauded de Havilland's impact on the film industry after she sued her studio, Warner Bros., in 1943 when it added time to her original contract past its expiration date as penalty for turning down roles.
At that time in Hollywood the "star system" reigned, in which the big studios “created” their stars, largely controlling both their work and personal life.
California’s Supreme Court ruled in De Havilland’s favor, in what became known as the De Havilland Law.
"I got to thank her for fighting the system back then so I could battle it now. It was amazing to meet her – she's a legend," he said.
Warner Bros. also joined in the tributes, tweeting a photo with the caption, “today we remember Hollywood legend, Olivia de Havilland and the grace, beauty, and talent she brought to the big screen.”
The Hollywood Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, home to the Oscars, published photos of de Havilland with one of her gongs and the time she took the stage to present the 75th Past Oscar Winner Reunion.
“‘To Each His Own,’ ‘The Heiress,’ ‘Gone with the Wind’ and so many others. A two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, Olivia de Havilland was a mainstay of Hollywood’s Golden Age and an immeasurable talent. Here's to a true legend of our industry,” the institution said.
Likewise, the Golden Globes and the Hollywood labor union, SAG-AFTRA, also celebrated her legacy.
“Olivia de Havilland was not only beautiful and talented, she was a courageous visionary and an inspiration to generations… SAG-AFTRA members will be forever grateful to Ms. de Havilland for her contributions to the founding of our union and the protection of its members. She was a marvel and a legend. Rest in peace,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. EFE-EPA
Legendary Hollywood actress Olivia de Havilland dies
Los Angeles, Jul 26 (efe-epa).- Actress Olivia de Havilland, who starred in the classic 1939 film about the US Civil War era "Gone with the Wind," died Sunday, local media reported, citing her publicist Lisa Goldberg. She was 104.
De Havilland, the winner of two Oscars and two Golden Globes and considered to be the last living legend from the Golden Age of moviemaking after the death of Kirk Douglas earlier this year, died of natural causes at her home in Paris, France, where she had lived for more than 60 years.
Although she won the coveted Oscar statuettes for her roles in the 1946 film "To Each His Own" and the 1949 film "The Heiress," the character whom she immortalized on film was that of the stoic and saintly Melanie Hamilton in the classic "Gone With the Wind," for which she received no awards despite the fact that it is the iconic role with which De Havilland will forever be identified.
Another of her celebrated film roles, however, was in "The Snake Pit" (1948), one of the first Hollywood films dealing with mental illness and one that she always considered one of the greatest challenges of her career.
She was also widely praised for her role as Maid Marian in the 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood."
In addition, however, De Havilland marked a key turning point for the film industry by being one of the first actresses to take her studio - Warner Brothers - to court in 1943 to free herself from the most abusive elements of her contract.
At that time, the well-known "star-system" reigned in Hollywood according to which the big studios burnished their stars and made them famous in exchange for controlling to the utmost virtually all aspects of their working and personal lives.
De Havilland was successful in her lawsuit and changed the movie industry for the benefit of her fellow actors and actresses, preventing the studios from adjusting or shelving the contracts of their actors if they spent time on suspension after refusing roles and extending the exclusivity conditions beyond their agreed-upon termination dates.
Actress Bette Davis, who had tried without success to do the same thing in the English courts and with whom De Havilland starred in the 1942 film "In This Our Life," said: "Olivia should be thanked by every actor today. She won the court battle that no contract should ever have to continue more than seven years."
In Hollywood, that ruling became known as "The De Havilland Decision," although the actress was blacklisted by studios for two years before she could resume her film career.
In a 1992 interview, the actress said that nobody knew that she'd win her case, but after doing so she received flowers, letters and telegrams from her colleagues, something that she called marvelously gratifying.
When De Havilland was asked if it bothered her to be remembered as her character from "Gone with the Wind," she replied: "She was pretty admirable. And I'm not going to object to being remembered for the character that I played in the best-loved film of the century."
Although she maintained her links to Hollywood, De Havilland had lived since the mid-20th century in France, a country where she received numerous and varied awards and honors.
She was born in 1916 in Tokyo, Japan, to English parents and was the older sister to actress Joan Fontaine. She was married twice and had one son and one daughter.