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Profile of the Day: Olivia de Havilland

Today we remember legendary actress Olivia de Havilland, who passed away at the age of 104. With a career that spanned over five decades, de Havilland was one of the last major stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Image: Olivia de Havilland / Wikimedia Commons

She was born on July 1, 1916 in Tokyo, Japan to Lillian Ruse, a stage actress, and Walter de Havilland, an English professor and attorney. Her first cousin was aviation pioneer and founder of de Havilland aircraft company George de Havilland. After her parents separated, de Havilland moved to California with her mother and sister, Joan Fontaine. As children, the sisters never got a long. As adults, their rivalry became one of the most famous and longest-lasting feuds in Hollywood history.

De Havilland got her big break in the 1933 film A Midsummers Night’s Dream and was soon paired alongside Errol Flynn in a series of films, including the 1938 classic The Adventures of Robin Hood. A popular onscreen couple, the pair would star together in 9 movies. In 1939, she took on her most memorable role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone With the Wind. The role would earn her the first of five Academy Award nominations. Two years later, she earned a second nod for Best Actress, however, she would lose the statue to her sister, who was also nominated in the same category. De Havilland would finally win the first of two Oscars for Best Actress in 1947 for the film, To Each His Own. She and her sister are the only siblings to have won leading acting Oscars.

Explore Olivia de Havilland’s family tree on Geni and share your connection the Hollywood legend.

View Olivia de Havilland’s Geni Profile

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