Olivia de Havilland, last surviving cast member of ‘Gone With the Wind,’ dies at 104

The last surviving cast member of legendary film Gone with the Wind passed away this weekend, according to the Washington Examiner

Olivia de Havilland, the storied actress perhaps best known for her portrayal of Melanie Wilkes in the Civil War epic, died at home on Saturday. She was 104.

Hollywood legend dies

De Havilland died of natural causes in Paris, where she has lived for over 60 years, her publicist said.

She is remembered by many for playing the saintly sister-in-law of spoiled belle Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Although the role earned her an Oscar nomination, it was for two other movies, To Each His Own and The Heiress, for which de Havilland ultimately won Best Actress prizes.

Born in 1916, de Havilland rose to prominence in the 1930s in productions including The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood, starring alongside Errol Flynn. She got her big break while studying acting in college after impressing director Max Reinhardt, who was then involved with aw production of A Midsummer Nights’ Dream.

“I wanted to be a stage actress,” she once said. “Life sort of made the decision for me.”

Later in life, de Havilland appeared in TV productions including Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, and for her legendary talents she received the National Medal of Arts and France’s Legion of Honor. Her final role was 1988’s The Woman He Loved. 

Storied career

Beyond the studio, de Havilland is known for a 1940s legal battle over her contract with Warner Bros. in which she ultimately won more freedom or herself and other actors.

She also had a notable rivalry with younger sister Joan Fontaine, also an actress. They were nominated in the same Oscar category in 1941, but her sister won for Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion.

Twice married, de Havilland moved to France in the 1950s with her second husband, the late French journalist Pierre Galante. Her first marriage, to author Marcus Goodrich, ended in divorce, and she outlived their only child, Benjamin.

The star’s passing comes as the Civil War epic that made her famous attracts increasing controversy for supposedly having romanticizing the slaveholding South. Nevertheless, Gone with the Wind remains one of the true triumphs in movie history, and de Havilland’s storied career will never be forgotten.

De Havilland is survived by daughter Gisele, son-in-law Andrew, and niece Deborah.

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