Vivien Leigh: A Biography

By Michelangelo Capua

"Scarlett O'Hara used to be now not appealing, yet males seldom discovered it whilst stuck by way of her allure" Margaret Mitchell opened long gone with the Wind with this description of Scarlett O'Hara, yet her phrases can hardly ever be utilized to Vivien Leigh, the British actress who gave an unforgettable functionality because the Southern belle. Leigh possessed a good looks that males seldom did not realize and a appeal that stuck many, yet her existence was once faraway from being all attractiveness and beauty. This biography of the attractive and tortured actress, from her delivery and youth in unique India to her untimely demise in 1967, supplies designated cognizance to her improvement and occupation as a level and movie actress (which culminated in a single Tony award and Oscars). Her bold character and her manic-depressive disorder, together with the sexual compulsion that haunted her lifestyles, her romantic and tragic marriage to Laurence Olivier, and her performances in, for example, long gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named hope, are all exact.

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To prevent Vivien’s loopy habit, Olivier egotistically stumbled on get away in his paintings, accepting a component within the play The Beggar’s Opera. He additionally prompt that Vivien settle for an offer that simply arrived from Hollywood. even supposing Vivien used to be reluctant to superstar in Elephant stroll as the half used to be now not attention-grabbing, it o›ered her a good-looking wage. The movie was once deliberate to be shot in Ceylon, so Vivien may have had the chance to come back to locations similar to the realm during which 123 124 VIVIEN LEIGH she used to be born, and in keeping with Olivier this might be valuable in calming her down. Paramount images had got the rights to Robert Standish’s novel sooner than casting the lead actor. The construction corporation had Olivier in brain, yet he was once already devoted to Peter Brook’s movie The Beggar’s Opera. With nice enthusiasm Vivien proposed Peter Finch to Paramount for the lead position, making it transparent that she used to be no longer connected to him purely out admiration or friendship yet by way of whatever extra. At A. M. Vivien moved quickly to the home of Peter and Tamara Finch in a kingdom of hysterical euphoria, o›ering him the position within the movie. Vivien confident Finch in below an hour that accepting the half in Elephant stroll will be an excellent chance. Then they observed the script till sunrise. They left for Ceylon after just one week’s time. The final phrases spoken by means of Olivier to Finch on the airport sooner than they boarded the aircraft have been: “Take care of her, Finch,” realizing that Vivien had an apprehension of flying. Smiling, Finch guaranteed him, “Don’t fear, i'm going to. ”3 while their airplane arrived at its vacation spot, Vivien and Finch have been enchanted with its normal attractiveness and by means of the neighborhood tradition, which evoked many stories of her Indian formative years. Elephant stroll tells the tale of a tender British lady married to the landlord of a tea plantation, who takes his bride to his place of abode in Ceylon known as Elephant stroll, since it was once in-built the center of what was a path utilized by pachyderms. the lady, performed via Vivien, is not able to regulate herself to the hot lifestyles and new humans and finally ends up having an a›air along with her husband’s company. Vivien’s extraordinary habit published itself a number of days after their arrival. One morning quickly once they begun taking pictures, whereas Vivien used to be being made up, a tender Singhalese local who was once hired to name the actors onto the set after they have been wanted got here in to determine if she used to be prepared. As he stared at her in admiration of her good looks, she unexpectedly started trembling. while he left the makeup artist requested her what was once mistaken. “I’m sorry,” acknowledged Vivien, “I’m … I’m so afraid of black eyes. I’ve continually been afraid of black eyes. ” “But my eyes are black and you’re no longer afraid of me,” acknowledged the makeup guy reassuringly. “No your eyes are usually not black,” acknowledged Vivien firmly. “They’re darkish brown. I suggest black—Indian black. ”4 John von Kotze, the most Technicolor technician at the set, remembered Vivien’s energy and effort, but in addition her eccentric principles. “She might get us—about six people together—to come into the jungle, construct a campfire and sing songs round it.

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