Vivien Leigh- first British actress to win Oscar for best actress (1913-1967)

Vivien LeighWho was Vivien Leigh?

Vivien Leigh was an Indian born British actress primarily a stage performer. People remembered her for her glamour and beauty. An accomplished stage actress rose to the fame after she played the role “Scarlett O’Hara” in Classic movie “Gone with the Wind”. She was the first British actress to win Oscar Award for best actress category.

She was ranked as the 16th greatest female movie star of Classic Hollywood Cinema in 1999. As an actress her career spanned over two decades leaving behind a lagacy for her stunning performances in onstage and scree.She was a vital actress whose tireless works made her a legend. For instance during  her shooting in the film “Gone with the Wind”, began in the morning and asked to shoot continously through the following morning.

Childhood and Education of Vivien Leigh

Leigh was born on 5 November, 1913 in St. Paul Private boarding school (Called Eton of the East), Darjeeling, a Bengal Presidency of the then British India. At that time India was under the colonial rule of British.  Born as Vivian Mary Hartly to Ernest Richard Hartley and Gertrude Mary Frances.

SVivien Leighhe was the only child of the couple. Her father was a Scottish and worked  as a broker in British India and her mother was also born in Darjeeling probably an Irish, Indian Parsi or Armenian ancestry.

She studied at Loretto Convent, Darjeeling until she was 6. When she was only 6 years old her parents took to London and boarded her in to the Convent of the Sacred Heart,(Present Woldingham school).There she met the future Irish actress Maureen O’ Sullivan who played Jane in the Tarzan series of films.

She did not even see her mother for nearly 2 years. However she did not complete her studies there as she was removed by her father from that school and got admitted to schools in France, Italy and Germany.So she was fluent in French, Italy and Germany.

Height Weight & Zodiac sign of Vivien Leigh

Height 5 feet 3 inches
Weight 100 pounds 
Eye colour Blue
Hair Colour Dark Brown
Body measurements 32-25-35 inches
Bra size  34 A
Shoe size 7.5 us/38 EU
Zodiac sign Scorpio

Photos of Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh Spouse

How many times Vivien Leigh married?

Vivien Leigh married two times. First to the Herbert Leigh and second to the Laurence Olivier. Both ended in divorce.

Vivien Leigh with her first husband Herbert LeighFirst husband of Vivien Leigh-Herbert Leigh Holman

Leigh met Holman when she was studying at London’s Royal Academy of Art. She was only 19 years old at that time. He was a leading barrister in London who was 13 years senior to him. She married to Holman in 1932 before she started her acting career. She changed her stage name from Vivian Mary Hartly to Vivian Leigh after marrying her first husband Herbert Leigh and later revised her first name spelling from Vivian to Vivien. She left theatre after her marriage to Holman. The couple had a daughter in 1934, named Suzanne. The marriage did not last long as the couple were unhappy to each other.

There were a diffrence in opinion between the couple. Her husband did not want her to pursue acting career. Besides Leigh had an affair with Olivier. After completion of shooting “Gone With the Wind” they divorced in 1940. And custodian of the Suzanne was given to Holman.

Second husband of Vivien Leigh – Laurence OlivierVivien Leigh with her second husband Laurence Olivier

For the first time Leigh met Olivier in 1936 in one of her stage show “The Mask of Virtue”. It was love at first sight. Both were already married but both were in an unhappy married life. Leigh was also attracted to Olivier’s charm, magnetic and charsimatic personalities. Olivier was also attracted to Leigh in such a way that he was with no other woman.

In 1937 after one year the pair was cast together in “Fire Over England”. The pair secret affair began onwards.They used to meet secretly and used to write many love letters between them. Their love affairs became the talk of the Hollywood. According to the Olivier wrote to Leigh, “If we love each only with our bodies I suppose it would be alright. I love you with, Oh everything somehow, with a special kind of soul”.

In another undated letter,  according to OLivier wrote “JewelKin”, “You are in my thoughts weighing so heavily in my heart all the time. I am only existing until I see you agin and only just managing to do that”.

They married on August 31, 1940 after getting divorce from their respective husband and wife. Even after the pair marriage they used to write letters. In 1950, while on a plane, Leigh wrote to Olivier,” Whenever you think of me my Larryboy you will know I am with you adoringly Vivien”.In another letter she wrote, according to”  Oh Sweet Baba, If we were together I expect this would seem quite exciting, but then that applies to evrything in life”.

However by the end of 1950s their relation began deteriorated because of mental breakdown of Leigh due to bipolar disorder and Olivier’s relation with other woman. The couple divorced in 1960.





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