Profile of the Day: Vivien Leigh

Posted November 5, 2020 by Amanda | No Comment

Today we remember legendary star Vivien Leigh, who was born on this day in 1913.

Image: Vivien Leigh / Wikimedia Commons

Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley on November 5, 1913 in Darjeeling, British India. At the age of 19, she married her first husband, Herbert Leigh Holman, and took her husband’s middle name for her stage name, Vivien Leigh. She changed the spelling of her first name because she felt spelling her name with an “e” was more feminine.

In 1937, Leigh met Laurence Olivier and although both were married to others, the two actors began an affair. It was not until 1940 that they both divorced their spouses and married. They would remain married for 20 years until divorcing in 1960.

She was first introduced to American audiences in the big screen adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s best-seller, Gone With the Wind. Leigh won the highly coveted role of Scarlett O’Hara over hundreds of other actresses. Starring opposite Clark Gable, Leigh earned her first Academy Award for Best Actress for the role. She would go on to win her second Academy Award in 1951 for her role in the film A Street Car Named Desire opposite Marlon Brando.

Leigh struggled with mental illness for many years, which took a toll on her personal and professional life. She also suffered from chronic tuberculosis, which she was first diagnosed in the mid-1940s. In 1967, the disease recurred and after several weeks of rest, she appeared to be on the mend. However, on July 8, 1967, Leigh’s body was found in her apartment. She had been attempting to walk to the bathroom when her lungs filled with fluid and she collapsed and died. She was 53 years old.

Explore Vivien Leigh’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected to the legendary actress.

View Vivien Leigh’s Geni Profile

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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