Vivien Leigh (November 5, 1913 - July 8, 1967) was an English actress who was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, India. She and her parents later moved to England, where young Leigh grew up. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton, England, along with fellow actress-to-be Maureen O'Sullivan.
She was married in 1932 to Herbert Leigh Holman, and they had a daughter, Suzanne, in 1933.
Leigh's career began on the stage. Her first play was The Green Sash, though it was Mask of Virtue that really brought her to stardom. In 1935, she began her film career with such movies as The Village Squire, Things are Looking Up, and Look Up and Laugh. Leigh is best known, however, for her role of Scarlett O'Hara in the American film Gone With the Wind (1939), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress .
In 1940, Leigh arranged for a divorce from Holman and married British theatre star Laurence Olivier. The pair had met in 1935 and had begun a rather public love affair. At the time, both were married (Olivier to actress Jill Esmond).
In 1944, the actress was diagnosed as having a tuberculosis patch on her left lung. Though she continued her career with such plays as Thornton Wilder's Skin of Our Teeth, and the 1946 film Caesar and Cleopatra, her illness was getting worse. In 1951, however, Leigh won a second Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
By the early 1960s, Leigh had suffered two miscarriages and the severity of the tuberculosis was incapacitating. She had also been plagued by manic-depression for some time. In 1960, she and Olivier divorced on supposedly friendly terms. Leigh continued to keep a framed photograph of him on her bedside table, even while living with her companion, actor John Merivale. Joan Plowright, third wife and widow of Olivier, claimed that for much of Olivier's marriage to Leigh, he was having a longterm homosexual relationship with the Americann actor Danny Kaye.
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