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Vivien Leigh: The Beauty Who Materialised Fiction Through Her Iconic Performances

When I come into the theatre, I get a sense of security. I love an audience. I love people, and I act because I like trying to give pleasure to people.

Vivien Leigh

British Actress (5th November 1913- 8th July 1967)

Vivien Leigh was born in Darjeeling, India. Her father was a Yorkshire stockbroker. In 1932, she joined the Royal School Of Dramatic Art. The same year, she got married to British barrister Herbert Leigh Holman. She made her film debut with Things Are Looking Up (1934), while her stage debut was with The Green Sash (1935).

During the next few years, she started getting recognized for her work and it was during one such stage performance she got acquainted with her future husband, Laurence Olivier, the leading man of the British motion picture industry. The tragic love tale of Leigh and Olivier has been one that serves as a remembrance of a canvas thread with passion, romance, betrayal, and heartbreak.

Leigh and Olivier in The Hamilton Women (1941).

Leigh and Olivier in The Hamilton Women (1941). The couple co-starred in several successful films and stage productions. After an explicit steamy affair, Leigh and Olivier got divorced from their respective partners and tied the knot in 1940.

Initially, they had a blissful married life until Leigh started exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder, which further aggravated her condition for being left undiagnosed and untreated. Furthermore, Leigh contracted chronic tuberculosis in 1943. With her increasing severe breakdowns and an affair with Australian actor Peter Finch, Leigh and Olivier's marriage ended (1960). Post-divorce, Leigh married British theatre actor Jack Merivale. In 1967, Leigh died suffering from recurrent bouts of tuberculosis.

Leigh enjoyed outstanding success on stage and on the silver screen. She had dedicated her entire life to acting, immortalizing many characters through her performances. She had won two Academy Awards (1940 and 1952) for her portrayal of the fictional literary characters of Scarlett O' Hara in Gone with the wind (1939) and Blanche DuBois in A streetcar named desire (1949).

The day Leigh passed away, the lights of every theatre in Central London were extinguished for an hour in her respect. In 1968, she became the first actress honoured in the U.S. by The Friends of the Libraries at the University of Southern California. Besides the Academy awards, Leigh has a BAFTA award (1953), two NYFCC awards (1939 & 1951), an NBR award (1940), a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star (1960) and several other awards in her name.

Vivien Leigh Was A Remarkable Actress Of International Accolade And Died Doing What She Truly Loved, Acting On Stage.


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