16 Great Truths About Vivien Leigh

1. She also won a Tony Award for her work in the Broadway version of Tovarich .

2. After her drama school education, Leigh appeared in small roles in four films in 1935 and progressed to the role of heroine in Fire Over England .

3. Lauded for her beauty, Leigh felt that it sometimes prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress.

4. Despite her fame as a screen actress, Leigh was primarily a stage performer.

5. During her 30-year stage career, she played roles ranging from the heroines of Noël Coward and George Bernard Shaw comedies to classic Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet, and Lady Macbeth.

6. Later in life, she played character roles in a few films.

7. To the public at the time, Leigh was strongly identified with her second husband Laurence Olivier, to whom she was married from 1940 to 1960.

8. Leigh and Olivier starred together in many stage productions, with Olivier often directing, and in three films.

9. She earned a reputation for being difficult to work with, as for much of her adult life, she had a bipolar disorder, as well as recurrent bouts of chronic tuberculosis, first diagnosed in the mid-1940s, which ultimately claimed her life at the age of 53. Although her career had periods of inactivity, in 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Leigh as the 16th greatest female movie star of classic Hollywood cinema.

10. Shortly after, her father enrolled Vivian at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

11. Vivian met Herbert Leigh Holman, known as Leigh Holman, a barrister 13 years her senior, in 1931.

12. After rejecting his many suggestions, she took “Vivian Leigh” as her professional name. She was cast in the play The Mask of Virtue, directed by Sidney Carroll in 1935 and received excellent reviews, followed by interviews and newspaper articles.

13. In 1960 Leigh recalled her ambivalence towards her first experience of critical acclaim and sudden fame, commenting, “some critics saw fit to be as foolish as to say that I was a great actress.

14. And it took me years to learn enough to live up to what they said for those first notices. I find it so stupid.

15. I remember the critic very well and have never forgiven him.”

16. Laurence Olivier saw Leigh in The Mask of Virtue, and after he congratulated her on her performance, a friendship developed.

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