Olivia de Havilland

Things We Saw Today: Screen Legend Olivia de Havilland Passes Away at 104

The two-time Academy Award winner was one of the last stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
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Olivia de Havilland, one of the last living stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, has passed away at the age of 104. De Havilland’s former lawyer Suzelle M. Smith released a statement saying, “Last night, the world lost an international treasure, and I lost a dear friend and beloved client. She died peacefully in Paris.”

de Havilland won two best actress Oscars for To Each His Own and The Heiress in 1946 and 1949, respectively. She was also nominated for her performances in The Snake Pit, Hold Back the Dawn, and for her iconic role as Melanie in Gone With the Wind.

The French-British-American actress achieved many firsts in her time. She was the first female president of Cannes’ jury in 1965. de Havilland also made waves for demanding more challenging roles from her home studio, Warner Bros. She turned down so many roles that the studio tried to force her to extend her seven year contract. She sued and won the landmark case, which changed the working relationship between actors and studios. From then on, contracts were based on calendar years, not on studio’s whims. Today it is still known as the “de Havilland decision”.

In 2017, de Havilland sued FX Networks and producer Ryan Murphy over her portrayal by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Feud: Betty and Joan, accusing them of using her likeness without permission. The suit was dismissed the following year.

(via Variety, image: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.