Vivien Leigh was a British actress, whose most memorable success was as Scarlett O'Hara in the film Gone With the Wind (1939). The ironic result is that audiences still tend to associate Miss Leigh with that spoiled little spitfire heroine and fail to perceive the iron will that controlled her varied career in roles that were much more difficult and of much wider range.
She was born in Darjeeling, India, on November 5, 1913. She played 19 film parts, winning two Academy Awards—for Scarlett and for Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). She also excelled in the theater, easily surpassing her film work. Her 30 roles included those of Cleopatra (both Shakespeare's and Shaw's), Lady Macbeth, and Camille.
From 1940 to 1961, Vivien Leigh was the wife of Laurence Olivier, and their partnership led the English stage for almost 20 years. The couple played together in Sheridan and Shaw, and especially in Shakespeare, notably in his rarely revived Titus Andronicus. Miss Leigh died in London on July 8, 1967.
No stage actress ever did so well on the screen as Vivien Leigh, and no screen actress ever did so well on the stage. In this double accomplishment she was unique.