Gone With the Wind Star Olivia de Havilland Dies at 104

Olivia de Havilland, the two-time Academy Award-winner from Hollywood's golden age who starred in Gond With the Wind, has died at the age of 104. De Havilland's former lawyer, Suzella M. Smith, confirmed the actress's death in a statement given to Variety. "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 Best Actress Oscars for her performance in The Heiress and To Each His Own. She also received nominations for Gone With the Wind, The Snake Pit, and Hold Back the Dawn.

De Havilland played Melanie Hamilton in Gone With the Wind. She's been the last living star of the classic movie for more than 50 years, outliving Vivian Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Clark Gable. She once explained how her role in Gone With the Wind was game-changing for her career.

"The characters I played before then were not real people. They were two-dimensional. They were not given any character development. Melanie was a real person, a caring person, a good woman but also an intelligent woman and a tough woman. Most of all she was a happy woman, a woman with a great capacity for happiness," de Havilland told the Independent.

She mostly stayed out fo the spotlight in her later years, except for filing a lawsuit against the producers of the 2017 television series Feud. De Havilland objected to how she was portrayed in the series by Catherine Zeta-Jones, arguing that the producers acted without her approval and that the show did damage to her "professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity." California's high court rejected the suit in July 2018, but the actress promised to pursue the issue to the Supreme Court.

Looking back on her career, de Havilland told the Independent, "I feel not happy, not contented, but something else. Just grateful for having lived and having done so many things that I wanted to do and have also had so much meaning for other people," de Havilland said.

De Havilland was born in Tokyo to British parents. She was the old sister of Joan Fontaine, who died at 96 in 2013, and the two had a famously fraught relationship. When their parents separated, both girls went to live with their mother in California.


De Havilland is survived by her daughter, Gisele Galante Chulak. Her son, Benjamin, died in 1991 from lymphoma.

Photo from A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images