- NAME: Vivien Leigh
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress
- BIRTH DATE: November 05, 1913
- DEATH DATE: July 08, 1967
- EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Darjeeling, India
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England, United Kingdom
- Originally: Vivian Mary Hartley
- AKA: Vivian Hartley
- AKA: Vivien Hartley
- AKA: Vivien Leigh
Best Known For
Vivien Leigh was a British actress who achieved film immortality by playing two of American literature's most celebrated Southern belles, Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Vivien Leigh was born November 5, 1913 in Darjeeling, India to a Yorkshire stockbroker. She was convent-educated in England and throughout Europe, and inspired by her schoolmate Marueen O'Sullivan to embark on an acting career. Leigh earned international popularity and an Academy Award for her unforgettable portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in David O. Selznick's production of Gone with the Wind.
Famed actress Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley on November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, India, to an English stockbroker and his Irish wife. The family returned to England when Hartley was 6 years old. A year later, the precocious Hartley announced to classmate Maureen O'Sullivan that she "was going to be famous." She was right, though her fame would eventually come under a different name.
As a teen, Vivian Hartley attended schools in England, France, Italy and Germany, becoming fluent in both French and Italian. She went on to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but put her career temporarily on hold at age 19, when she married a lawyer named Leigh Holman and had his daughter. Replacing the "a" in her first name with the less commonly used "e," Hartley used her husband's name to craft a more glamorous stage name, Vivien Leigh.
Vivien Leigh made both her onstage and film debuts in 1935. She starred in the play The Bash, which, although wasn't particularly successful, allowed Leigh to make an impression on producer Sydney Carroll, who soon cast the actress in her first London play; and landed the lead role in the aptly titled movie Things are Looking Up (1935).
Although Leigh was initially typecast as a fickle coquette, she began to explore more dynamic roles by doing Shakespearean plays at the Old Vic in London, England. There, she met and fell in love with Laurence Olivier, a respected actor who, like Leigh, already happened to be married. The two soon embarked on a highly collaborative and inspired acting relationship—not to mention a very public love affair.
Around the same time, American director George Cukor was hunting for the perfect actress to play the lead role of Scarlett O'Hara in his film adaptation of Gone with the Wind. "The girl I select must be possessed of the devil and charged with electricity," Cukor insisted at the time. An impressive list of Hollywood's top actresses, including Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis, had long been vying for the part by the time Leigh, who was on a two-week vacation in California, took and passed the screen test.
Casting a virtually unknown British theater actress in the role of a Southern belle struggling for survival during the American Civil War was risky, to say the least—especially considering that Gone with the Wind was already, even in pre-production, one of the most highly anticipated Hollywood pictures of all time. However, the decision paid off as the film smashed box office records, and garnered 13 Academy Award nominations and eight wins—including one for Leigh as best actress.
profile name: Vivien Leigh profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Most people get to know their co-workers well...and sometimes working together can even lead to romance. Just like in the office, many Hollywood stars find romance at work—or rather, on the set. Some of the most famous couples in Hollywood history met while making a film, including Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Here's a look at the famous actors and actresses whose chemistry set off sparks on the set.
Sparks On The Set 57 people in this group
Best Actress Oscar Winners 68 people in this group
Actor Warren Beatty's romantic exploits were legendary before he took on the real-life role of family man opposite wife Annette Bening. His list of conquests reads like a Hollywood who's who, from Jane Fonda and Natalie Wood to Brigitte Bardot and Madonna. Although a full count of Warren's women would probably be impossible, here's a few of his most famous lovers.
Beatty's Babes 30 people in this group