Vivien Leigh: Award-winning actress best remembered for 'Gone with the Wind,' 'Streetcar Named Desire'

Vivien Leigh would have celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday. Vivien Leigh was an Academy Award- and Tony-winning actress.

New Line Cinema/AP
Vivien Leigh (center right) starred in the 1939 film 'Gone with the Wind.'

Academy Award-winning actress Vivien Leigh of “Gone with the Wind” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” was born on Nov. 5, 1913 and so would have celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday. 

Leigh was born in India with the name Vivian Hartley and made her film debut in 1935 when she starred in “Things Are Looking Up,” “Look Up and Laugh,” and “The Village Squire.” 

The actress was cast as heroine Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 film version of “Gone with the Wind” after a long search by the production company behind the film. Leigh was one of two British actors to portray the four Southern main characters, with actor Leslie Howard, who portrayed Ashley Wilkes, also hailing from England. Leigh won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the film.

Leigh is also often remembered for her role as Blanche DuBois in the 1951 film adaptation of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She secured a second Best Actress Oscar for this part. The actress also starred as the title character in a 1948 film version of “Anna Karenina” and as Cleopatra in the 1945 film “Caesar and Cleopatra.” 

She also starred in stage productions in London and on Broadway, with appearances including starring opposite her future husband Laurence Olivier in a British production of “Hamlet” performed in Denmark and playing Juliet in a 1940 Broadway production of "Romeo and Juliet." She appeared again as Cleopatra on Broadway in two plays which played in repertory in 1951, a production of “Caesar and Cleopatra” and a production of “Antony and Cleopatra,” respectively. Olivier starred as Caesar in the first and Mark Antony in the second.

Leigh won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1963 for her role in “Tovarich.”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” actress Julia Ormond portrayed Leigh in the 2011 film “My Week with Marilyn,” which centered on the production of the 1957 film “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Actress Michelle Williams played Marilyn Monroe, while actor Kenneth Branagh portrayed “Prince” director and star Laurence Olivier.

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