Saturday, July 2, 2016
Movie icon Olivia de Havilland has turned 100.
But she's not the oldest movie star I know.
Patricia Morison is 101 and you can catch her singing her Kiss Me Kate hits on a new Facebook posting.
But back to Miss Olivia who met with TV critics when peddling her TV flick Screaming Woman way back in 1972.
It was a High Tea at the Century Plaza hotel and she was coy but chatty telling critics she'd arranged to have "that horrible title" changed.
But ABC was unbending and in true Olivia fashion she never talked to that network again.
Of course the subject of her 40-year feud came up with sister Joan Fontaine and Olivia bristled but then said "I talk to everyone. I'll still talk to Joan if she's civil."
Olivia mentioned she'd made four movies with the combustible super star Bette Davis.
"And we talk all the time. I'm a very friendly person."
De Havilland said she was a "mere 23-year old" when chosen to play Melanie in the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind.
"I never wanted to play Scarlett. Too flashy with me. I wanted Melanie because she was the backbone of that book. She has a baby during the burning of Atlanta. She convinces Rhett to bury his dead daughter. And she forgives her husband's adultery with Scarlett. A tough, tenacious woman.
De Havilland was nominated for a supporting actress but lost to Hattie McDaniel who played Mammy.
"I went home in a snit. Thought about it all night. And realized how great an honor this was for Hattie, the first black actress to win. She had to have her dinner in the hotel kitchen that night --the actual affair was segregated you see.
"So I got up the next morning drove to a flower store and bought 100 roses and drove to Hattie's house where I gave them to her and begged her forgiveness. And we later worked together several more times."
In 1943 Olivia informed Jack Warner her seven year contract was over and she would not renew it.
"He said he had added all the times I was suspended so I owned him one more picture. I refused and we battled it out in court for three years during which I could not work. I won and I never worked for Jack Warner again. I even turned down A Streetcar Named Desire to stay away from him."
In 1946 she returned to movies and won her first Oscar for To Each His Own and won a second three years later for The Heiress.
But in 1953 she moved to Paris when she married publisher PIerre Gallant.
"I returned from time to time for pictures but the business had changed completely. The old studios were slowly fading away."
The tea was over and Miss Olivia waved pesky reporters out of her suite saying it was time to take her afternoon nap.
"Keeps me young," she quipped.
So young she has just turned 100 with only Kirk Douglas in her own age range as a lasting superstar.