Imagine being born in 1916, and still alive today.
You turned 5 in 1921, and then 10 in 1926, the Jazz Age, the “Roaring Twenties.” The US stock market crashed when you were 13. Talkies were supplanting the old silent movies, and radio was becoming the big thing in modern communication.
Max Reinhardt caught her high school performance & wanted her in his film
Imagine. You lived in California, and you wanted to be in the movies, and you were lovely enough, and talented enough, and lucky enough to get a break. And you made it. Not only you, but then your sister, too. And you’re a star. You’re a leading lady. You even land the key supporting role in the most popular Hollywood film ever made. You’re nominated. Academy Award for best supporting actress. But, you don’t win. Then your sister wins an Oscar, and then you’re nominated again. Again, you don’t win.
WWII rages across Europe and Asia, so you do your part trying to make appearances for War Bonds. The war ends, movies are big again, bigger than ever, and again you’re nominated. This time you win, and three years later you win again: 1950. Two Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role.
You are 34 years old. By Hollywood standards you are already becoming history, no longer suitable for lead parts. You soldier on with your career. In all, you appear in 60 movies and TV shows, the last being in 1988. People have VCRs, and they can watch your old movies, whenever. People still know who you are. GWTW still has fan clubs.
Personal computers get big, then the Internet. More and more people get their 15 minutes of fame. But when an old movie comes on, there you are. You. When you were young. When you were a teenager. When you were the loveliest girl on the screen.
On July 1, 2017, Olivia de Havilland turns 101 years old.
If you like Black & White movies there are a lot of choices to watch including her two Academy Award roles: To Each His Own (1946), and The Heiress (1949). If you prefer Color you’re still in luck, because two of her best-known performances were shot in TechniColor: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and Gone With the Wind (1939).
My favorite of hers in Black & White is probably Captain Blood (1935). It’s a rousing pirate movie in which she plays the beautiful but haughty governor’s niece who is captured by pirates, sold as a slave, and purchased by Peter Blood with whom she’s in love. Errol Flynn plays Blood, and Basil Rathbone is the bad guy who wants her. So you pretty much know there will be a Hollywood happy ending, and a classic sword fight, and she is marvelous throughout.
I recommend you watch anything she was ever in.