Olivia de Havilland
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Legendary actress and two-time Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland is best known for her role as Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939). She often inhabited characters who were delicate, elegant, and refined. At the same time, she was a survivor with a fierce desire to direct her own destiny on and off the screen. She fought and won a lawsuit against Warner Bros. over a contract dispute that changed the studio contract system forever. She is also noted for her long feud with her fellow actress and sister Joan Fontaine -- a feud that lasted from 1975 until Fontaine's death in 2013.
Victoria Amador utilizes extensive interviews and forty years of personal correspondence with de Havilland to present an in-depth look at the life and career of this celebrated actress . Amador begins with de Havilland's early life -- she was born in Japan in 1916 to affluent British parents who had aspirations of success and fortune in faraway countries -- and her theatrical ambitions at a young age. The book then follows her career as she skyrocketed to star status, becoming one of the most well-known starlets in Tinseltown. Readers are given an inside look at her love affairs with iconic cinema figures such as James Stewart and John Huston, and her onscreen partnership with Errol Flynn, with whom she starred in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Dodge City (1939 ). After she moved to Europe in the mid-1950s, de Havilland became the first woman to serve as the president of the Cannes Film Festival in 1965, and remained active but selective in film and television until 1988.
Olivia de Havilland: Lady Triumphant is a tribute to one of Hollywood's greatest legends, who has evolved from a gentle heroine to a strong-willed, respected, and admired artist.
"With Olivia de Havilland: Lady Triumphant, Amador has addressed a gross oversight in film scholarship by providing a primer to the life and career of one of Hollywood's most enduring legends." -- Christina Rice, author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel
" Olivia de Havilland is excellent and very engagingly written -- a gift to fans of classic Hollywood cinema, and a celebration of extraordinary longevity." -- Ruth Barton, author of Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film
"In a tribute as elegant and engaging as its subject, Amador looks at the life and career of one of the twosurviving cast members of one of the greatest American films of all time, Gone With the Wind. But there is much more to de Havilland's story than her role as Melanie Wilkes, and it's all here. Amador draws onextensive interviews and her own 40-year-long correspondence with the actress for this gracious portrait. With an extensive bibliography and a lovely collection of black-and-white photographs, including some poignant shots of author and subject, this is a treat for film fans." -- Booklist
"Amador's interpretations of de Havilland's performances are thorough, exploring how she excelled at making good girls interesting through the simmering emotions she kept hidden beneath the surface." -- Isabel Stevens, Sight & Sound: June 2019
"[A]n aptly titled -- and aptly respectful -- biography that explores the triumphant lady's life and career, in a comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining fashion.... It's a well-researched, well-rounded, eminently readable portrait of a great star whose impact went beyond her performances." -- Yes! Weekly