Vivien Leigh Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1913 – 1967 *** Full Name: Vivien Leigh was also known as Vivian Mary Hartley*** Date of Birth (Birthday): Vivien Leigh was born on November 5, 1913 *** Place of Birth: Vivien Leigh was born in Darjeeling in British India *** Family background: Her father was a her childhood travelling through Europe *** Education: Vivien Leigh began his education at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton, England *** Vivien Leigh died on July 8, 1967 ***
Vivien Leigh Fact 1: Vivien Mary Hartley was born on November 5, 1913 on the campus of St. Paul's School, Darjeeling in British India.
Vivien Leigh Fact 2: Vivien Leigh was an English film and theatre actress who was most famous for her starring roles in Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. She was often connected to her second husband, Laurence Olivier.
Vivien Leigh Fact 3: Her parents were called Ernest Richard Hartley and Gertrude Mary Frances. Her father was a British broker born in Scotland, and her mother belonged to the Roman Catholic religion, she was born in British India and it is thought that her ancestry was Irish and Parsi Indian. Vivien Leigh was an only child.
Vivien Leigh Fact 4: As a child, she lived in Ootacamund with her mother, Gertrude, whilst her father served in Bangalore as an officer in the Indian Calvary. Her mother provided her with an education and passed on her love of literature to her through famous children's books written by well known authors such as Lewis Carroll and Hans Christian Andersen.
Vivien Leigh Fact 5: Vivien Leigh made her first appearance on stage at the age of three when she recited the lyrics to Little Bo Peep for an amateur theatre group ran by her mother Gertrude.
Vivien Leigh Fact 6: She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton, England from the age of six. Here, she met her friend, Maureen O'Sullivan who too became a famous actress.
Vivien Leigh Fact 7: She had to leave the Covent of the Sacred Heart to join her parents on their travels through Europe for four years. During this time, she attended various European schools and learnt to speak foreign languages including Italian and French.
Vivien Leigh Fact 8: She returned to Britain with her family in 1931 when she was approximately 17 years of age. After watching a West End show in London which was an American Pre-Code film adaptation of 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' by Mark Twain, she declared to her parents that she’d like to become an actress.
Vivien Leigh Fact 9: Shortly after being inspired by 'A Connecticut Yankee', she was enrolled in London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art by her father. However, she didn't stay for too long as she met her future husband, Leigh Holman. He was a barrister who was thirteen years older than Vivien Leigh.
Vivien Leigh Fact 10: She married Leigh Holman (Herbert Leigh Holman) on December 20, 1932. The couple had a child called Suzanne on October 12, 1933. Her marriage to Leigh Holman lasted until 1940.
Vivien Leigh Fact 11: An agent called John Gliddon advised her to consider changing her name as he didn't believe that Vivien Mary Hartley was an ideal name for a professional actress. After much consideration, she decided to change her name to Vivien Leigh.
Vivien Leigh Fact 12: A British film producer known as Alexander Korda rejected her agent's proposal when he recommended Vivien Leigh as a potential movie actress. However, he soon changed his mind after he witnessed her acting talents in a play called 'The Mast of Virtue' in 1935, in which she gave an outstanding performance.
Vivien Leigh Fact 13: Alexander Korda signed Vivien Leigh to a film contract. He decided to move 'The Mast of Virtue' play to a larger theatre. However, Vivian Leigh didn't adapt well as she was unable to project her voice to a large audience whilst maintaining their interest.
Vivien Leigh Fact 14: Vivien Leigh later reflected upon her first years in acting with the following quote by Vivien Leigh in 1960: "some critics saw fit to be as foolish as to say that I was a great actress. And I thought, that was a foolish, wicked thing to say, because it put such an onus and such a responsibility onto me, which I simply wasn't able to carry. And it took me years to learn enough to live up to what they said for those first notices. I find it so stupid. I remember the critic very well and have never forgiven him."
Vivien Leigh Fact 15: Vivien Leigh met Laurence Olivier after he attended one of her performances in 'The Mast of Virtue'. After the show, he spoke with Vivien Leigh and congratulated her on her performance. The two became friends which later led to a love affair whilst they played lovers on stage in 1937's 'Fire Over England'.
Vivien Leigh Fact 16: Vivien Leigh read the novel 'Gone with the Wind' and declared to her American agent that she'd like to play Scarlett O'Hara. A film version of the novel was in the pipeline so her agent made the suggestion to David O. Selznick.
Vivien Leigh Fact 17: Her moods were subject to sudden change. On one occasion, she apparently began screaming at Lawrence Olivier before suddenly becoming silent and distant. Afterwards, she remembered nothing of what had happened. Her performances on stage, however, were faultless. Vivien Leigh lived with Lawrence Olivier, before the couple married, as their prospective partners initially refused to divorce them. They married on August 31, 1940 in California. They were married for 20 years, until 1960 and remained good friends afterwards until the death of Vivien Leigh in 1967.Vivien Leigh Fact 18: Vivien Leigh joined Lawrence Olivier in America and pursued her dreams of becoming Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. She managed to impress David O'Selznick's brother, Myron, who later introduced her to David as 'Scarlet O'Hara'. After the release of 'Gone with the Wind', Vivien Leigh found fame and stardom. She received a Best Actress Academy Award for her outstanding performance.
Vivien Leigh Fact 19: She starred in many famous movies during her acting career including The Hamilton Woman, Caesar and Cleopatra, Anna Karenina, Elephant Walk, and The Deep Blue Sea. She continued with theatre productions starring in shows such as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Sleeping Price, Twelfth Night, Macbeth and Titus Andronicus.
Vivien Leigh Fact 20: Vivien Leigh died on July 8, 1967 at the age of 53 as a result of tuberculosis. Her partner, John Merivale, was with her on the night that she passed away. In honor of her death, Central London theatres turned down their lights for a period of one hour on the night of her death. A service was held at St. Mary's Church in London, and following her cremation at Golders Green Crematorium, her ashes were scattered on a lake at her summer residence.
Influence and Legacy: Vivien Leigh was a famous English film actress who starred as Scarlet O’Hara in Gone with the Wind and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Her incredible performances earned her two Academy Awards for Best Actress.
Short Facts about Vivien Leigh for Kids: The above short facts detail interesting information about the life, milestones, history and key events that occurred during the life of Vivien Leigh. A fast, simple way to present a short biography of Vivien Leigh with important dates and info that provides details such as the date of birth (birthday), place of birth, education, family, work and career. An ideal educational resource for kids, schools, teachers and social studies.