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I’ve added a new article to the Vivien Leigh Article Database- here’s a sneak peek! I found it interesting that she said Cleopatra was her favorite role. She talks about Scarlett, the critics, and the best compliment she’s ever received.

Written by: Alan Dent

Appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, July 9, 1961

The dismantled music hall would have been a somewhat depressing ambiance if it had not been for the presence of Vivien Leigh in a white crinoline, reclining in a yellow armchair.

She was talking to me between scenes of Dumas’s “The Lady of the Camellias,”  being rehearsed at the Finsbury Park Empire before leaving for Australia to begin a two-year tour with a specially chosen Old Vic company. This opens on Wednesday with “Duel of Angels.”

“Let me babble.” she said  babbled delectably of what might almost be described as the grandest tour ever. The first part takes in the Antipodes and the far East, Tokyo, Manila, Bombay, Bangkok. Then, after a rest at home, in 1962, “we begin the second half of the world tour starting in Paris where we have been invited to play in Jean-LouisBarrault’s theatre. Furthermore when I introduced myself to Madam Furtszeva the other day she said she would be delighted if we went to Russia, and I hope that will be arranged. From there onwards the tour is planned to take in South and North America.

“The idea of this tour was mine originally,” she said “I suggested  it to Bobby Helpmann, who suggested it to the Old Vic which could hardly agree more.  About half of the company are Old Vic players.”

Besides the Dumas, the touring repertoire  will include “Twelfth Night” and Giraudoux “Duel of Angels.”

The success of the latter, a “difficult” play, did not surprised her as much as it has surprised some other people.

” The first time I read it- there are only two new plays I have ever read which have kept me awake- one was ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ by Thornton Wilder and the other was ‘Duel of Angels.’ I remember telephoningBinkie Beaumont the next morning and saying ‘I want to do it. I don’t mind which part I play. I just think it is the most wonderful play.”

To continue reading this article, please visit the Vivien Leigh Article Database, or CLICK HERE.

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In honor of 70 years of Gone with the Wind, this website will feature a special GWTW interview series beginning October 21. On November 13 & 14, the Marietta, Georgia, Gone with the Wind Museum, the keeper of the flame for all things GWTW, will pay tribute to the film’s 70th anniversary by hosting a fun-packed Re-Premiere weekend for fans of the movie classic.  I will be attending the event and can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But until then I thought it would be fun to catch up with some of the actors,writers, and other guests who are participating in the Re-Premiere weekend.  So beginning on Wednesday, October 21st, the Vivien-Leigh.com blog, also known as ScarlettOHara.org, will feature a special Interview series with some GWTW notables. You can subscribe to this website by email by clicking HERE. You can view the Re-Premiere weekend itinerary by clicking HERE. Also, new tickets options are now available. See Below. To book your ticket, please call the the museum at 770-794-5145 or emailing csutherland@mariettaga.gov.

All prices are per person.

  • Full package – $325
  • Friday only – $150 (includes Q&A and Costume Ball
  • Saturday only – $175 (includes autograph session, tours of museum, red carpet festivities, VIP reception, pre-show program, screening of Gone With the Wind)
  • Q&A only – $25
  • Costume Ball only – $125
  • Autograph Session only – $25
  • Red carpet festivities, VIP reception, pre-show program, screening of Gone With the Wind only – $150

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For those who plan to attend the Marietta GWTW Event next month and for anyone else who will be in the Atlanta area between the end of October – end January, you MUST  check out the Atlanta History Center! They will have a special GWTW exhibit during that time frame to celebrate the film’s 70th anniversary. Details are below!

When: Thursday, October 29, 2009 – Sunday, January 31, 2010

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Atlanta premiere of Gone With the Wind, our Buckhead campus, the Atlanta History Center will display two original costumes worn by Vivien Leigh. On display in two atrium cases, visitors will be able to see the famous green curtain dress worn by Leigh in her role as Scarlett O’Hara. The display also features the dress worn by Vivien Leigh for the scene depicting Scarlett’s ride through Shantytown, and several costume sketches by Gone With the Wind costume designer, Walter Plunkett. For Scarlett: Costumes from Gone With the Wind is included with general admission to the Atlanta History Center. For more information, call 404.814.4000 or visit AtlantaHistoryCenter.com.

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If you live in or around the Atlanta area, but sure to check out the Atlanta Botanical Gardens sometime during the month of October if you’d like to take a glimpse of Scarlett O’Scara! Between October 1 & October 31, “Scarecrows in the Garden returns to the woodlands of the Southern Seasons Garden. The annual tradition features wild and wacky creations by individuals, designers, local organizations and businesses throughout Atlanta.” (check out their website for more details on ticket price, directions, etc). Scarlett O’Scara was created by the Margaret Mitchell House and looks absolutely stunning! If you visit her, please snap a photo for me!

meet Scarlett OScara

meet Scarlett O'Scara

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Those of you who plan to attend the Marietta GWTW Event this November and are interested in meeting up for a Vivien-Leigh.com/Vivien Leigh get together of some sort, please comment here or email me at webmaster@vivien-leigh.com so that I can add your name & email address to my list. As we get closer to the event, I’ll send out an email about the plans. I have a couple things ‘up my sleeve’ so I do hope many of you can come. Tickets are selling fast!

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For those of you who intend to visit Marietta for the November event and perhaps would like to see some of the other ‘sites’ during your visit, here’s something to add to your list: The Georgian Terrace Hotel! Located in nearby Midtown Atlanta, the hotel is the perfect place to visit in honor of the 70th anniversary of Gone with the Wind. Here’s a quote from the hotel’s website about the history of the establishment: “The Georgian Terrace had an elegance Atlanta hadn’t known before. When the hotel opened its doors in glamorous Midtown nearly a century ago, it opened them to some very notable guests, including President Calvin Coolidge, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tallulah Bankhead. In 1939, The Georgian Terrace hosted the premiere gala of Gone with The Wind. Every decade brought more notoriety to the hotel. In the 1970s, concert promoter Alex Cooley turned our Grand Ballroom into the famed Electric Ballroom, hosting concerts by musicians such as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, and Patti Smith.” The official website for the hotel is located at: www.thegeorgianterrace.com/

It’s definitely on my list of ‘things to do!’ And to give you a preview of this site, here’s Carolyn’s comments about her recent stay at the glamorous hotel! Thanks for sharing, Carolyn!

My husband and I stayed at The Georgian Terrace Hotel over the weekend for our wedding anniversary.

I had never been inside before; it was beautiful! It has gone through many renovations (and was in fact boarded-up and set for demolition for some time in the 1980’s) since 1939 when Clark & Carole and the cast of GWTW were there. Here’s an article they had hanging in the hotel business center:

Frankly my dear, Clark Gable would enjoy The Georgian Terrace Hotel today much more than when he last visited. Back in 1939, he didn’t get to hang his tuxedo jacket in a walk-in closet, brew a pot of coffee, microwave himself a snack, sprawl across a comfy couch and check out what’s showing on cable TV.

This landmark Atlanta building stands proudly in Midtown across Peachtree Street from the Fox Theatre. After an interlude as an upscale apartment complex, the building reclaimed its historic role as a luxury hotel. The conversion left a wonderful legacy for guests: All 320 guestrooms are suites, with huge closets and full kitchens.

Let’s explain the Gone with the Wind reference. Gable, Vivien Leigh and other GWTW stars stayed at The Georgian Terrace while attending the movie’s premiere(the movie debuted at the now-demolished Loew’s Grand Theater).


Today’s Georgian Terrace has been listed to the National Registry of Historic Places. It presents an intriguing blend of Old South charm, timeless elegance, and surprisingly contemporary architectural touches. The original 10-story brick building, completed in 1911 and described as “Southern style Parisian” in design, received a new 19-story wing during the apartment conversion that was made in the early nineties. It provides a dizzying view if you walk inside the main entrance and look straight up.

The space between the two wings forms the lobby. You’ll be charmed by sweeping staircases, ornate banisters, towering columns, tile floors, and other architectural flourishes.

You could just cocoon yourself in your suite. It’s certainly comfortable enough, with chairs you can sink into and framed artwork on the walls. There’s even a full-size clothes washer and dryer.

Clark Gable may have been a rich and famous movie star, but you get a better suite than he did.

Here’s the circular entrance the article mentions, picture taken from the penthouse level looking down:

We walked through as much of the “old section” as we could. Here are some pics of the hallway and an old safe that is built into the wall:

When we first arrived, there was a high school reunion going on in the Grand Ballroom (where the GWTW reception was held) so I couldn’t go in. Fortunately, by the time we left the hotel lounge after midnight, the reunion was over and the staff was cleaning up the ballroom, so I was able to get some pictures!

And here’s the plaque that is outside the door:

There is a smaller ballroom at the front of the hotel that is named after Margaret Mitchell:

This is funny…outside, while you are waiting for the valet to bring your car around, there are these windows on the side of the building where the hotel cafe is. Even though they are blurred and abstract looking, I recognized them immediately as Vivien Leigh waving to the crowd after speaking at the microphone in front of the hotel:

There are also giant black and white pics from the premiere like that in the restaurant, but we didn’t eat there and couldn’t get in.

I must admit, while we were strolling through the “old section” with its marble and vintage tile and gorgeous light fixtures, we reached an area that both my husband and I deemed as creepy. It was a room that only employees use to bring food to the ballrooms. The crown molding was gorgeous and ornate, the ceiling was a bit molded and there were still old furnaces against the wall. Something about that room creeped us out so badly that not only did we retreat quickly but we didn’t even feel comfortable taking a picture in there!

All in all it was lovely and I could just imagine them all standing in the ballroom…I want a time machine….

Oh here are two exterior pictures as well:

Car parked in front of the Georgian Terrace which says that Clark and ViviEn (yes they misspelled it here too!) rode in while in town:

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Vivien is brought onboard a plane by stretcher. Her face is covered to hide her identity from the press (but they all knew who it was)

Vivien is brought onboard a plane by stretcher following her breakdown during the filming of Elephant Walk. Her face is covered to hide her identity from the press (but they all knew who it was).

The article below is from the Mental Health Abuse.org, a website that reports on psychiatric misdiagnosis and abuse. Thanks to John-Michael for bringing it to my attention. I’m posting it here as a conversation starter. I believe that many of Vivien’s choices led to her deteriorated health. She smoked, drank, and partied too hard. She put her career in front of her health, working long hours and needing only a little rest and sleep. She disobeyed the doctor’s orders and sometimes did not seek treatment at all. If she had known that her behavior would ultimately cause her death, would she have continued?  I’m not familiar with Isoniazid, but with all medicines there is some risk. And I firmly believe that any medicine she was given, it was given with the best intentions and in hopes of curing/treating her. Thoughts?

Of the stars that fell victim to psychiatric misdiagnosis and violent treatment, perhaps none is better known all over the world than Vivien Leigh. The star of “Gone with the Wind” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” she received best actress Oscars for both films. Ironically, Leigh’s life was a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Her troubles began in 1945. While performing on stage in “The Skin of Our Teeth, ” Leigh experienced attacks of hysteria, alternated with bouts of exhaustion and exhilaration. Diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), she continued performing until closing night. After six weeks of treatment in a hospital the TB showed signs of abating and she recuperated at home over the following year.

Bouts of hysteria, however, continued, exacerbated because she mixed alcohol with her TB medication. Isoniazid, one of the drugs prescribed at the time for TB, had side effects that included mental confusion and toxic psychosis.

In the early 1950s, Leigh began seeing a psychiatrist. Typically, psychiatrists do not check for drug-induced mental behavior. While filming “Elephant Walk” in Ceylon, Leigh began having hallucinations, making it impossible to film. Desperately concerned, her husband, renowned classical actor Sir Lawrence Olivier, capitulated in light of psychiatric advice. She was flown to her native England, where she was admitted to a psychiatric facility.

Here, she was brutally packed in ice as part of her “treatment” and subjected to repeated electroshocks. It was the first of many terrors, and one that would affect her permanently. One time she even suffered burn marks to her head from the electric shock. Olivier was devastated by the change in his wife’s personality following the shocks: “I can only describe them by saying that she was not, now that she had been given the treatment, the same girl that I had fallen in love with. … She was now more of a stranger to me than I could ever have imagined possible. Something had happened to her, very hard to describe, but unquestionably evident.” Then ECT was temporarily abandoned and replaced by powerful psychotropic drugs—especially dangerous as they were combined with her TB medication.

In May 1967, Leigh’s medical doctor informed her that the TB had spread to both lungs and her condition was critical. Her strength destroyed by years of electroshocks and psychiatric drugs, Leigh was unable to fight off the disease. She succumbed to it less than two months later. Psychiatry’s brutal treatments progressively denied Leigh her sanity, her marriage, her career and ultimately her life.

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