This week a major star of the 1940’s has passed away at age 104 after a long life. Olivia de Havilland, most known for her role in Gone With the Wind, died from natural causes on July 26 in Paris, where she had lived most of her life, as reported by her publicist Lisa Goldberg.
De Havilland got her big break in Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood after her start in theater that brought her to Los Angeles. She then went on to land major roles in Gone With the Wind and The Snake Pit. For her performances in The Heiress, and To Each His Own, she won Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Though her last acting credit was in 1988 in TV movie The Woman He Loved, her legacy in Hollywood remains after a major court case between her and Warner Brothers changed the relationship between actors and studios in 1943. At the time, studios could suspend actors without pay if they turned down roles outside of their initial contractual agreement, essentially forcing them into contract renewals and adding on their suspension period to their contracts. De Havilland sued Warner Bros. and won a major victory that turned the tables in favor of actors and talent agencies in a system dominated by the studios. It was a major risk for her, putting her entire career on the line, but in the end benefitted not only herself, but all actors from then on out.