Burt Reynolds: A Requiem of Cool
by Lou Hare, Guilty Pleasures Host
As host of Front Row Classics, I have dedicated the last year of podcasting to celebrating and discussing filmmaking’s “golden age”. Unfortunately, the passage of time has taken its’ toll and only a handful of stars from the 1930s, 40s and 50s remain with us. Today, July 1st, marks the 100th birthday of one of the truly remarkable personalities from that era.
Olivia de Havilland is a living monument to a legendary time when Hollywood was truly king of the entertainment industry. Her role as Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone with the Wind has forever cemented her place in film history. Yet, the rest of her body of work speaks for itself with many remarkable performances. She was Errol Flynn’s favorite leading lady, starring alongside him in such landmark films as Captain Blood, Dodge City and my personal favorite, The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Miss de Havilland is also a two-time Oscar winner for her roles in To Each His Own and The Heiress. I can’t recommend The Heiress highly enough to anyone who loves good movies and remarkable acting. De Havilland is one of the few actresses of her time who could make a truly “nice” character interesting and three-dimensional.
Aside from her filmography, Olivia de Havilland deserves to be celebrated in another way today. She won a legendary court battle which secured independence for generations of actors that followed. The “De Havilland Law” was created in 1944 after the actress filed a lawsuit against her home studio, Warner Bros. The studio had suspended her for rejecting a role and then added the additional time to her contract. The legal battle made it possible for no actor to be placed under contract longer than seven years and granted more freedom in actors choosing what roles they wanted to do.
De Havilland has lived a very private life over the last couple decades in Paris, but according to several sources is in good health and plans to live to at least 110. This film fan certainly wishes her a very Happy Birthday and many more to come!
Olivia de Havilland in Gone With The Wind