Only a tiny fraction of one percent of the world’s population are lucky enough to make it to their 100th Birthday, and we’re happy to report that screen legend Olivia de Havilland hit that milestone today! Born in Tokyo to British parents on July 1, 1916, de Havilland’s unparalleled acting career lasted for more than 50 years beginning with her film debut in 1935’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when she was only 18 years of age. She retired from acting in 1988.
Throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s, de Havilland was box office gold and won two Academy Awards [1946’s To Each His Own and 1949’s The Heiress, and was also nominated for three other Oscars] while sharing the screen with a who’s who of other members of Hollywood royalty who are no longer with us, including James Cagney, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Henry Fonda, Ida Lupino, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, and, most notably, Errol Flynn, with whom she starred in eight films between 1935-41. The Flynn/de Havilland team remains one of cinema’s most popular pairings to this day.
Her wide-ranging acting abilities allowed her to star in everything from period piece epics and melodramas to comedy and light-hearted romantic tales and she did it with a beauty and grace that continues to stand the test of time. Moving to France in 1956, where she still lives today, de Havilland’s many memorable roles are forever etched into the collective memory of film fans around the world, including her Oscar-nominated role as Scarlett O'Hara's soft-hearted cousin Melanie Hamilton in the immortal Gone with the Wind.
We’re also happy to share an excerpt from this personal note to Ms. de Havilland from Warner Bros. Chairman and CEOKevin Tsujihara:
Letter to Olivia
Dear Ms. de Havilland:
I wanted to send you a note to personally extend my best wishes, along with those of the entire Warner Bros. family around the world, for a very happy 100th birthday. You are truly a living legend, and your contributions to the global cinematic arts are unmatched.
I hope you spend your birthday in good health, surrounded by loved ones, knowing you are held in the highest esteem by millions around the world.
And to further help celebrate this very special occasion, we’ve pulled together some photos from just a few of the movies that are blessed with the grace, beauty and talent of Olivia de Havilland. Happy 100th Birthday!