Tributes to Gone With The Wind star Olivia de Havilland
- Credit: PA
Tributes have been paid to two-time Oscar-winning actress Dame Olivia de Havilland, the cousin of Hatfield’s aviation pioneer Sir Geoffrey de Havilland.
The Gone With The Wind star – one of the greats of Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 1940s – has died in Paris, her representatives have confirmed. She was 104.
Dame Olivia had links to Hatfield, both visiting the former de Havilland Aircraft Company factory founded by her cousin, and the town’s university, which is now partly based on the former airfield.
In 1997, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited the Hatfield-based university to unveil a statue of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland.
Guests included Olivia de Havilland, and former employees of the de Havilland aircraft factory.
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A year later, Olivia was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire at its degree ceremony at St Albans Cathedral.
The university, which has a campus named after Geoffrey de Havilland, paid tribute to the acclaimed actress.
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“The University is saddened to hear of the passing of Olivia de Havilland,” Uni of Herts tweeted.
“We were extremely lucky to have her as a friend of the University, even visiting us in 1997 for the unveiling of the statue of her cousin, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland.”
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, which aims to preserve the heritage of Hatfield’s famous aviation factory, tweeted: “Dame Olivia de Havilland DBE 1st July 1916 - 25th July 2020. Rest in Peace.”
Olivia de Havilland was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in classic Gone With The Wind in 1940.
Although she didn’t win for playing Melanie opposite Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind, she won Academy Awards for best actress for both To Each His Own in 1946, and The Heiress three years later.
She was also nominated for Oscars for Hold Back the Dawn in 1941 and The Snake Pit in 1948, and won a Golden Globe in the 1980s for Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna.
Hertsmere Borough Council leader and Elstree Studios chairman Morris Bright also paid tribute to the Hollywood legend.
Councillor Bright tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear Hollywood star and Oscar-winning actress, Olivia De Havilland, has passed away aged 104.
“She had a mesmerising screen presence. A true icon. Honoured to have met and interviewed her @ElstreeStudios in 1998.
“She was so kind and warm to me. A real star.”
Elstree Studios tweeted: “We’re saddened to hear of the passing of actress Olivia de Havilland who had a long and illustrious career in Hollywood and the film industry.”
On Broadway, Olivia de Havilland starred in Candida, a comedy by Ayot St Lawrence playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Star Trek actor William Shatner tweeted: “Not a good weekend: the great Olivia de Havilland has passed.”
Olivia de Havilland’s younger sister, Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine, died in 2013.