Welcome to the conclusion of VIVIEN: A Portrait in Depth, written by Alan Lloyd. I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and learned something new! And if you did learn something new, tell me about it! Or, if you have a comment about something the author said, please share. Thanks for reading!
In Hollywood, David O. Selznick was testing one famous actress after another for the coveted role of Scarlett O’Hara in his monumental production of Gone with the Wind. Not convinced that any of them was perfect, he eventually started filming with the part unfilled.
Vivien judged that the time was right.
Spectacular preparations had been made for a gigantic bonfire to represent the burning of Atlanta by night. Flying to America, she drove out to the location with Olivier and his agent, and there, at one o’clock in the morning, her hair streaming in the breeze and the flames of “Altanta” in her eyes, Vivien made her bid for the part that brought her world-wide fame.
Once again, the duet of beauty and determination proved infallible. There were few things that couldn’t be done—with a fight.
Laurence Olivier was less sure. He saw popularity as a limiting factor in his work. In the early days, he didn’t much like his audience. He even felt that an actor had a certain connotation of absurdity. He was liable to hunch silently over his lunch while she chatted, his thought in another world.
“Things are apt to crowd in on one,“ he has said. “Then selfishness creeps in, and one keeps saying: I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”
But Vivien lived by the creed of “I can.”
When Olivier, in a bleak mood, told her, “Fate doesn’t like us,” she retorted, “I’ll make it like us.” And, usually, she got her way.
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