Jul 1, 2006

Happy Birthday Livvie

Lovely Olivia de Havilland celebrates her ninetieth birthday today in Los Angeles, California, where her daughter, Giselle, lives. Olivia is perhaps best-known for her role as Melanie Wilkes, the sweet, stoic wife of Ashley (Leslie Howard) in David Selznick 's epic Gone With the Wind, but her career encompasses far more than the 1939 blockbuster: the dark-haired diva garnered five Oscar nominations in her lifetime, taking home two awards for her lead performances in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Acting in films since the 1935, she quickly rocketed to stardom opposite Errol Flynn in Captain Blood, a pairing that would repeat itself nine more times in the coming decade. Other notable films include 1941's The Strawberry Blonde, which features a rare comedic turn for Olivia, and the gripping The Snake Pit (1948).

The summer of 2006 has been a particularly busy one for the star, as she graciously accepted an honorary tribute from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in mid-June. Besides de Havilland, who had flown in from her home in Paris, other distinguished guests included the night's host Robert Osborne, and studio-head-spawn Daniel Selznick, Roger Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. (yes, descended from the David O., Louis B. and Samuel L. of yore, respectively).

I, for one - always being more of a Miss Melly than a Scarlett kinda girl - am ecstatic that Olivia is being honored by both her esteemed colleagues and her fans alike. She is a true living legend, a dedicated and multi-talented actress, and an overall lovely woman. All my best to you, Olivia! The Male Animal was awesome!

Don't miss TCM's birthday tribute to Olivia all day today, July 1, highlighted by a screening of Gone With the Wind as this week's Essential. Visit tcm.com for a complete lineup and set your TiVo's now!

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