The Most Beautiful Woman In Hollywood Struggled All Her Life With Illnesses That No One Knew About

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Vivien Leigh may be one of the most famous as well as iconic actresses of the ‘40s and ‘50s. From her Academy Award-winning performance in ‘Gone with the Wind’ which cemented her as a very talented actress to her endearing role as Blanche DuBois in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, she was one of the best there ever was.

She also focused a lot on Broadway and loved being a stage performer. In her career of around 30 years, she portrayed heroines in comedies and classic Shakespearean characters before becoming a character actress in the later parts of her career.

1Who was she?

The lady we are talking about is Vivian Mary Hartley, who was more popularly known as Vivien Leigh. Her claim to fame was her world-famous portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’ and Blanche DuBois from ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. She won her first Oscar for her role of Scarlett O’Hara.

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2Her childhood

Vivien was born in 1913 in India, where her English parents were posted. Her character was formed in the vibrant and spirited environment of India and she could never really shake it off. Her parents returned to England when she was 7 years old. They sent her to study in a monastery for 11 years so that “she loses the Indian spirit.”

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3Her love for theatre

While in the monastery, she took part in several theatricals. This made her realize her love for theatre and she decided to make it her profession. At 18, she enrolled into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. For her entire life, she always loved theatre more than films and she played iconic characters like Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliette and Lady Macbeth on stage.

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4She quits acting school

Her first husband was an English lawyer named Herbert Leigh Holman who was 12 years older than her. He disapproved of acting and made her drop out of acting school. By this time she also had her only child Suzanne but she couldn’t be a good English wife. She knew she had to do more.

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5The beginnings of a career

She soon started shooting commercials and episodes. She took up the stage name Vivien Leigh around this time. She played a role in ‘The Mask of Virtue’ and soon prominent theatre personalities in London started noticing her as “a promising non-standard actress, who was incredibly beautiful.” She soon became a regular actress in theatre circles.

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