Monday, July 27, 2020

Thank you, Olivia ...

I have waxed poetic (or something like it?) many times, on my adoration for the Divine Ms. D - Olivia de Haviland, including most recently here, in this post, when Kirk Douglas died. 

At 104, she was the last remaining member of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Queen - managing to change labor laws in Hollywood that still stand and are being used to this day - no easy feat, especially for a woman.

Despite her outspokeness on issues she cared about (for which she was briefly black-balled from Hollywood) - and a never-ending smear campaign by her overly competitive sister, Joan Fontaine (also an Academy-award winning actress) - she was able rise above it all and win them back over, with her grace, poise, professionalism, maturity, and integrity :)

Interestingly, before she died, her sister, Joan Fontaine, apparently tried to reverse years of Olivia-reputation smearing by claiming it was all press that made the sibling rivalry, they'd "never had a quarrel" - but Joan's own supposedly tell-all autobiography on Olivia, that you can still purchase, says otherwise ;)

Olivia, to her credit, refused to ever speak publicly about her sister at all, and if she did, it was positive about her talent and to make eye-roll dismissive light of her sister's antics towards her.  

From what I've read, it appeared Joan constantly tried to make herself an innocent victim of Olivia, and in her autobiography, Joan even tried to take credit for Olivia's getting the part of her most famous role of "Miss Millie" in Gone With the Wind, that she never would've gotten it if it wasn't for her. 

Now - one true thing about Olivia, on the other hand, was that she was famous for cutting people off, personally and professionally - permanently.

What Hollywood called her "legendary grudge-holding" I actually found pretty healthy.  

Because after admittedly trying to reconcile with her sister several times early on, as well as some people in show business, Olivia was the sort that once she felt she'd given you enough chances, once she said she was done with you, she was done - you simply didn't exist to her anymore.   

It's not that she hated or didn't love Joan, nor did she bad-mouth anyone she cut off - she just refused to ever work with them again without ever stating why, just "no thank you."  

In fact, she never mentioned them again, and/or changed the subject if anyone ever brought them up  lol. 

Thus, based on the very few words Olivia has spoken on the feud with her sister, we know that she once alluded to the fact that they were both pretty ugly to each other as children, instigated by their mother pitting them against each other - once even expressing regret for her part in their childhood rivalry and competition.  

Thus, it at appeared, at least outwardly, that Olivia grew up, whereas poor Joan never did (either regret anything or grow up lol).

Regardless, their lifelong family feud was not all there was to Ms. D  - and in fact, had very little to do with her, except that she managed to succeed in Hollywood anyway, despite it. 

Also to her credit, though I'm sure she has a few ugly stories Olivia could tell about Joan, we will never know - because whatever happened between them, she took these stories to grave with her - she died without ever once telling her side of the story, or wrote a "tell-all" autobiography, being a big fan of protecting her own privacy (and everyone else's privacy) unless she felt the behavior was criminal. 

That takes class and a strong will power, not to allow yourself to get dragged down in the mud-slinging pit with them - I, myself, have tried to do this and failed, after a time lol.

Nope, they don't make them like that, anymore, especially in Hollywood. 

So thank you, Ms. D ... for De Haviland's law, as well as Miss Millie, Camille, Virginia, Miriam, and so many other characters that set the gold standard.  

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