Friday, January 10, 2014

Alone At The Top

Just last month, actress Joan Fontaine (of Hitchcock's Rebecca and Suspicion) died, aged 96. She was the younger sister, and bitter rival, of actress Olivia de Havilland, aged 97. Theirs was Hollywood's premiere family feud, a lifelong rivalry supposedly nurtured from a very young age by their mother.
Joan Fontaine.
Fontaine is now dead, but she still managed to get the last word. Fontaine once told the Hollywood Reporter, "I married before Olivia, I got an Oscar before her, and if I die before her she'll be furious I beat her to it."

I'm now concerned for Olivia's health, as I figured it was the hate that kept them alive.
Olivia de Havilland in GWTW.
And then, just after New Years 2014, Alicia Rhett, whose only film role was India Wilkes in Gone With The Wind, died in South Carolina. She was 98.
Alicia Rhett as India Wilkes.
That now means, aside from two bit players, Olivia de Havilland is the last surviving cast member of Gone With The Wind. It might go to figure that the woman playing gentle Melanie would outlast them all, and I wonder if she considers this an achievement. If enduring and epic are positive labels only for films. What's it like to have outlasted all your contemporaries, your bitterest rivals; to be peerless?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


My parents took me to see "Gone With the Wind" on the big screen when I was 9 years old. I thought then that it was the greatest film I ever saw. I'm 53 now and I haven't seen a film that can top 1939's "GWTW".
- Jimmy Balletto