Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, has died at age of 104. De Havilland was a two-time Oscar winner a pivotal figure in the history of the film industry.
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De Havilland died of natural causes at her home in Paris, July 26. She had lived in Paris for six decades.
In 1943, de Havilland sued the studio Warner Bros, resulting in a landmark decision that shifted power from the big studios to the actors. “Hollywood actors will be forever in Olivia’s debt,” Betty White explained in her autobiography, The Lonely Life.
“I was deeply gratified when, returning to MGM after his long and distinguished military service, Jimmy Stewart asked the court on the basis of that decision for a ruling on his contract — and thus the contracts of other actor-veterans — and received, of course, a favorable verdict,” de Havilland said in a 1992 interview with Screen Actor.
“When I won the final round of my case on Feb. 3, 1945, every actor was now confirmed as free of his long-term contract at the end of its seven-year term, regardless of how many suspensions he had taken during those seven years. No one thought I would win, but after I did, flowers, letters and telegrams arrived from my fellow actors. This was wonderfully rewarding.”