Sunday Reads: The de Havilland Law

On July 26, we lost one of the last remaining connections to the “Golden” era of Hollywood.

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We at TCM are saddened to hear that beloved film icon and one of the last remaining stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Olivia de Havilland, has passed away. The two-time Oscar winner leaves behind a staggering and versatile body of work, but her greatest contribution came in court against Warner Brothers, setting a template for labor rights in Hollywood. She won a landmark decision that gave artists creative independence from studios and became known as "De Havilland Law." TCM host Robert Osborne and de Havilland were dear friends. The two spoke over the phone every Sunday for 40 years. He once shared a story with us about a conversation de Havilland had with frequent co-star Errol Flynn. Flynn asked her what she wanted most out of life. She said, "I would like respect for difficult work well done."

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Today, we say goodbye to one of the last leading ladies of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Olivia de Havilland not only leaves behind a versatile body of work but was a champion for labor rights. We are grateful for her on-screen performances and for being a trailblazer off-screen.‬

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Most of the tributes related to Olivia de Havilland obviously mention her role in GWTW, but she had a greater contribution to Hollywood in the form of the de Havilland Law. She sued Warner Brothers and won, allowing Olivia to become a free agent during a time when studios held actors to the contract system.

Read about it here:

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Rest in peace, Olivia de Havilland. The actress who was best known for her role in the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind” passed away this weekend at the age of 104 (Photo: circa 1940).

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If that link up top did not work, here is the TCM Remembers:

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Goodnight to the peerless Olivia de Havilland, who has passed away at the age of 104. Alongside her many indelible contributions in Hollywood, de Havilland's Oscar-winning turn in THE HEIRESS (1949) remains a beautifully devastating, astonishing performance to behold. ❤️

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The Heiress is one of my favorite movies…you can catch it on TCM this August 23rd:

For a full schedule click this link here:

A different star every day, all month. August 1-31


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Heartbreaking to announce that Olivia de Havilland has passed away 💔 Her career spanned more than 50 years and earned her two Academy Awards for Best Actress. In 1943, she took Warner Brothers to court because they added time to her original contract as a penalty for turning down roles. The Supreme Court ruled in her favour and this became known as the De Havilland Law, which loosened the grip studios had on their actors. She was a phenomenal actress and one of my absolute favorites of all time 💔 🌹(July 1, 1916 – July 25, 2020)🌹 – #OliviadeHavilland #OliviadeHavillandOHArg #OldHollywood #ClassicHollywood #Classic #Vintage #Icon #Iconic #1940s #40s #Film #Cinema #Hollywood #Glamour #Fashion #GoldenAge

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Olivia de Havilland was the last of an unprecedented and unmatched period of Hollywood star-making. Rest in peace, legend. #oliviadehavilland

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Olivia de Havilland as a suffragette in the comedy THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE ('41) opposite Rita Hayworth.

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Olivia de Havilland, a two-time Oscar winner and costar of "Gone With the Wind," died Sunday at the age of 104. In her 2005 Proust Questionnaire, the Hollywood icon told V.F.: "I would prefer to live forever in perfect health, but if I must at some time leave this life I would like to do so ensconced on a chaise longue, perfumed, wearing a velvet robe and pearl earrings, with a flute of champagne beside me and having just discovered the answer to the last problem in a British cryptic crossword." Read more at the link in bio. 📸: @gettyimages/@annieleibovitz

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On August 23rd, TCM will celebrate the life and career of Olivia de Havilland with a 24-hour tribute to the legendary actress and champion for labor rights: THE MALE ANIMAL ('42) at 6am ET PRINCESS O'ROURKE ('43) at 8am ET LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA ('62) at 10am ET IN THIS OUR LIFE ('42) at 12pm ET CAPTAIN BLOOD ('35) at 1:45pm ET DODGE CITY ('39) at 4pm ET THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD ('38) at 6pm ET GONE WITH THE WIND ('39) at 8pm ET THE HEIRESS ('49) at 12am ET TO EACH HIS OWN ('46) at 2:15am ET HARD TO GET ('38) at 4:30am ET

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BBC and ITV news headlines from Sunday evening pay tribute to Dame Olivia . . . . . #OliviadeHavilland #bbc #itv #news #gonewiththewind #theheiress #vivienleigh #errolflynn #bettedavis #cinema #hollywood

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What a woman…

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10 Comments on “Sunday Reads: The de Havilland Law”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    So many gorgeous photos. Errol Flynn was gorgeous too.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. Beata says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tribute, JJ.

    “The Heiress” is one of my favorite movies too. I love the chilling line at the end of the movie when Catherine ( Olivia ) says: “Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.”

    So true.

  4. Enheduanna says:

    Thank you for including the TCM tribute JJ. I finally gave up TCM because to get it I have to pay for Xfinity’s top tier cable lineup – the basterds. Just that one channel – they know there are legions of fans so they only offer it at a premium. I miss their tributes and Robert Osborne of course. Hope they’re all happy together over the rainbow.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Same here. I would have to pay quite a bit extra for the package that includes TCM, Fox movie channel and a bunch of sports channels. I’ve tried to find a way to get TCM for years, always unsuccessfully.

    • Beata says:

      I haven’t had cable TV for several years now. But I can get PBS with a cheap antenna. One channel and that’s fine with me. I do miss TCM though. Loved Robert Osborne. So classy and knowledgeable. No one can replace him in my opinion.

      I have limited access to the internet. I can only stop by to say hello occasionally.

      So, hello! I’m still alive! Hope you all are still alive too.

      • quixote says:

        Feeling ephemeral, but still here. Good to hear from you!

        • Beata says:

          Hi, Q! I understand that feeling.

          When I was 18, I had a college boyfriend who used to go around saying very deep things like “Life is so transient”. He’s in his 60’s now and lives in Costa Rica. He seems to be doing well but really how long can that last? Another 30 years maybe?

      • Beata says:

        Just a note to say that not having cable TV or much internet access is a choice I made. Yes, it saves money but it is really about having a more quiet, simple life. I read, write, paint, garden and lots of other things. I don’t feel deprived.

        Even so, having TCM would be nice!