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Olivia de Havilland: The actress who took on the studio system and won

Olivia de Havilland: The actress who took on the studio system and won

Olivia de Havilland celebrates her 100th birthday on July 1. She occupies a storied place in Hollywood legend, not only as “Gone with the Wind’s” Melanie Wilkes, but also as Errol Flynn’s eight-time screen partner, winner of two Academy Awards and sister, and rival, of another famed actress, Joan Fontaine. Less well known is her historic role in De Havilland vs. Warner Bros. Pictures, a landmark lawsuit that altered the business of Hollywood forever.

De Havilland’s introduction to the movie business began when she wrangled the part of the second understudy for the role of Hermia in Max Reinhardt’s Hollywood Bowl production of “A Midsummer...

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