Category: site updates

site updates

Celebrating 5 years of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier appreciation

Happy Easter, and happy 5th birthday to! This little space of Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and classic cinema appreciation officially went live on April 8, 2007, and it’s come a long, long way since then. I owe a huge thanks to all of you who visit and have interacted over the years, but I’d rather tell you face-to-face…

I’ve never posted a video of myself on youtube before but I guess there’s a first time for everything! Thanks again to all of you who have continuously returned to the site, and welcome to those of you who are just discovering it. I hope you all stick around for more fun things here at, and I’ll be posting some new photos over on the facebook page later today.



london photography site updates

Spring cleaning

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier by Laura Loveday
I’m very excited to unveil a new look for! The header, based on a photo by James Abbe Jr, was designed by the amazingly talented Miss Laura Loveday, a designer and illustrator living in Cornwall, using a combination of hand-drawn and photoshop. I’ve known Laura for many years through the blogosphere and our mutual love for classic films and creative design. The new look was created for the anniversary of this website, which is happening on April 7. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate 5 years online than with this beautiful illustration. Thanks, Laura!

Also, just to remind everyone, if you had previously subscribed to receive an email update whenever a new blog post is made, you will have to re-subscribe to continue getting this service. When the site was recovered a couple days ago, this data was lost. I’ve re-subscribed a few people already but can’t remember everyone’s email addresses.

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site updates vivien leigh

The Secret’s Out…

vivien leigh by laszlo willing 1940

I’ve got a secret! Okay, it’s not really so much a secret as an announcement — one I’ve debated making here for ages, and one which, after some good vibes from a couple good friends, I’ve finally decided to make. Ready?

I’m writing a book!

Not just writing, but also assembling. It’s an illustrated photography book (read: coffee table book) about Vivien Leigh and I’ve been working on it for the past three years. Nearly everything I’ve done during this time has been in some way related to accomplishing this goal and I believe in this project with all my heart. I’ve had this vision for so long, and like many things in life, the road has not always traveled straight ahead. The original plan was to do something about the personal and professional relationship of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. In the past four or five months, however, the topic has shifted to focus on Vivien and her life. I think this is the right decision.

Why this book? How long has it been since someone wrote a decent biography about Vivien Leigh? At least 20 years. Since becoming a fan of Vivien way back when and, as such, a passionate fan of classic cinema, it has always puzzled and saddened me that there have been no books of this format that focus on Vivien. All the other stars of the studio era have beautiful photography books dedicated to their lives and careers. You’d think there would be nothing left to say about Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn, for example, but they get new ones nearly every year. In Vivien’s case, the only illustrated books dedicated to her are Angus McBean’s Vivien A Love Affair in Camera and John Russell Taylor’s Vivien Leigh. These books, while containing lovely photos and heartfelt sentiments, barely scratch the surface.

It’s high time Vivien Leigh–the woman and actress–was put back in the spotlight. With her 100th birthday coming up in 2013, I aim to do just that.

What’s new to offer? While previous Vivien Leigh biographies have been well-researched, the fact is that there is so much more out there. I’m talking about archival materials, loads of rare and never-before-published photographs and personal papers. This will be the first book about Vivien to tap into the rich collections in major archives, including those in the British Library and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. 

What can I bring to the table as a writer? Years’ worth of research, a film degree and a lot of TLC.

Vivien Leigh more than deserves to be celebrated in a book like this. Her life and career were interesting of course, but she also had an aesthetic that lent itself so well to photography. This is the book I’ve always wanted to buy.

How YOU can help

I’m always looking for stories and original, rare photos of Vivien to enhance the materials I’ve already sourced. If you are a collector and have photos you’d like to share, or if you are a fan and were lucky enough to correspond with or even meet Vivien in person, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll keep you all updated on new developments. It’s been a long, sometimes frustrating process, but I’ve never lost hope that it will come to fruition in the end. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. Vivien deserves it.

site updates

Year end wrap-up 2011


As we get older, time seems to go by faster and faster. Here we are at the end of yet another year. But 2011 was a memorable one for many reasons. I finished graduate school with distinction, wrote a really long paper on Vivien Leigh and film stardom, traveled to some amazing places including Paris and Poland, went back home to visit my family and friends in California, got an agent and am working hard on a book, saw Gone with the Wind on the big screen and met some amazing people both through this website and otherwise. It was also a big year for Here’s a round-up of the best things on the site this year, and my top 10 favorite new-to-me films!

The Best of Viv and Larry in 2011

Visiting Tickerage Mill — Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them. When my friend and fellow Viv and Larry fan Sami and I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Sussex in search of Vivien Leigh’s country home, we never expected to bump into the owner and be invited inside the gates to snap photos. It was a beautiful house and property with a very peaceful atmosphere. It’s no wonder Vivien loved it.

A Weekend with the Oliviers — I’ve helped plan events before at work, but this was the first time I’d ever planned something entirely on my own. An amazing group of people came to London in May of this year to celebrate Larry and Vivien, and I was so happy it turned out well. Everyone was so nice, and luckily all the plans fell into place!  We did a backstage tour at the Old Vic, saw That Hamilton Woman on the big screen, chatted with Hugo Vickers, and saw a play about Vivien that happened to be attended by Tarquin Olivier. It gave me a real confidence boost to have been able to lead everyone around London for two days. What a bunch of good sports!

Tea at Notley Abbey — A last-minute addition to A Weekend with the Oliviers, our trip to Notley Abbey went from cool to awesome when it started raining and we were invited in for tea! Sipping a hot cup of Earl Grey and eating fresh brownies in Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier’s former sitting room before being allowed to wander about and take photos was the perfect, spontaneous way to spend an afternoon!

Gone with the Wind tribute — This list of ten reasons why Gone with the Wind is still awesome was the top viewed post of 2011!

Interview with author Philip Ziegler — Author Philip Ziegler answered questions about his upcoming biography on Laurence Olivier. I cant wait for this to be published!

Interview with author Ellen F. Brown — Ellen F. Brown, co-author of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood gave us the inside info on the journey of everyones favorite Civil War romance.

Remembering Vivien Leigh — A few of us fans in London left white roses for Vivien Leigh at 54 Eaton Square in honor of what would have been her 98th birthday on 5 November. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of current resident Luise Rainer!

The Viv and Larry holiday contest — This is currently going on right now! You can win a fab classic film prize pack, so don’t miss out!

Top 10 new-to-me films of 2011

1. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948) — I’m usually not a big fan of Joan Fontaine but the combination of period drama, angst, Louis Jordan and one of my favorite directors made for very good viewing.

2. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011) — This film actually opens today so I won’t get to see it before January 1, but I can already tell I’ll love it!

3. Term of Trial (Peter Glenville, 1962) — Laurence Olivier’s underrated and understated performance as a schoolteacher accused of rape by his star pupil is one of the best in his repertoire.

4. Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carne, 1945)Screened at the BFI Film Festival, this centuries-old tale of unrequited love on the busy boulevards of Paris was one tear-jerker not to be missed.

5. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)It’s no Annie Hall, but I can’t fault Woody Allen for transporting us back to 1920s Paris when Papa Hemingway, Picasso and everyone’s favorite mustachioed surrealist Salvador Dali tore up the town.  Très romantique!

6. L’Historie d’Adele H. (Francois Truffaut, 1975) — Another story of unrequited love and madness, this time set in Nova Scotia. The beautiful Isabelle Adjani plays real-life tragic Adele Hugo to perfection in this film by French master Francois Truffaut.

7. Twentieth Century (Howard Hawks, 1934) — A zany film starring Carole Lombard and John Barrymore, in which Lombard plays the straight character. So funny and rather unexpected!

8. Les Diaboliques (Jaques-Henri Cluzot) — I loved this thriller starring Simone Signoret and Vera Clouzot about a woman who plans to have her husband murdered, and the tables are unexpectedly turned on her.

9. All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar, 1999) — Definitely one of the best I’ve seen from this living legend. Penelope Cruz has really grown on me recently.

10. Evergreen (Victor Saville, 1934) — My  friend Mark introduced me to this sugary British musical starring Jessie Matthews. I ate it up like candy.


There will be much more coming up here in 2012, so please stick around and thank you so much for all your wonderful support this past year!

Don’t forget you can also find Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier in the following places:

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier on Facebook Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier on Twitter Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier on Youtube

site updates

A Blog Award! and Other Things

I feel like I have been neglecting this blog as of late, even though it has only been ten days since the last post. And I regret to say the next 3 weeks are going to be extremely busy with dissertation deadlines, moving house and job hunting so I won’t have time to update until after everything has calmed down a bit. In the mean time, here some things I’d like to mention:
Vivien Leigh in AnOther Magazine

This site was recently mentioned over at the style and culture hub AnOther Magazine where they wrote an interesting piece on Vivien Leigh’s love for Siamese cats.

Photography by Kendra bean

I recently re-launched my old personal blog as a portfolio because I love photography and am seriously considering trying to freelance and/or set up my own business. I’d love it you popped over and had a look!


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