Category: vivien leigh

Book Corner – Vivien Leigh: Dark Star

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Book Corner – Vivien Leigh: Dark Star

Since her centenary in 2013 Vivien Leigh has been enjoying an extended moment in the spotlight and I am sure I’m not alone when I say it’s pretty great. She has been recognised through exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, V&A, and Topsham Museum. Several one-woman plays have been staged. Actress Natalie Dormer is adapting my own book into a TV series. Vivien’s family made millions from a Sotheby’s sale of belongings from her estate. And Manchester University Press published a compilation of essays examining various facets of her life and career. It’s wonderful that, despite having died half a century ago, interest in Vivien is still going strong.

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For Vivien on her birthday

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For Vivien on her birthday

105 years ago, in the hill station of Darjeeling, West Bengal, Vivien Leigh came into the world. She’s been gone for over half a century but she continues to inspire people of all ages, from all walks of life. Many are drawn to her work, to her gripping life story, to her valiant battle with mental illness. Through cinematic revivals of classics like Gone With the Wind, and in large part thanks to the Internet, her memory lives on.

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Preserving Vivien Leigh’s Photo Albums

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Preserving Vivien Leigh’s Photo Albums

I’ve been collecting original Vivien Leigh (and Laurence Olivier, but mostly Vivien) memorabilia in earnest for about 10 years now. It began with vintage fan magazines and playbills, and gradually morphed into a focus on original photographs. For some reason I’m not really fussed about clothing, trinkets, or other 3D objects. It’s always been paper for me. Through collecting Vivien Leigh photos I’ve gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of photography in the mid-20th century and I’m particularly drawn to candid press photographs and snapshots – images that pull back the curtain on the glamorous public facade and show Vivien and those around her just being.

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Vivien Leigh: Actress and Icon

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Vivien Leigh: Actress and Icon

Excellent news! Remember about a year ago when I put up a fan survey as part of my research for a chapter in an upcoming Vivien Leigh compilation book? Well, that book has finally appeared on the Manchester University Press website and is slated for publication in November of this year.

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