cinema archive vlogs

Leigh/Olivier Q&A (#6)

Mark Mayes and I are back with more answers to your questions about Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. In this segment, we discuss everything from what we’d bring to Notley if we were ever invited to one of the Oliviers’ dinner parties, to the famous names behind David Niven’s “Missie.”

Sadly, my laptop battery ran out before we could get to the end of the queue, so a few answers are typed out below. This is the last video Mark and I will be able to do together for a while as I’ll be leaving SoCal soon, but hopefully we’ll get to do more at some point in the future!

As always, I hope you find this informative and entertaining. 🙂

Extra Questions
Q: Did Viv and Maureen O’Sullivan remain friends after they left school? They were in ‘A Yank at Oxford’ together and I’m curious to know how they got along. I read somewhere that Viv was jealous that Maureen had a career before her.

I’m not sure how close they actually were while they were in school, but Mark and I discussed this, and he mentioned that it seems Vivien might have been a little jealous of Maureen because she achieved success as an actress first, despite it always being Vivien’s dream to be famous. However, I don’t think there was any animosity between them, and Maureen spoke highly of Vivien in her later years. Vivien also took Maureen’s daughter Mia Farrow under her wing and helped advance Mia’s career.

Q. I know that Laurence Olivier had met Grace Kelly (Princess Grace) after he married Joan Plowright, and I was wondering if you knew more information about his meeting with Princess Grace. What did he think of Her and does he ever mention Her death in 1982?

A. In John Mills’ book Still Memories, he mentions Grace and Prince Rainier meeting Larry at David Niven’s house in the south of France, 1963. “When they arrived, Larry was just getting out of the water without his swimming trunks. They’d come off in the bay somewhere. Rainier and the Princess were standing right in front of him as Larry emerged from the sea and bowed gracefully. Perhaps his best entrance ever!” Larry certainly had no qualms about swimming in his birthday suit, as we’ve seen from previous photos!  I don’t remember him mentioning anything about her death.

Q. If you could travel back in time to watch any of their stage performances together – what would it be? Mine would be Macbeth.

A. I think we kind of answered this in this video, but Mark’s would be Macbeth, and I’d personally give an arm to see anything they did together!

To have your questions answered in the next video, please ask them at the formspring!

Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (8)

  1. I am pretty sure the sports car that you and Mark were talking about was a Thunderbird. I was looking at the Alexander Walker book at few weeks ago and there was a section that talked about her buying one with Jack.

  2. I read the same thing in Hugo Vickers bio on Viv. Jack Merivale thought a white thunderbird with black leather interior would look cool, so Viv bought one for him.Cecil Tenant was none too happy about it!

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