articles the oliviers

The Oliviers live their own love story

by Richard Gehman
Coronet, January 1953

Submitted to vivandlarry.com by Chris

Kendra has been the weblady at vivandlarry.com 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 (9)

  1. This is entirely what I was dearly hoping to find when I came to the site today, I just felt ever so much in need of some adorable Vivien and Larry, something that I could read and coo over and ignore all thoughts of what happened since or what we know with hindsight. Just as if I’d read it at the time.

    Thank you ever so for sharing.

  2. Am I alone in finding this piece very sad? It’s a miniature of the Barker biography of them both from around the same time, The Oliviers. Here they were, involved with others (he with Dorothy Tutin, she with Peter Finch), having to live up to the public relations aspect of their marriage and keep “The Oliviers, Inc.” up and running. Trapped by the past, unable to break free in the present. And I wonder how Tutin and Finch felt, if they read it?

    In a sense, perhaps it reflects how much Vivien and Larry sacrificed in order to remain, in the public’s perception at least, the darlings of the gods, long after their marriage’s shelf life had expired. It couldn’t have been easy maintaining that “perfect couple” facade while living a different life entirely behind the public masks.

    On another note: why are Vivien’s eyes so often proclaimed to be green? It’s even in the script of The Deep Blue Sea. To me they are blue, blue, oh so blue. Like deep wells. Blue-gray, maybe, but not green!

    1. I don’t think things had quite fizzled out between Larry and Vivien by the time this article was written. if this was published in Jan 1953, it would have been written in 1952 most likely, before Vivien had her breakdown and before she went to film Elephant Walk, thus sleeping with Peter Finch (also before Larry hooked up with Dorothy Tutin). I’ve been spending a lot of time in the British Library going through her letters to him (as well as what’s available of his correspondence with her) and it’s evidenced that they were still attached at the hip, more-or-less.

    2. But yes, once that wedge of her affair with Peter Finch and her breakdown was driven between them, they did put up a very good front for the press and public. It must have been very tiring.

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