Vivien: her beauty is as delicately flamboyant as an orchid

by Tennessee Williams
1961

Vivien Leigh is not only the official appointed first lady of the London theatre, but several other things of equal or greater importance: an actress of great talent which has steadily grown through meeting the challenge of many classic roles, Greek, Shakespearean, Restoration and Shaw, while still appearing so masterfully in such American films as Gone with the Wind and my own Streetcar. At present she is appearing in a film based on my novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, a part she accepted with no reluctance despite it being an aging actress, retired from the stage and infatuated with a young adventurer more interested in mirrors than anything except money.

Her beauty, Vivien’s, is as delicately flamboyant as an orchid. When she takes the stage, she commands it as if she first arrived there suspended from the bill of a stork.

Vivien, above all else, is incomparably graceful, she moves like a marvelous dancer, on or off stage, and she has an instinct for doing and saying just the one right thing to put you at ease even when you know you are making a fool of yourself. All of these wonderful gifts she has given with no apparent regard for her personal vulnerability: in other words she is not only a stunning actress but a lady with the most important part of that intricate composition, which is kindness of heart.


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