Hollywood Icon Olivia de Havilland Fights for Her Reputation
Olivia de Havilland presents Bette Davis with a Cesar Award in 1986 (Photo By Francis Apesteguy/Getty)
There are few living legends left from Hollywood’s Golden Era — but Olivia de Havilland, now 101, is one of them, and she’s tossing down the gauntlet to protect her reputation.
Dame Olivia de Havilland (fun fact: she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017 making her the oldest person to receive such a title), who lives in Paris, is most famous for her portrayal of Melanie Wilkes in the 1939 blockbuster and Oscar-winning film Gone With The Wind, base on the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by Margaret Mitchell. She also starred opposite sex-symbol Errol Flynn several times, including playing Maid Marion in the 1938 classic The Adventures of Robin Hood.
What’s got the demure Dame up in arms? Last year’s much-lauded series Feud: Bette and Joan created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, The People vs. OJ Simpson). Turns out de Havilland is none too thrilled by the portrayal of herself by Catherine Zeta-Jones. In the FX series the de Havilland “character” is seen gossiping, back stabbing and swearing during a backstage interview at the Oscars to help illustrate the famous feud between her colleagues Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
According to a profile of the star in The New York Times, her lawsuit “alleges unauthorized use of her name and likeness to endorse a product — a “right of publicity” claim — as well as false light, which sounds like the old Vaselined lens trick but in fact is a privacy tort akin to libel and defamation.”