Olivia de Havilland

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Olivia Mary de Havilland (born July 1, 1916) is a British American film and stage actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for 1946 and 1949. She is the elder sister of actress Joan Fontaine. Along with her sister, de Havilland is one of the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s.


Early life

Olivia de Havilland was born in Tokyo, Japan, to English parents. Her mother, Lilian Augusta Ruse (1886–1975), was an actress known professionally as Lillian Fontaine, and her father, Walter Augustus de Havilland (1872–1968), was a patent attorney with a practice in Japan.[1][2] Her parents married in 1914 and divorced in 1919. She was raised as a Roman Catholic.[3] Her younger sister is the actress Joan Fontaine (born 1917), from whom she has been estranged for many decades, not speaking at all since 1975.[4]

The de Havilland family moved away from Tokyo when she was two years old, settling in Saratoga, California, due to her sister's poor health, which improved after the family emigrated. Both sisters attended Los Gatos High School and de Havilland also attended the Notre Dame High School, Belmont.[5] An acting award at Los Gatos is named after her. Her paternal cousin is Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, designer of the de Havilland Mosquito aeroplane.

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