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"Vivien Leigh: A Delicate Balance" on A&E

Acting Southern

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For millions, she was the embodiment of Southern Belle-hood, the magnolia of the Old South with a spine of steel. And she wasn't even American, much less from below the Mason-Dixon line.

On Wednesday, June 7, at 8 p.m. and again at midnight, A&E's "Biography" series will look at the life of British-born Vivien Leigh, the movies' Scarlett O'Hara. Fans know that Miss Scarlett wasn't the only Deep South belle Leigh portrayed on the screen. She also did a bang-up job of playing Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois in the screen version of his play "A Streetcar Named Desire."

But Leigh's life off-screen was also something of a drama. Married to one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, Laurence Olivier, she suffered from manic-depression and had two miscarriages and tuberculosis. She and Olivier divorced in 1960, and some of those interviewed for the A&E presentation say she never got over that, or Olivier's subsequent remarriage. She died of TB in 1967.

"Vivien Leigh: A Delicate Balance" will include rarely-seen home movies and personal photographs, along with interviews with 15 family members, friends and co-workers, among them the late Sir John Gielgud, Tarquin Olivier (her stepson), Kim Hunter and Juliet Mills (her granddaughter).
— D.D.

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