DEAD: Vivien Leigh

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Vivien Leigh (aged 53)
British actress

Vivien Leigh (born Vivian Mary Hartley and styled as Lady Olivier after 1947; 5 November 1913 – 8 July 1967) was a British stage and film actress.

DEATH: In May 1967 Leigh was rehearsing to appear with Michael Redgrave in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance when her tuberculosis recurred.Following several weeks of rest, she seemed to recover. On the night of 7 July 1967, Merivale left her as usual at their Eaton Square flat to perform in a play, and he returned home just before midnight to find her asleep. About 30 minutes later (by now 8 July), he entered the bedroom and discovered her body on the floor. She had been attempting to walk to the bathroom and, as her lungs filled with liquid, she collapsed and suffocated. Merivale first contacted her family and later was able to reach Olivier, who was receiving treatment for prostate cancer in a nearby hospital. In his autobiography, Olivier described his “grievous anguish” as he immediately travelled to Leigh’s residence, to find that Merivale had moved her body onto the bed. Olivier paid his respects, and “stood and prayed for forgiveness for all the evils that had sprung up between us”, before helping Merivale make funeral arrangements; Olivier stayed until her body was removed from the flat.

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