Fast Facts Olivia De Havilland
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of Academy Award-winning actress Olivia de Havilland.


Birth date: July 1, 1916

Death date: July 26, 2020

Birth place: Tokyo, Japan

Birth name: Olivia Mary de Havilland

Father: Walter de Havilland, a patent lawyer and teacher

Mother: Lillian (Ruse) de Havilland, an actress

Marriages: Pierre Galante (1955-1979, divorced); Marcus Goodrich (1946-1953, divorced)

Children: with Pierre Galante: Gisele, 1956; with Marcus Goodrich: Benjamin, 1949-1991

Other Facts

Both parents were British.

She was the older sister of actress Joan Fontaine.

Due to de Havilland’s long-standing feud with her sister, the siblings were seated on opposite ends of the stage during an Oscar winners’ reunion in 1979.

In 1943, de Havilland sued Warner Brothers for unfair labor practices and won. Her actions helped lead to the demise of the Hollywood “studio system,” with rigid studio control over an actor’s career.

She has received five Academy Award nominations and two wins and one Emmy nomination.


1934 - Wins a scholarship to attend Mills College in Oakland, California. Abandons her college plans and makes her stage debut as Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Hollywood Bowl, appearing with Mickey Rooney.

1935 - In her film debut, reprises the role of Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for Warner Brothers and signs a long-term contract.

1942 - Nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for “Hold Back the Dawn,” but loses to her sister, Joan Fontaine, for “Suspicion.”

1947 - Wins a Best Actress Academy Award for “To Each His Own.”

1950 - Wins a Best Actress Academy Award for “The Heiress.”

1962 - “Every Frenchman Has One,” her book on French culture and tradition, is published.

June 15, 2006 - A career tribute from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is held in Los Angeles.

November 17, 2008 - Is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony attended by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

September 9, 2010 - President Nicolas Sarkozy of France presents de Havilland with the Legion of Honour at Elysee Palace.

June 16, 2017 - Is made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

June 30, 2017 - Files a lawsuit against FX and Ryan Murphy over her portrayal in the limited series “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

October 13, 2017 - FX Networks files a notice of appeal with the Courts of Appeal of California.

March 26, 2018 - The California Courts of Appeal dismisses the lawsuit over “Fued.”

October 5, 2018 - The actress’s attorneys file a petition with the US Supreme Court.

January 7, 2019 - The Supreme Court declines to take up de Havilland’s case.

July 26, 2020 - De Havilland dies at the age of 104 from natural causes, her publicist Lisa Goldberg tells CNN.