This year marks the centenary of Vivien Leigh’s birth. Leigh is perhaps best-known for her roles in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire – and offscreen, she became one half of England’s most celebrated theatrical couple when she married Sir Laurence Olivier.
In 1956, Olivier directed and starred with Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl (with MM in the role Leigh had played onstage.) While their mutual enmity is well-documented, Leigh’s private thoughts on Marilyn are less clear.
Like Monroe, Vivien was prone to depression (she suffered from Bipolar Disorder.) During the filming of Prince, Leigh became pregnant – but she subsequently lost her baby. Marilyn was also said to have miscarried at this time, but the rumour remains unconfirmed.
As reported in The Independent, Leigh’s personal archive has now been acquired by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The collection includes diaries, photos and letters from many famous names – including both Marilyn and Arthur Miller.
“The archive also contains more than 7,500 personal letters addressed to both Leigh and Olivier from the likes of TS Eliot, Arthur Miller, Sir Winston [Churchill], Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who thanks the couple for remembering her.”
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is becoming quite the mecca for all things Marilyn. On Thursday, June 6, from 2-3pm, Michelle Morgan – author of one the best biographies, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed – will be giving a one-off lecture, focusing on ‘a fresh perspective to the many controversies in the private life of one of Hollywood’s most famous faces.’ Tickets cost £12, including refreshments and a chance to meet the author herself.
The Mikimoto pearls given to Marilyn by Joe DiMaggio on their Japanese honeymoon in 1954 will feature in ‘Pearls’, a new exhibition opening at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in September, reports Professional Jeweller.
With typical generosity, Marilyn gave the pearls to Paula Strasberg after the DiMaggios divorced. The pearls were returned to Mikimoto in 1998.