The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has acquired a comprehensive archive of the Oscar-winning British actress Vivien Leigh memorabilia from her grandchildren. Artefacts belonging to the legendary actress are currently being catalogued and should be ready to exhibit sometime this autumn.
The Vivien Leigh “booty” includes affectionate letters between herself and husband, Lawrence Olivier. It also features diaries, photographs, theatre scripts and her numerous awards.
Vivien Leigh was one of the greatest British actresses to have ever graced Hollywood. The film “Gone With The Wind” was perhaps her finest achievement. During her life, Ms Leigh stored and catalogued 7,500 letters from friends and working colleagues.
Beautifully hand-written letters from the likes of Winston Churchill, T.S. Elliot, Marilyn Monroe and the Queen Mother have been acquired by the V&A Museum and will be on display. The playwright Tennessee Williams sent Vivien Leigh a letter praising her for her Oscar-winning performance in ‘A Street Car Named Desire’. Tennessee Williams told the actress how happy he was with her portrayal of ‘Blanch’ in the motion picture.
Vivien Leigh kept a diary from 1929 until her death in 1967. This five decade-long diary has also joined the long list of newly gained items of the V&A and will be on display at the highly anticipated exhibition.
Among the remarkable memorabilia will be a guest book signed by the people who stayed with Laurence and Vivien. Many an iconic name in the world of literature and Hollywood signed the book, such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Orson Wells, Judy Garland and Rex Harrison.
Being, for a time, one of the most photographed women in the world, countless photographs will be among the V&A Vivien Leigh archive.
The documentation of Vivien Leigh is fantastically rich and vast. If you have any interest in one of our country’s most famous Hollywood icons then keep a close eye on what’s coming up at the Victoria and Albert Museum this autumn.