Gone With The Wind star’s letters, diaries acquired

Actress Vivien Leigh with husband Laurence Olivier in their London home in 1947. Picture: PA
Actress Vivien Leigh with husband Laurence Olivier in their London home in 1947. Picture: PA
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VIVIEN Leigh’s archive – including letters sent to husband Laurence Olivier and diaries written until just before the Gone With The Wind star’s death – have been acquired by the V&A.

The archive, which has not been publicly displayed before, has been purchased by the London museum from the double Oscar-winning star’s grandchildren in the centenary year of her birth.

As well as the British stage and screen actress’s annotated film and theatre scripts, it features correspondence from Winston Churchill, Noel Coward and writer Graham Greene.

It contains more than 200 letters exchanged with Olivier – the couple were married from 1940 to 1960 – 40 of which were sent while Olivier was on Broadway and Leigh was shooting Gone With The Wind in Los Angeles, between April and June 1939.

Photographs which have not been displayed before include stills from Gone With The Wind and Romeo And Juliet and transparencies taken by Leigh herself while on tour in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Leigh’s diaries, written from the age of 16, feature alongside newspaper clippings, postcards, her awards and visitor books, containing signatures from Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Sir Alec Guinness, Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Judy Garland and Rex Harrison.

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, Marilyn Monroe and the Queen Mother who thanks the couple for remembering her.