Alexandra Whittaker
Sep 29, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

Vivien Leigh is a Hollywood legend and icon known for playing Scarlett O'Hara in 1939's Gone with the Wind, but even though she passed away 50 years ago, we're still learning new details about her life.

Thanks to London's Victoria and Albert Museum, more than 10,000 documents and letters from Leigh's estate are now available to the public. Many of the letters are between the actress and her husband Laurence Olivier—who were married for two decades—while other letters dealt with Leigh's concerns about her films.

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The Hollywood Reporter examined some of the letters and documents, and their findings might give you a new perspective on Leigh's work—including her worry that the movie that she's best known for would be a box office flop.

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“You have got to justify yourself in the next two or three films (or even two or three years) by proving that the presumable failure of Gone W.T.W. was not your fault and you can only do that by being really good in the following parts,” Olivier wrote to her. “To make a success of your career in pictures [is] ESSENTIAL for your self-respect, and our ultimate happiness therefore ... If you don’t, I am afraid you may become just—well boring.”

In addition to career-related revelations, the letters also included relationship details. Leigh and Olivier were both married to other people when they became involved with each other.

"O my darling little love I do long for you so. Oh my hearts blood it is unbearable without you," Olivier wrote to Leigh in 1936 while he was still married to his first wife, Jill Esmond. The personal notes shed new light on their affair, which led to their divorces and subsequent marriage to each other in 1940.

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