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Vivien Leigh: A Biography
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Vivien Leigh: A Biography

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  572 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Autobiography of Vivien Leigh.
Unknown Binding, 319 pages
Published June 2nd 1979 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1977)
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Graceann
Nov 30, 2007 Graceann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Biography Fans
Shelves: biography
Anne Edwards helped me to understand Vivien Leigh a bit better, no mean feat for a lady who was so complex. She had to be difficult to love, but her talent was amazing.
Emily Wiersma
I loved learning about Vivien Leigh. Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite classic movies and this beautiful actress has always fascinated me. Vivien Leigh to an outsider would look like she had it all, fame, money and true love however that wasn't the case. She was manic depressive and fought TB throughout her adult life which eventually killed her. But she never seemed to let it get her down she was a fighter all her life and fought for everything she had. She was truly one of the greatest ...more
Debbie Maskus
This book is a wonderfully written story about an extremely interesting actress. Vivien Leigh surpassed many obstacles to become a leading actress, whose first love was the theater, and only did films for the financial benefit. I was amazed to learn of her life and the separation from her parents of a very young age. But, according to Anne Edwards, Vivien remained friendly and loyal to everyone she met. I felt that Laurence Olivier contributed to her many bouts of depression, and I really thorou ...more
Lisa
Gone With The Wind is one of my all time favorite movies so when I spotted this book at my Aunt's house, I knew I wanted to read it. I sometimes Google a celebrity to learn more about them and I honestly don't know why I had never done that to learn more about the person that was Vivien Leigh. I do prefer to read books about them because the authors have often spoken to people close to the subject or even the subject themselves. After reading this book I am even more in awe of this fascinating w ...more
Mike Mills
I have always considered Vivien Leigh's portrayal of Blanche Dubois one of the top three film performances of all times. I will never watch (and I've said this many many years ago) another production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" on film or on stage again, because she owns that character. She IS the definitive Blanche Dubois. And as for Scarlett O'Hara, what else can be said that hasn't already been said. There was a reason why it took so long to cast her. Vivien knew it would be hers. She just ...more
Selina
I read this book many years ago and of all the biographies of Leigh I think it was good to get a female perspective on how the the actress who played the infamous Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind lived. I think it dwelt too much on the manic depression at times and not enough on the good things in Vivien's life so it made for a rather depressing read. Also as it was one of the first bios out it seemed a bit 'quick' and many of the 'facts' in it are inaccurate or exaggerated. However the bio ...more
Kaethe
My interest in Leigh comes straight out of my interest in Gone With the Wind. Of course, later on, I became a Tennessee Williams fan, so there's that too.
Trish
This biography has made a lasting impression upon me. I feel so sad for this woman who struggled with her mental illness and eventually drove away the love of her life. I have mixed feeling now towards Laurence Olivier (due to the events that unfold in their latter years together). Their love for one another was wild and strong, but succumbed to Vivien's illness. I guess everyone has their threshold, it is still so sad. A great actress who was a great beauty and to me will always be Scarlett O'H ...more
pianogal
I learned quite a bit in this one. I knew Viv was Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois, but pretty much everything else was new. I feel like I might've known that she was with Sir Laurence Olivier, but for some reason I thought she died young.

My main complaint about this book is that the author did a lot of copying and pasting of letters. Especially towards the end, big sections of the book, were just letter after letter from Viv to people - never any to her.

Definitely interesting, but not exact
...more
Jo-dee
This was a very good biography of Miss Leigh (considering Miss Edwards was her biographer). I have read the Alexander Walker bio and they really are up to par with eachother, but Miss Edwards wrote about things that Mr. Edwards didn't even mention in his bio version. Also she gave a more "in depth" perception of Vivien Leigh's "Manic Depression" or "Bi Polar Disorder" as it's known today. It is a very sad biography because we all know what happens at the end (the ending almost made me cry a bit ...more
Sarah
I really did not know much about Vivien Leigh before this except she had been in Gone with the Wind, I didn't even know she was british!! This biography does a good job of sucking you into her life and problems. Her maniac depressive order is extenstively covered but the author ofter referred to her maniac phases as "bad behaviour" and not actually tell you what that bad behaviour was. Which did become irritating after a while, however, this is the major flaw of the book. It was an enjoyable rea ...more
Lisa
Growing up I only knew Vivien as 'Scarlett O'Hara'. This insightful biography brings to light the strength of character this beautiful woman had throughout her life. It must have been horrific for her to deal with bipolar/schizophrenia back then before or modern meds were available. And then to had TB as well. Many would just curl up and die. This biography depicts the ups and downs giving the readers a powerful insight to an icon-both the person as well as the entertainer. I'd recommend it with ...more
Ella rose marion
i am right now at the part in this book where vivien and olivier just finished gone with the wind. it was a very had time for vivien because she had changed directors three times, got yelled at, and her fellow actors weren't the most cooperative either. she talked of how clark gable had "terrible hygiene" and, he director would scream at her and make her cry during rehearsals. but still she got through it and became one of the worlds greatest actresses because of it! that is why i love vivien le ...more
Susan
As a huge "Gone With the Wind" fan, I read this book many years ago. In addition to the book and the movie, I was captivated by the actress who played the primary female role so well. It's an excellent biography, and I especially remember being interested in her relationship with her husband, Laurence Olivier. Another tid-bit I remember from the book is Vivien reporting that she wasn't fond of kissing Clark Gable because he had bad breath.
Carol Storm
Careful, respectful, well-researched and yet painfully dull.
Amy Wolf
One of the better bios of Leigh. We follow her from her birth in India to the theatre to film, and really get into her romance/marriage with Laurence Olivier. Leigh was unfortunately mentally ill after GWTW, and underwent electroshock therapy & divorce. Still, a good portrayal of one of my favorite actresses!
Angie
I read this book years ago. Vivien Leigh is one of my favorite actresses. It was heartbreaking to read about her mental illness and how it destroyed her life, her marriage. If she had been born 20 years later even, she would have had proper treatment. If you are a fan, you will want to read this.
Lorraine
I went through a period where I watched all Vivien Leigh movies (probably after having seen Gone with the Wind as a teenager) and so read this biography with great interest. It was so sad to hear of her mental illness. I prefer to remember her as Scarlett O'Hara.
Melissa
I really enjoyed this Biography of Vivien Leigh. The only real issue it had was the fact that it was a reissue from the 70's and therefore lacked a lot of more current information. Other than that it was very enjoyable and a fairly quick read.
Louise
A really well written biography about a sophisticated and well liked actress troubled with a mental illness in her late years. Vivien Leigh led an interesting life from childhood to grave which makes for an equally compelling biography.
Lavinia
Vivien Leigh was one of the most beautiful women that has ever been on the silver screen. I was fascinated with her in high school and I found this great biography and it tells of the great love story between Vivien and Lauernce Olivier.
Lara
It's an interesting read, but the lack of sources, references, and a bibliography make me question the assertions and conclusions drawn in the book. When I get a chance, I want to read a different biography of Vivien, just for comparison.
Areyoulily68
I had no idea Vivien suffered from manic-depressive episodes before I read this book. I would have preferred a more psychologically astute exploration of her great romance with Olivier, but overall this was a good and informative read.
Beth
I enjoyed this book because I wanted to learn more about Vivien Leigh(Scarlett from Gone with the Wind) This book is interesting and contains some nice pictures. Dust jacket is missing.
Anna
it had way too much information on her career and less on her personal life. i guess that just makes me nosey.
Angelina
Had some interesting stories I hadn't read before, but their portrayal seemed a little harsh in it's name-calling.
Anais
One of the most complete biography I've read so far, with a lot of unseen pictures of Vivien as a student.
Celeste
I thought this book was enlightening and interesting gave me new respect for Vivian Leigh as a person
Diana Stevan
Found it engaging. Surprised to read about the mental anguish of such a wonderful actress.
Eunys
Very detailed biography about Vivien Leigh who will always be "Scarlett" in my mind.
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