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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland, DBE 1916-2020

_. Dame Olivia de Havilland, DBE, the great film star, last survivor from the epic movie 'Gone With the Wind', died in Paris, 25 July, 2020, aged 104. She was a scion of the de Havilland landed gentry family, and a distant kinswoman of the Countess of Wessex.

In a glittering career that spanned the years 1935-1988 Olivia de Havilland made 49 films.

She was born 1 July, 1916, at Tokyo, the elder daughter of Walter Augustus de Havilland [1872-1968], then a patent attorney in Japan, by his 1st wife the former Lilian Augusta Ruse [1886-1975], daughter of Joseph Alfred Ruse, of Reading, Berkshire. Her younger sister, Joan [1917-2013], was the actress Joan Fontaine.

The de Havillands were a Guernsey family, the name deriving from the fiefs of Haverland, in Normandy, where they were Lords in AD 1050.

Olivia's father was a son of the Rev Charles Richard de Havilland [1823-1901], Vicar of Cobo, Guernsey, and garrison chaplain there, by his second wife the former Hon Margaret Letitia Molesworth [died 1910], daughter of Capt John Molesworth, RN, and sister of the 8th Viscount Molesworth [1829-1906]. Another Molesworth descendant is Sophie Rhys Jones, wife since 1999, of HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Forfar, KG.

Olivia de Havilland was a fifth cousin twice removed of the Countess of Wessex.

Olivia de Havilland married firstly, 26 Aug, 1946 [div 1953], Marcus Aurelius Goodrich [1897-1991], screenwriter and novelist, son of Briggs Goodrich, of San Antonio, Texas; she married 2ndly, 2 Apr, 1955 [div 1979], Pierre Paul Galante [died 1998], son of Antoine Galante, of Nice, France.

She leaves a son, Benjamin Briggs Goodrich, from the first marriage, who was born 29 Sept, 1949, and a daughter, Gisele Baptistine Galante, born 18 July, 1956, from her second marriage.

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