The history of old Hollywood works like the mythical history of our days: the stars of those golden years for the cinema occupy the role of the ancients
gods and they also embody stereotypes with which women and men of the past century identified. Today we still remember them as figures
mythical, although we do not identify so much with them as with the brands, creators of the powerful audiovisual imaginaries to which we aspire today. In “Hollywood”, the new Ryan Murphy series for Netflix, we can see as secondary characters some of the most dazzling stars of classic cinema, such as Rock Hudson, the composer Cole Porter or
Vivien Leigh, the unforgettable Scarlett O’Hara from the movie “Gone with the Wind” (1939). Leigh was a prodigious actress and married another acting prodigy,
Laurence Olivier. She won two Oscars (she was the first British woman to win this award), but she was above all a stage actress: she played Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet, Lady Macbeth … In 1999, the
American Film Institute named her one of the 25 Greatest Female Stars in Hollywood History.
In “Hollywood”, the actress
Katie McGuiness plays Vivien Leigh in two episodes in which the writers manage to refer to the great paradox that Leigh lived through throughout his career: the
cruel The film industry called her a “difficult actress” and even a “sex addict”, although in fact she suffered for most of her life from depression, anxiety and eventually disorder.
bipolar. Bipolarity soared in 1945, during the filming of “César and Cleopatra”, due to an accident that caused her to lose the baby she was expecting. However, long before, he had already shown signs of a very
unstable, which was never the subject of a medical diagnosis. In 1937, when Leigh and Olivier rehearsed “Hamlet” (1937) at the Old Vic Theater in London, the actress lost her temper on several occasions, with scenes of screaming and crying that ended so
quickly as they arrived. The doctors never got her ailment right. Then, this type of behavior was included under the label of manic-depressive, although the symptoms were much more serious.
In reality, all these “oddities” were considered an attribute of his character as
diva, sustained by a career in which he achieved practically everything he set out to do. She was still a newcomer when she appeared at the casting of “Gone with the Wind”, beating
Katharine Hepburn O
Joan Crawford. The filming was extremely tough, very stressful, so much so that Leigh overdosed on sleeping pills. Today we know that lack of sleep is a side effect of depression and that
stress plays a central role in triggering manic episodes in bipolar disorder. Many of her great roles have a lot to do with insanity, and Leigh probably used them to channel her crises. It happened with
Lady Macbeth, in the theatrical production that he shared, again, with Olivier, or in “A streetcar called desire” (1951), for which he won his second Oscar.
An image from “Gone with the Wind” (1939), with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. /
However, in 1953 he could no longer contain his
attacks and suffered from paranoia and hallucinations on the Sri Lankan set of “Elephant Walk.” Replaced her
Elizabeth Taylor but, on the plane ride back to Los Angeles, he tried to jump off the plane. After going through a mental clinic (where he received the only treatment available at the time: electric shocks), he returned to work, but his constant
infidelities (triggered libido is another symptom of bipolar disorder) ended her marriage, but not before losing a second baby.
Vivien Leigh died at age 53 of tuberculosis, but its intensity and vividness still lives on in its incredibly electrifying characters still today. Four years earlier he won a
Tony Award por “Tovarich”.
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The cruellest Hollywood called Vivien Leigh “difficult” and “addicted to sex”, but in reality she suffered from bipolar disorder