Apropos of Nothing, Some Stunning Pictures of Vivien Leigh 

In Depth

It recently occurred to me that you hardly ever see pictures of Vivien Leigh where she isn’t in costume as either Scarlett O’Hara or Blanche DuBois. I felt suddenly, powerfully moved to remedy this fact.

This circa 1935 shot feels like a very different look from what we generally associate with Leigh, though I can’t put my finger on precisely why. Maybe it’s the darker makeup?

This photo from same period looks more familiar:

1935 again, as she “relaxes against a heap of cushions.” Do you reckon they bought that jacket for its utter perfection in black-and-white?

A promo shot for Dark Journey, from 1937, “in which Leigh plays a French spy who falls in love with her German contact.” Again with the flirty head-tilt. Give this woman every secret we’ve got!

The sad part is, Leigh felt like her stunning looks meant she didn’t get taken seriously. According to her Wikipedia page (I know, I know, but this one’s well-sourced), she once said: “People think that if you look fairly reasonable, you can’t possibly act, and as I only care about acting, I think beauty can be a great handicap, if you really want to look like the part you’re playing, which isn’t necessarily like you.” The entry also quotes George Cukor, who described her as a “consummate actress, hampered by beauty.”

Late 1938; they must’ve already cast her as Scarlett O’Hara—look at that eyebrow arch. (And what’s going on with that wallpaper?)

At home with her cat (!!) in 1946:

In Rome, with Laurence Olivier, 1953:

1957, wearing a fur so white it probably glows in the dark:

Meeting Ringo, of all people, 1964:

Photos via Getty.

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