Vivien Leigh (November 5, 1913 - July 8, 1967) was an English actress who achieved outstanding success in theatre and cinema. Although her film appearances were relatively few, she won two Academy Awards playing "Southern belles", Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939) and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), a role she had also played in London's West End. She was a prolific stage performer, frequently in collaboration with her husband, Laurence Olivier, who directed her in several of her roles. During her thirty-year stage career, she aimed to demonstrate her versatility as an actress, playing parts that ranged from the heroines of NoĆ«l Coward and George Bernard Shaw comedies to classic Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet and Lady Macbeth.
Lauded for her beauty, Leigh felt that it sometimes prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress, a viewpoint shared by some of her contemporaries, but ill health proved to be her greatest obstacle. Affected by bipolar disorder for most of her adult life, Leigh's extreme moods were often misunderstood, and as she gained a reputation for being difficult, her career went through periods of decline. She was further weakened by recurrent bouts of tuberculosis, which was first diagnosed in the mid-1940s. She and Olivier divorced in 1960, and Leigh worked sporadically in film and theatre until her sudden death from tuberculosis.