Hollywood’s King and Queen: The Oliviers

Through the years, several acting couples have been dubbed “Hollywood Royalty”: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner.

But none of these couples come close to the class and sophistication of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. The Olivier’s really were truly the acting world’s (stage and screen) king and queen.

Always gracious, refined and most of all beautiful.  The Olivier’s were always stylish and pulled off the part of royalty very well.

Here are a few photos that illustrate their impeccable taste through the years.

The photo that usually comes to mind when we discuss the Olivier's and their style.

At a tennis match with Claire Trevor in the late 1930s/early 1940s. Larry looks very debonair and Vivien looks fabulously glamorous.

At the 1940 Oscars when Vivien won best actress for "Gone With the Wind"

At home in 1941 illustrating the 'at home' look. I wonder if they ever did their own gardening?

Vivien wearing a wonderful hat on a flight in 1946.

Still stylish yet casual as they relax at home in 1946.

Vivien looks really lovely and Larry looks wonderful in a tux in 1948 in London.

Waving like royalty after a 1949 performance of "School for Scandal."

1951 in "Anthony and Cleopatra": One of the stage's most famous couples.

Arriving in New York by boat in 1951.

Beautiful couple on the dance floor.

Presenting her husband with an award at the Venice Film Show in 1952.

A hilarious photo from 1953 as they get off the plane in Venice.

An interesting fact: I actually was going to do a post about Vivien Leigh being the godmother to actress Juliet Mills, daughter of the Olivier’s friend John Mills and sister of actress Hayley Mills.  In an interview once, Juliet said she remembered being allowed to play in Vivien’s jewelry box.  Sadly, I couldn’t find enough information to a good post out of it, but I thought I could still share the information.

This post has been for the Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier Appreciation blogathon hosted by Kendra at vivandlarry.com.

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13 thoughts on “Hollywood’s King and Queen: The Oliviers

  1. Pingback: Let the Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier Appreciation Blogathon Begin!

  2. This was neat. I like how you did all the photos. Great job!. You picked one of my favorite ones:) The tenth picture down. Once again great job.

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    • Thanks! I tried to put them sorta in chronological order, but I didn’t know when all of them were from lol. That 10th one is really beautiful.

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  3. They were most definitely the definition of class and style. The photos are so beautiful, thank you for posting!

    Also, I had no idea Viv was the godmother of Juliet Mills! Very cool.

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    • Weren’t they? Such class! Thanks for reading!
      Apparently Noel Coward was Juliet Mills’ godfather. Talk about some famous godparents haha

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    • Yes Amanda Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier where Juliet Mills godparents they where good friends of the couple John Mills and Mary Mills.

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  4. You chose such fabulous pictures to illustrate this post! One cannot deny their beauty and class. And yes, they totally did their own gardening, it was one of their favorite pasttimes!

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    • Thanks! I was trying to find photos through the years that showed they always stayed classy.

      I’m glad to hear that they enjoyed gardening 🙂 I never know for sure in some of those old photos if they are just publicity photos of actors doing random things or if they really did the activity.

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  5. Vivien Leigh and Laurence Oliver were my all time favourite stars, i never really knew them in their heyday as i was to young when they were at the top of their profession. I disovered Olivier through his film of Shakespeare’s Richard 111 and thought his performance brilliant and i became an instant fan and i discovered Shakespeare’s works through Olivier. Vivien Leigh i had heard of but i was not aware she was his wife at the time in the early 60’s when i first came upon Olivier as an actor. I brought a book called the Olivier’s by Felix Barker and i found out much more about this celebrity couple. Sadly about a year after buying this book i saw on TV news that were to be part. I was sad about this news as i really thought their marriage was a happy one but over the years i have read many books on their lives together and the relationship was very stormy. Vivien Leigh’s illness was very sad and i am sure this did not help their relationship, but i think she was a very good actor and never really got the credit for her acting skills who can forgot her brillant performance as Blanche in A Streetcar named Desire such pathos. I have seen other actors play this part on stage but in my opinion no-one has done it better than Vivien Leigh. I personally think that although Laurence Olivier went onto remarry and find happiness with Joan Plowright the bond between him and Vivien Leigh never died not even for Vivien Leigh, her relationship with Jack Merivale was happy and he had a calming influence on her i think, but Olivier was the love of her life. If only her illness could have been treated with drugs which are around today for bi-polar maybe they would never have parted but in saying that there was most likely other aspects within the marriage which also caused them to part very sad.

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    • Good comment Carole Heath you seem to know a lot about LO and VL. I also became aware of Olivier through his Shakespeare film s when at school the English teacher took the class to see Richard 111 at the cinema in the late 50’s. Great performance I have seem many actors play the part since then but I personally think Olivier really excelled in the part.

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