London Museum Acquires Vivien Leigh Archive

5:56 AM PST 08/14/2013 by George Szalai
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in "Gone With the Wind"

The British actress, who won Oscars for "Gone With the Wind" and "A Streetcar Named Desire," would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year.

LONDON - The Victoria & Albert Museum here has acquired the Vivien Leigh Archive, which features memorabilia previously owned by the Academy Award-winning Gone With the Wind actress.

Financial terms of the deal with Leigh’s grandchildren weren't disclosed. The British star, who died in 1967, would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year.

The museum said it will for the first time showcase a changing selection of material from the Leigh archive starting this fall.

Among the archive's pieces are Leigh's two Oscars and other awards, photos, diaries and annotated film scripts. Also part of the archive are letters to and from husband Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller and other famous people.

One letter from playwright Tennessee Williams, written in 1950, praised Leigh for her Oscar-winning performance in the film version of his play A Streetcar Named Desire.

Also part of the Leigh collection is the visitors' book for Leigh's and Olivier's former home in Buckinghamshire, England. Among the signatories are Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Orson Welles, Judy Garland and Rex Harrison.

"Vivien Leigh is undoubtedly one of the U.K.'s greatest luminaries of stage and screen and, along with Laurence Olivier, remains a true star of her time," said Martin Roth, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. "We are thrilled to acquire her archive intact in this centenary year of her birth and to be able to make it available to the public for the first time."

E-Mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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