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Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier love letters revealed in V&A archive

Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, 1949. Photo: Angus McBean. Copyright Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University
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Love letters between actor Vivien Leigh and her husband Laurence Olivier are to be displayed at the V&A museum in London this autumn.

The museum has acquired Leigh’s archive, which includes more than 200 letters, telegrams, photographs, newspaper clippings and postcards between 1938 and 1967.

It also features her correspondence with playwright Noel Coward, novelist Graham Greene and former prime minister Winston Churchill.

Personal diaries, photographs and Leigh’s annotated film and theatre scripts will be available to see. Also on display will be hers and Olivier’s visitors’ books, containing signatures from guests such as American actors Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles and Judy Garland, who they entertained at their Buckinghamshire home.

Martin Roth, director of the V&A, said: “Vivien Leigh is undoubtedly one of the UK’s greatest luminaries of stage and screen and along with Laurence Olivier, remains a true star of her time. 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.”

The archive, which spans Leigh’s life from aged 16 in 1929 until her death in 1967, will be on display in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Galleries from this autumn.

 

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