The Reel Cinemaniac: A CHEERY STORY

The Reel Cinemaniac / Josh Simpkins

For far too long when I take to my keyboard to relay news to you, dear friends and neighbors, concerning a celebrity, it has been unpleasant at best. From deaths to scandal, I was beginning to really worry we would never escape the gloom and doom. That is, until I happened upon a story the cheered my heart. Two-time Oscar winner and darling of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Dame Olivia de Havilland—who famously played Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind—turned 102 on Sunday July 1, 2018.

It has only been this last decade of my life that I have come to appreciate the films that my parents loved. A few weeks ago, my Nana Phee turned me onto an amazing dark, Southern-Gothic tragedy Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964), starring Bette Davis, Joseph Cotton, and Olivia de Havilland—not to mention a 28-year-old Bruce Dern. After watching the trailer on YouTube, I just had to watch the film. After watching the film, I recalled that Dame Olivia was also in my wife’s favorite film, Gone with the Wind, for which she did receive an Academy Award nomination for her performance. This prompted me to search her up on IMdB.

Of the interesting tidbits I learned about Dame Olivia—her two Best Actress Oscars are for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949); she has lived in Paris for over half her long life—one really stuck out. She has the honor of being the last surviving principle cast member of the 1939 classic, which also starred Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Not only is she the last surviving principle cast member of Gone with the Wind, she holds two World Records for the Actor/Actress surviving the longest after the production of one film and the release of another, both of which she had a starring role.

Dame Olivia has survived 83 years and counting, after her starring role in the film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), wrapped production. Her next movie, Alibi Ike (1935), was released before her first, giving her another world record for the longest length of time any actor has survived after the initial release of a film they starred in. Just a few more birthdays and she shall hold three world records. I truly hope and pray she makes this prestigious goal. Happy birthday, Dame Olivia de Havilland!

Joshua Simpkins, affectionately known as “Big” Josh to his friends and family, has resided in the scenic KRV for most of his life. He is an alumnus of Kern Valley High School Class of 1997 and graduated with honors from Cerro Coso Community College Lake Isabella Campus in 2009. Josh is a devoted husband, loving father, and extremely proud grandpa. Not to mention his great love of the cinema is apparent in his film critiques.

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