Olivia De Havilland – a Cancerian legend

Actress Olivia De Havilland turned 104 this week and is still riding a bicycle, well truthfully a tricycle. She was one of the leading movie stars during the golden age of Classical Hollywood between 1935 and 1988 appearing in 49 features, winning two Oscars and a nomination for her role in Gone With the Wind.

She had an almost-romance with Errol Flynn, then flings with Howard Hughes, James Stewart and John Huston, before marrying and then divorcing seven years later a journalist/author in the States and finally marrying a French Paris Match executive for another seven-year stint before separating. Though she continued to live in Paris till the end of her life.

She famously feuded with her younger sister actress Joan Fontaine, with conflicted feelings stretching back into their dysfunctional childhood. They were the only siblings ever to win a leading actor Oscar each.

Olivia was born 1 July 1916 10.30 am Tokyo, Japan with a stage actress mother and a womanising father who split early on. Oliva was brought up in England and then the USA, acting in school plays and winning her first studio contract aged 18 after she had run away from an overly strict stepfather.

She has a stellium in Cancer of Sun, Pluto, Venus, Moon and Saturn all in her career 10th house so was always destined to lead a public life. Pluto will make her controlling though also contribute to her legendary influence. Her Cancer Moon Saturn sextile Mars in Virgo, inconjunct Uranus would make for a defensive emotional life which along with her need-to-hold-the-reins Pluto and ambition-focused chart will have contributed to her short-lived marriages. She’s also got a financially lucky 8th house Jupiter in a super-optimistic square to Neptune.

Her actresses’ 15th Harmonic is well aspected as is her super-star 22H. But most notable of all is her 17th Harmonic which promises “immortality” in creating a mark on history and gaining wealth and fame, which can continue after their death.

Her sister Joan Fontaine, 22 October 1917 6am Tokyo, Japan, also appeared in over forty feature films, winning an Oscar for Hitchcock’s Suspicion and latterly moved over to stage and television work. She was married four times, all short-lived affairs and died in 2013, still estranged from her sister.

She had an upfront Libra Sun on her Ascendant, a filmic Neptune on her Midheaven with Saturn Mars in Leo also in her 10th opposition Uranus, so she would be volatile, short-tempered and hard-edged. Like her sister she had Jupiter in the 8th opposition Venus so she could turn on the charm when it suited her. And she had a 3rd house Capricorn Moon opposition a possessive and opinionated 9th house Pluto.

Joan’s Pluto fell in Olivia’s 10th so there would be a tussle for the upper hand and with Joan’s Mars in Olivia’s 12th opposition her Uranus there would be inflammatory moments and too short a fuse on both sides.

Their relationship chart had a high-tension, blurt-out-the-truth composite Uranus opposition Mercury; and a competitive and argumentative composite Sun Mars conjunction; with an emotionally intense composite Moon square Pluto; and a suspicious composite Saturn Neptune, so it would always seem worse than it actually was.

It wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t a vicious fight to the death either. A standard sibling rivalry magnified in the Hollywood bowl.

5 thoughts on “Olivia De Havilland – a Cancerian legend

  1. Thanks Marjorie – what an amazing pair of sisters, both so long lived too. Of Joan Fontaine’s films, ‘Rebecca’ never fails to captivate – and it’s a testament to her acting skills that she manages to convince as a nervous, mousey woman surrounded by much more intense characters. ‘Suspicion’ is also good, another Hitchcock movie. It’s intriguing to think that the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, and the whole early movie business, was largely fuelled and created by many recent immigrants to the USA at that time. Jupiter and Neptune aspects seem to describe both journeys and the creation of “movie magic”….

  2. Oliva’s finest performance was in the brilliant “The Snake Pit”, which predates “One Flew Over
    The Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Shock Corridor”. It was her personal favourite of all of her films.

    Her depiction of mental illness and subsequent incarceration in a psychiatric hospital is
    heartbreaking to watch, even after seven decades. It was years ahead of its’ time and was
    banned from UK cinemas for several years. An overlooked masterpiece.

    She was also in one of my all-time favourite movies “The Adventures Of Robin Hood” with the
    glorious, but self-destructive Errol Flynn. He only made it to fifty years of age…..

    She was born in the final years of World War One and has outlived everything and everybody,
    apart from the Royal Family.

    A truly remarkable life. She is now the last survivor from the Golden Age Of Hollywood.

  3. Thank you Marjorie. My favorite movie of Olivia’s is “The Heiress”. I think her character in that movie perfectly illustrates the vulnerability of Cancer and the eventual hardening of her heart through terrible betrayal and heart break.

  4. When I first saw this post, I froze. I was worried Olivia de Havilland had passed on. Then I started reading it and was relieved to know she’s still alive and well. I had almost forgotten she had a birthday coming up.

    Anyway, Olivia de Havilland has always been one of my all-time favorite classic cinema actresses. She’s lived such an exciting life and she’s appeared in many wonderful films.

    I would have to say a few of my favorite films featuring Olivia de Havilland are: Gone With the Wind (1939), The Snake Pit (1948), and yes, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964, where she co-starred with Bette Davis).

    There are still so many films Olivia de Havilland’s films I haven’t seen yet (and I do plan to watch them at some point). There’s even a 2004 documentary about Olivia de Havilland called “Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland” I’ve been meaning to watch as well as a 2009 documentary called “I Remember Better When I Paint” – in which Olivia de Havilland hereself narrates and the documentary discusses how the arts can help people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Olivia de Havilland’s late sister, Joan Fontaine, was also wonderful actress. However, to date, I believe I’ve only seen one of Fontaine’s films so far – that being Rebecca (1940) which was based on the novel by the same name written by Daphne du Maurier.

    All in all, this is a wonderful post.

    Chris Romero
    Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.

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