London’s Victoria & Albert Museum has acquired the archive of screen legend Vivien Leigh. Items from the collection will go on show this autumn.
The archive was donated by Leigh’s children, and has never been available for the public to see until now. It contains intimate diaries, annotated film and theatre scripts, her awards, as well as personal letters to friends and colleagues – such as T S Eliot, Tennesse Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother – and even the visitors’ book for Leigh and husband Laurence Olivier’s Buckinghamshire home – with contributors including Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Leigh is best known for playing the determined, strong-willed Scarlett O’ Hara in Gone With The Wind and as the fragile and troubled Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
“It really explores the life of one of Great Britain’s most celebrated performers,” curator Keith Lodwick told the BBC. “We’re discovering nuggets of information about Vivien Leigh that haven’t been documented before and have given a fresh insight to her life.”