'Gone With The Wind': How Vivien Leigh Died

Vivien Leigh in 1937
September 26, 2020 - 09:00 / Lucas Anderson

Vivien Leigh made film history as "Scarlett O'Hara" in Gone in the Wind. She was considered one of the great actresses of the classical Hollywood period. But her off-screen life was just as dramatic as those she played out in movie roles. This is how the British acting legend's life came to a tragic end.

Beauty. Talent. World fame. From a young age, Vivien Leigh (†53) had everything a young actress could dream of. Opposite screen legend Clark Gable (†59), she broke records with Gone with the Wind.

The film, released in 1939, is still one of the most commercially successful films of all time. But similar to her role as "Scarlett O'Hara," Leigh endured difficulties that ultimately affected her mental and physical well-being.

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind".

Vivien Leigh's lifelong battle with depression

With her second husband, Herbert Leigh Holman, Leigh had her only child, daughter Suzanne, in 1933. But Leigh's 20-year marriage to actor Laurence Olivier (†82) was particularly hard on her psyche. The two were physical, cheated several times, and on top of that, the actress had to cope with several miscarriages.

Vivien Leigh (1935)

The death of Vivien Leigh (1913-1967)

The private setbacks for Leigh worsened her already compromised well-being, leading to angry outbursts, excessive despair, and breakdowns. Today, it's also thought that she struggled with bipolar disorder.

What's more, she dealt with a recurring case of tuberculosis in adulthood. In May 1967, it resurfaced, causing her to fall ill. A few months later, she succumbed to the disease — at the age of just 53. So ended the tragic life of Vivien Leigh. Her only daughter, Suzanne Farrington, lived to be 81, having passed away in 2015.