Frankly, you may not give a damn – but you probably do. That’s right – we’re talking about Gone With the Wind, one of the best films made in Hollywood and a seminal work of American and world cinema. Based on the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell, this film remains a classic and is still watched by film lovers today.
The film had so many elements that made it a success. The biggest factor, of course, are the talented actors and actresses that made it such a great film.
Sadly, every Gone with the Wind Cast Member Has Now Died. Their lives and careers should be an inspiration to us all.
Join FactsVerse to learn about how Every Gone with the Wind Cast Member has now died and the incredible lives they lived…
CASTING THE FILM
The casting of Gone with the Wind was one of the biggest challenges of making the film!
This was especially the case when it came to casting the 2 lead roles – and in fact, it took 2 years just to find the right cast members! The film’s producer, David O. Selznick knew from the beginning that Clark Gable was the perfect choice for Rhett Butler.
However, at the time, Hollywood was working under the studio system and under this system, actors were contractually obliged to only work with 1 studio – unless the studio was willing to ‘loan’ them out – which MGM wasn’t doing.
They had to wait two years just for Clark Gable to be freed from such obligations so that he could join the cast.
It was perhaps an even bigger challenge to onboard Vivien Leigh – who played Scarlett O’Hara. But that’s because it took seemingly forever to find the perfect actress to take on the role.
There were many actresses who were vying for the role and 31 women auditioned for the role – many of them famous stars, others hopeful aspirants. Once again, David O. Selznick knew that the perfect actress was Vivien Leigh. She was famous in England but wasn’t known much in Hollywood – but he wanted to take a chance on her.
He had to convince director Alexander Korda to lend out Vivien Leigh as she herself was under contract to work with him. It took some time, but eventually she was added to the cast.
Yet, it took 2 years. Today, one wonders if any producer would be willing to wait so long…
Now let’s look back on the lives and careers of some of the main cast members…
William Clark Gable was born on February 1st, 1901, in Cadiz, Ohio. He began his acting career in the 1920s. While still in his teens, he was working at a tire company but after watching a stage play on a day off – he decided that acting was what he wanted to do with his life.
Very early on, he managed to establish himself as not only a leading man but also a versatile actor. Most of his career in the 20s included roles as an extra and bit parts – most of which went uncredited.
But his luck changed as the 1930s approached.
He appeared in hit films including Laughing Sinners, A Free Soul, Night Nurse, Sporting Blood, Hell Divers, Possessed, Red Dust, It Happened One Night, and many more. By the time he was cast in Gone with the Wind – he was perhaps the biggest star in Hollywood.
His career went from strength to strength and almost lasted 40 years.
His final film was The Misfits which was released in 1961. This was a hit Western film directed by John Huston and written by Arthur Miller. Even at the final stage of his career, he was acting in great films and he always proved that he was great in drama, westerns, thrillers, and comedies – a rare feat even among today’s actors.
The film was released the year after Clark Gable died. He died on November 16, 1960, due to coronary thrombosis. He was 59 years old.
Vivien Leigh was born on November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, British India. When she was in her early teens, she moved back to the United Kingdom with her mother and her stepfather. Upon her return, her friends convinced her to be an extra in a film that was under production.
She played a schoolgirl in the comedy film Things Are Looking Up. While the role was minor, her enthusiasm at being in a film was a major contributor to her deciding what she wanted to do with her life.
Throughout the 1930s, she managed to snag roles in big British films including Fire Over England, A Yank At Oxford, Sidewalks of London, and Wuthering Heights. She was rapidly becoming a star in England – but was still largely unknown in the United States – which was dominating the film industry and was entering the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When she was noticed by David O. Selznick and was cast in Gone with the Wind – she became an international star and she never looked back after that.
She continued to act in both American and British films throughout her career and her other big hit after Gone with the Wind was when she played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.
She continued to act until she passed away. Her final film was the 1965 film Ship of Fools in which she had a lead role among a great ensemble cast. She died on July 7, 1967, due to chronic turbecolosis. She was 53 years old.
OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND
Olivia De Hallivand was one of the last Gone with the Wind cast members to die and she certainly lived a long and fruitful life.
She was born on July 1st, 1916, in Tokyo. Her mother Lillian was a stage actress who performed in England where the family lived – though their origins were from Normandy.
As a young lady, she learned to have an appreciation for the arts and studied acting, music, singing, elocution, and much more. Her first film was the 1935 film A Midsummer Night’s Dream – based on Shakespeare’s play.
The film was good enough for her to get even more roles.
Her movie stardom, however, came in 1939 when she appeared in a slew of films that launched her to star status. These included Dodge City and of course, Gone with the Wind.
Not only was her role as Melanie rewarding for the audience but it became one of her favorite roles. As with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh – producer David O. Selznick specifically wanted Olivia to play the role which she eventually won.
While her career had its ups and downs, she managed to appear in a series of hit films made in the USA, the United Kingdom, and in Europe. Her final role was in a 1988 TV movie called The Woman He Loved.
After this TV movie, she withdrew from the film industry and spent most of her time in Paris where she had moved to decades earlier and had worked in. She died in Paris on July 26, 2020, at the age of 104!
After Mickey Kuhn’s passing, we can now confirm that every Gone with the Wind cast member has now died.
Mickey Kuhn was born on September 21, 1932, in Waukegan, Illinois.
His family moved to Los Angeles for a better life as they were one of many families who were deeply affected by The Great Depression.
He began his career as a child actor appearing in feature films and his parents decided that he should attend acting school to perfect his craft. They felt that he had a great future in the film industry.
And, boy, were they right! 1939, often considered to be one of the best years for Hollywood was also the year that Mickey Kuhn became a huge star – despite only being 7 years old! He was cast in the film Juarez which launched him to stardom. Later that same year, he played Beau Wilkes in Gone with the Wind and this brought him even more attention.
Years later, when he became an adult he acted in A Streetcar Named Desire in which he was reunited with his Gone with the Wind co-star Vivien Leigh.
However, he took a hiatus from film after A Streetcar Named Desire was released. He joined the U.S. Navy and worked as an electrician for 4 years with them. Upon leaving the Navy, he wanted to join acting again.
He got two small roles in feature films and managed to snag a few roles on episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents – which were all released in 1957.
However, it seemed that his hiatus in the Navy was enough to put an end to his stardom. He continued to get offers after his work on Alfred Hitchcock Presents but wasn’t happy with the offers. He enjoyed the experience of working on television but preferred film and the film offers were drying up. He decided that he would leave show business altogether and do something else with his life.
He worked for American Airlines for much of the remainder of his adult life working in various administrative positions. While he left the film industry behind, he would still occasionally show up to film festivals that showcased his films. He never hesitated to discuss his career and especially his experience working on Gone with the Wind.
He died in a hospice facility on November 20, 2022 in Naples, Florida. He was 90 years old.
Are you a fan of Gone With The Wind? The film remains one of the best films made in Hollywood and is a classic of not just American cinema – but world cinema. It’s truly sad that every Gone With the Wind Cast member has now died.
Now, here’s what we’d like to hear from you:
Do you think that the cast of this great film are still appreciated today?
Or do today’s audiences not enjoy or care for stars from yesteryear and only care about the contemporary stars?