When Rolling Stone sings about can’t get enough ‘satisfaction’, perhaps the British actress Vivian Leigh is in their mind. Because if the rumors are true, Leigh is a rampant nympho back in the day that she sleeps with anyone.
Leigh passes away in 1967 at the age of 53. Before her life ends, she establishes herself as one of the most prolific actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She wins the Academy Award for Best Actress twice. First for her career-defining performance as Scarlett O’Hara in 1939s Gone with the Wind. Then again for her role as Blanche DuBois in 1951s, A Streetcar Named Desire.
Leigh additionally won a Tony for her performance in the Broadway musical Tovarich in 1963. In 1999, the prestigious American Film Institute is their 16th greatest female star of the classic era of Hollywood cinema.
Leigh admires her beauty, but she fears that her physical prevent her from being serious in the acting community. She is famous for sleeping around and being able to bed just about anyone that she set her sights on. Leigh associates with her second husband, Laurence Olivier, whom she wed from 1940 to 1960.
Leigh also had a pretty bad reputation for being hard to work with. For most of her adulting, she suffers from bipolar disorder, resulting in erratic actions when she’s in a manic state. Arguably, this could have contributed to some of her sexual promiscuity as well. Either way, she is a star that’s hard to pin down just how many partners she had throughout her life.
Join FactsVerse as we take a closer look at how Vivien Leigh is incapable of finding satisfaction in her love life – and how this leads to her sleeping with just about anyone in an attempt to scratch that itch.
Vivien Leigh: The Nymphomaniac
One of the primary reasons why Gone With The Wind resonates so much with both critics. Audiences alike are the fact that the film’s leads are perfect for their respective roles. The producer of the film, David O. Selznick, considers dozens of women for the role of Scarlett O’Hara before settling on the virtually unknown Brit, Vivien Leigh.
Teaming up with her ever-so-handsome leading male co-stars, Clark Cable and Leslie Howard. The lovely Olivia de Haviland, Leigh, and company manage to achieve a level of celebrity that few stars can achieve.
While their lives and careers seem like out of a fairy tale to outsiders, off-screen their personal stories are perfect. Scandals and dark secrets plague the stars of Gone With The Wind, and Leigh, in particular, with so much controversy.
In 1932, while she’s working as a new actress in England, Vivien marries a barrister, Herbert Leigh Holman. The man was 13 years her senior when she walked down the aisle with him at 19. A year later, Leigh gave birth to a daughter named Suzanne.
Married life wasn’t something that Vivien really enjoyed at the time. She was a rising star and just starting to figure out what she really wanted to do with her life. So, in 1936 she started having an affair with her fellow-married actor, Laurence Olivier.
Their romance got its start when Leigh attended one of Olivier’s stage performances. Afterward, she went backstage and visited him in his dressing room to confess her adoration. She flirts with Olivier and ends up kissing his neck as he escapes the room to avoid her. But Olivier isn’t able to resist her youthful beauty, and like that, a passionate – and scandalous – love affair begins.
Leigh was still married to her first husband, and her and Oliver’s affair was still going strong when David O. Selznick offered her the much sought-after role of Scarlett O’ Hara in his new film. She promptly accepted the role, and Oliver would often show up on set to visit her.
Of all the cast members of Gone With The Wind, Leigh had to bear the biggest responsibility. She spends 120 days filming the movie while her co-star Clark Gable only needs a little more than 70.
Frequently she would spend 18 plus hours on the set, and whenever she would have the rare weekend off, she and her lover, Laurence Olivier, would enjoy their time together secluded away in hotel rooms. They would never leave their room and would live entirely off of room service while making lots and lots of passionate love before Leigh had to return to the Gone with the Wind set.
In 1940, both Leigh and Olivier divorced their respective spouses. Later that summer, they got married to each other. But even though they clearly had a strong connection at first, Olivier wasn’t able to keep his wife happy and satisfied.
Soon enough, she was seeing other men behind his back. Laurence would even admit later that satisfying her had become a burden. Leigh would continue to attempt to satisfy her sexual desires by sleeping with countless other lovers, notably including the renowned actor Peter Finch who was a close friend to Olivier.
As we mentioned at the outset of this video, many experts believe that Vivien Leigh was bipolar. She would continue with her promiscuous ways right up until her death in 1967. Her list of lovers was just about as long as her equally insatiable Gone with the Wind co-star, Clark Gable.
After her death, Peter Finch would say that sex Leigh was a lot like a drug – a stimulant as strong and addictive as anything else. He also referred to her inability to find satisfaction as a ‘sickness’.
In addition to Finch, it’s known that Vivien frequently saw English actor John Buckmaster. He and Leigh spent hours together while he taught her yoga, but rumor has it, his teaching methods got very hands-on.
Leigh’s Nervous Breakdown
In 1953, Leigh and Peter Finch traveled to Ceylon, Sri Lanka to film Elephant Walk. Not long after filming had wrapped, Leigh experienced a nervous breakdown, and Paramount, the production company making the film, had her replaced with Elizabeth Taylor.
Olivier sent for Leigh and had her come back home to Britain. While there, in-between moments of being totally incoherent, Leigh admitted to Olivier that she was in love with Finch and had been engaging in an affair with him for quite some time.
Over the next few months, Leigh slowly managed to recover from her breakdown, but as a result of everything that had just transpired, Olivier’s friends had learned of Leigh’s troubles.
Actor David Niven described Leigh as having been ‘quite mad’, while another one of Olivier’s friends, Noel Coward, noted that things had been going from bad to worse with Leigh since 1948, the year that she started a romantic relationship with Finch.
Even though Leigh would recover from her breakdown, her overall mental health would continue to decline until her death. As her mental illness progressed, her relationship with Finch steadily deteriorated.
In 1953, Leigh had recovered enough from her breakdown to perform alongside Olivier in a production of The Sleeping Prince. Two years later, they performed together for a season at Stratford-upon-Avon, in which which they had roles in Shakespearean plays like Macbeth, Titus Andronicus, and Twelfth Night.
For the next several years, Leigh would continue working, focusing primarily on stage performances while remaining married to Olivier, although their relationship at this point was anything but romantic. In 1956, Leigh suffered a miscarriage and entered into a months-long bout of depression.
In 1958, Leigh began dating actor Jack Merivale who was aware of her struggles but assured Laurence that he would take good care of her. Two years later, Leigh and Olivier officially divorced. Quickly, Olivier married actress Joan Plowright.
Just as he said he would, Merivale took care of Leigh and proved to be a stabilizing force in her life. But even though he loved and cared for her deeply, it’s suspected that Leigh was seeing other men behind his back as well. She once even confided in a friend that she would have rather lived a short life with Olivier than a long life with him.
Vivien Leigh’s Death
Throughout her life, Vivien Leigh had reoccurring bouts of tuberculosis. In 1967, while rehearsing for a performance in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, she experienced a rather severe resurfacing of the disease. For the next several weeks, she rested and appeared to recover.
On the evening of July 7, 1967, however, Merivale left her at their apartment to perform a play, and when he returned home, he discovered her body lying on the floor. It appeared as if she had been trying to walk to the bathroom when she collapsed and suffocated from the fluid that had filled her lungs.
Merivale then contacted Leigh’s family and got a hold of Olivier who was receiving cancer treatment at a nearby hospital. Laurence was overcome with grief as he immediately bee-lined to Leigh’s apartment to find that Merivale had Leigh’s body on the bed.
Before her body could be removed, Olivier stayed with Merivale by the now-departed Leigh’s side.
Leigh received a Catholic funeral at St. Mary’s Church in London. She was then cremated and her ashes were scattered on a lake at her summer home in Blackboys, East Sussex, England.
Considering one of the greatest actresses of her day – and certainly, one of the most beautiful, but Vivien Leigh lived a troubled life. She struggled to find love and form healthy relationships while battling both physical and mental illness.
Were you surprised to learn that Leigh was considered to be a nymphomaniac? And do you think her bipolar disorder contributed to her notorious promiscuity? Let us know in the comments.
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