Olivia de Havilland
Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland (1916-2020), c. 1945.

The Collection Of Olivia De Havilland – Star Of Hollywood’s Golden Age – Comes To Bonhams

Los Angeles – Bonhams is delighted to present the collection of Olivia de Havilland, the Oscar-winning actress who starred in dozens of movies throughout the 1930s to the 1970s. De Havilland was the last surviving actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age, best known for her role as Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in David O. Selznick’s Civil War epic, Gone with the Wind (1939), believed by many to be the greatest movie ever made. Bonhams will be selling her collection in two sales. Running online from May 13-23, Bonhams Los Angeles will offer memorabilia from Hollywood and mementos from co-stars, directors, and celebrity friends like Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, Stanley Kramer, Errol Flynn, and more. This will be followed by a sale of decorative arts, furniture, and paintings from her Parisian townhouse at Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr in Paris this October. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the American Cathedral in Paris, where de Havilland was a supportive patron for many years. 

Among her 49 feature film roles, de Havilland was nominated four times for an Academy Award and won the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for both To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1950). De Havilland is also remembered for the historic 1943 case against Warner Bros. on the restrictive contracts imposed on their actors. De Havilland won the suit, allowing performers to have creative freedom, which became known as “The de Havilland Decision.” She considered it one of her greatest professional accomplishments. De Havilland was honored in 2008 with a National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush. In 2017, at nearly 101 years of age, she became the oldest person to be appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, an honor bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II. On July 25, 2020, at age 104, Dame Olivia de Havilland died peacefully in Paris.

Gisèle Galante Chulack, de Havilland’s daughter, commented, “My mother was very sentimental and held on to everything, especially the gifts that she received from her co-stars, whom she considered her dear friends. I know she would want her treasured possessions to have a second life in the homes of her countless fans from around the world for whom she had so much respect. This is a wonderful opportunity to own something of my mother and remember her legacy.”

Highlights of the May online sale:

  • An Art Deco watch engraved to Olivia de Havilland from Screen Guide magazine, 1936. Estimate: $3,000 – 5,000.
  • A collection of gifts from Director Stanley Kramer to Olivia de Havilland. Estimate: $2,000 – 3,000.
  • A Bette Davis signed photograph and letter to Olivia de Havilland. Estimate: $400 – 600.
  • Gone with the Wind, 1961 centennial booklet signed to Olivia de Havilland by Vivien Leigh and David O. Selznick. Estimate: $600 – 800.
  • A collection of Christian Dior costume sketches designed for Olivia de Havilland for her appearance at the 1963 Academy Awards, including for the white gown that she wore. Estimate: $2,000 – 3,000.
  • A collection of jewelry gifted to Olivia de Havilland by James Stewart. Estimate $1,500 – 2,000.

The Collection of Olivia de Havilland auction runs online from May 13-23 at Bonhams Los Angeles. Link to catalogue: https://www.bonhams.com/auction/28371/the-collection-of-olivia-de-havilland/

In Paris on October 4Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr’s Collections salewill offer the property from de Havilland’s Parisian townhouse including French and English decorative arts, furniture and paintings, predominantly from the late 18th and 19th centuries.

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