The other day I wrote about my love for old black and white classic films plus a particular actress named Joan Fontaine. Well, Joan Fontaine had an equally famous sister and accomplished actress named Olivia de havilland. When I started at a young age corresponding with Ms. Joan Fontaine I didn't know that her real life sister was Mrs. de Havilland until I read about it in a movie magazine. It saddened me that it appeared that they had a strained relationship for quite awhile. I don't know if it was professional jealousy or something more personal but it wasn't really any of my business. I enjoyed watching both actresses in many classic and some not so classic black and white films. Mrs. de Havilland gained much of her fame from her role in the film, "Gone With The Wind" but she won best actress Oscars for her roles in, "To Each His Own" and "The Heiress." Since I wrote a few times to Ms. Fontaine and asked for an autograph, I decided I'd also write Mrs. de Havilland and request an autograph picture. I wrote to Mrs. de Havilland and sent a self addressed stamped envelope with a photo to be signed and waited for a reply. I wasn't sure if I would be successful because Mrs. de Havilland made her home in Paris, France. Well, months went by and I was beginning to think I wouldn't have any luck obtaining an autograph picture. To my surprise I received my self addressed stamped envelope unopened with a letter attached from Mrs. de Havilland. It was a short type written letter that read:
" Paris, France
It is with great regret that I return to you,
unopened, your envelope.
During a long interval it has been safely
stored in a room set aside for this special
purpose - as family illnesses, requiring all
my time and care, prevented my giving to it the attention it deserved.
Now another primary obligation keeps me from responding to my mail as I would like to do: the writing of my autobiography which, after so many sad interruptions, I am now able to resume.
I know you will understand and that you will wish me well in the demanding task which I have undertaken.
With every good wish,
Olivia de Havilland"
At first I can say that I was disappointed but I was also young and really didn't understand what a gracious thing Mrs. de Havilland had done for me. Sure, I didn't get an autograph picture but I did receive something better. A kind letter explaining to me, as to why she didn't have the time to sign an autograph photo. To think she took the time out of her day to explain to some teenager in The United States why a response took so long. She earned a great deal of respect from me and still does. Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland will always hold a special place in my heart.
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