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Kendra Bean, Vivien Leigh Author @ The SSO on 10/18 & 10/21

Posted: October 11th, 2013, 8:00 pm
by moira finnie
The Silver Screen Oasis will be welcoming Kendra Bean, the author of the forthcoming book, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait (Running Press) on Friday, Oct. 18th and Monday, Oct. 21st for a discussion of this new biography of the actress whose talent blazed on film for thirty years.


A willful Southern Belle. A Lovelorn Middle-Aged woman seeking escape. A kittenish Queen of Ancient Egypt. A Russian Adulteress losing hope. A Coquette in a Bicycle Shop. A Faded Beauty with a sordid past. A Great Beauty making her own luck during the Napoleonic era. A Street Performer with a gamine charm. A Fashion Designer playing a dangerous game of espionage. An Elizabethan Lady with a fervent heart.

These are a few of the memorable female archetypes brought to unique life by Vivien Leigh on screen. The toll of attempting these artistic portrayals on the actress? A devotion to perfectionism on screen and stage as well as off, enormous, sometimes invasive acclaim, disdain from some of the elite, a turbulent life with her beloved partners, an altered psychological well-being, a need to guard her equilibrium, and, one hopes, some professional satisfaction, despite everything. It was a crowded fifty-six years on earth for this remarkable woman.


While Vivien Leigh is best remembered for the unparalleled worldwide success of Gone With the Wind (1939), her life beyond the lights of fame was equally dramatic. As a film historian and writer with an affinity for her subject, Kendra Bean has created a detailed picture of this complex woman's life, struggles, and triumphs. Significantly, she is the first Leigh biographer who has had access to the private records and transcripts found in the Laurence Olivier Archives.

Many of us familiar with, the website that the author has developed since 2007, have long been intrigued by the care with which she has gathered detailed material about the intertwined lives of "the golden couple" who rose to prominence between the wars. Their romance, later marriage, collaboration and eventual separation became public knowledge as they built a life of glamour, hard work, and sometimes deep sorrow together. Many of us might simply compile facts, images and anecdotes chronicling the ephemera of fame, yet Ms. Bean has carefully placed these private and professional lives in the context of the period's artistic spirit and historical events, as well as attempting to understand their personal feelings.

With the publication of this book in October, Kendra Bean's research and immersion in the life and times of this particularly touching and original actress has yielded an account of Vivien Leigh that is close to "holding a moonbeam in your hand" for the reader. Enhanced by numerous, rarely seen pictures of the intelligent, beautiful and fragile actress (including several by the noted, highly imaginative photographer Angus McBean), this promises to be a particularly welcome addition to bookshelves--and it is a pleasure to welcome Kendra as another of our distinguished guests at the SSO.

Please consider joining us here for this Q & A with the author about this figure. You would be most welcome. Below are links to various sites where more about this book, its subject, and the author can be reviewed:

Kendra's personal website:

Twitter feed:

The TCM Book Corner for October, 2013:

Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait

Kendra Bean's Website devoted to Vivien Leigh & Laurence Olivier:

An Interview with Kendra Bean on the Movie Morlocks for TCM:

A Talk with Kendra Bean, Author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Greg Ferrara

More online news about this book:

Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait Online

Re: Kendra Bean, Vivien Leigh Author @ The SSO on 10/18 & 10/21

Posted: October 15th, 2013, 11:56 am
by moira finnie
The upcoming centennial observation of Vivien Leigh's birth has prompted many to notice this beautiful biography of the actress. I received a copy of this book yesterday morning. I have not seen as beautifully packaged a film biography in some time. From the quality of the writing, the superb photographs and the binding, this is clearly something that the author and the publisher (Running Press, a division of Perseus Books) created with enormous care.

Here's an article by Susan King of The Los Angeles Times about Leigh and this book. Please click on the image to view the entire article:


Re: Kendra Bean, Vivien Leigh Author @ The SSO on 10/18 & 10/21

Posted: October 16th, 2013, 1:27 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I just love Vivien, she is my favourite, right down to me wanting to give Libby Vivien as a middle name (unfortunately, Chris's uncle's mad 2nd wife also had that name and it would have upset his Grandma so it was scotched as an idea). I've always loved her, from first watching her as Scarlett, she's also Anna Karenina to a tee, Emma Hamilton, Blanche Dubois, the ballet dancer in Waterloo Bridge right up to her later performances, she was a complete natural before the camera. No other actess has delivered as many of my favourite performances. I look forward to joining this discussion.

Re: Kendra Bean, Vivien Leigh Author @ The SSO on 10/18 & 10/21

Posted: October 16th, 2013, 2:23 pm
by moira finnie
It would be wonderful to have you participate, Alison.

Re: Kendra Bean, Vivien Leigh Author @ The SSO on 10/18 & 10/21

Posted: October 20th, 2013, 9:21 am
by charliechaplinfan
I went to town Moira and it's possible I'll think of more. Not that I want to hog the thread of course :wink: