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You are now in the poetry cafe, say hi to our two hostesses: Ms. Bien Nho and Ms. Hu Vo


Miss Bien Nho as Miss Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley
on the evening of Wednesday November 5th, 1913
in her parents home in Darjeeling, India.
At the age of 15, she went to Paris to spend
a term at a finishing school in Auteuil.
She was the youngest student in the school,
however she was already moving
from the awkward youth phase
into a charming, dark haired beauty
that would later bring much fame.
During this time, she developed an interest
in the visual arts and continued to study languages
- notably French and German.


Miss Hu Vo as Miss Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth is one of the most captivating,
talented and glamorous actresses the world has ever seen.
She was not only a great beauty but
she had a combination of strength and sensitivity
that set her apart from all the other actresses of her time.
From Rita's screen persona, it's hard to believe
that she was actually a very shy woman
with great insecurities in real life.
She was a much better actress than she was ever given credit for.
Afterall, she did make the world believe in the
"Rita Hayworth" image she brought to life.
She brightened up America during World War II
with her dancing in musicals like Cover Girl and
You Were Never Lovelier and displayed her great acting talents
in films like The Loves of Carmen and Miss Sadie Thompson.
She starred in movies for nearly four decades and turned herself
into one of the greatest Hollywood legends of all time.


In January of 1932 Vivien met Leigh Holman
while staying at her aunt's in Teignmouth, England.
He was a man 13 years her senior, but possessed
a charm and intelligence Vivien found captivating.
The wedding between Leigh and Vivien took place
on December 20th 1932, at St. James's Cathedral.
Her destiny would not remain domestic for long however,
she had just heard of the chance for a small part
in a new film entitled Things are Looking Up.
The year was 1934. On August 21st,
Vivien arrived at Lime Grove Studios to begin work on
her first film, Things are Looking Up.
Work progressed slowly and when the film was finished,
her one line of dialogue was cut from an already small role.
In September, Vivien went to see a play called Theatre Royal
starring a popular new stage actor, Laurence Olivier.
She returned several times to see him act,
intrigued by his good looks and stage presence.
She even said to a girlfriend, "that's the man I'm going to marry",
knowing quite well that both she and
her new matinee idol were already married.


Rita began her career at Columbia Pictures with the movie
Criminals of the Air. By the time it was released
she was known as "Rita Hayworth".
During this early time at
Columbia she was rushed into one
"B" picture after another,
often with the same co-stars,
her most frequent being Charles Quigley.
Films such as Girls Can Play, Who Killed Gail Preston and
Convicted were some of these "quickie"
productions in which she starred.
Then in late 1938, director Howard Hawks
was looking for someone to cast as Judy MacPherson
in his upcoming film starring Cary Grant and
the reigning queen of Columbia Pictures, Jean Arthur.
The movie was Only Angels Have Wings and
was a major box office hit and Rita's best film to date.
It gave a huge boost to her career.
Rita got the starmaking role of the temptress in
Blood and Sand. The picture, her first in Technicolor,
co-starred her with Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell
and Anthony Quinn.
The film's success made Rita Hayworth
Hollywood's hottest new star.


The remainder of 1935 was slow,
and she performed in a few more plays of less importance.
One thing of note did occur however -
she was introduced to her matinee idol, Laurence Olivier,
at the trendy Savoy Grill in London.
In August 1936, he was asked to co-star
in what would be Vivien's first film for
Alexander Korda, Fire Over England.
Olivier played a sailor sent to Spain
on an important mission for the Queen.
Vivien played Cynthia,
the Queen's lady-in-waiting, and his new found love.
This film gave the two rising stars time
to spend with each other on screen and off,
and their relationship grew stronger.
Vivien was loaned to MGM to make A Yank at Oxford
to increase her American exposure -
a move that would benefit both Alexander Korda's role
as her producer and Vivien's career, especially if
she was to be considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara.
She worked on A Yank at Oxford during the autumn of 1937
with her former convent schoolmate, and now actress, Maureen O'Sullivan,while Olivier shot
The Divorce of Lady X with Merle Oberon.
In 1938, Laurence Olivier was asked to play
the part of Heathcliff opposite Merle Oberon
in a Hollywood production of Wuthering Heights.
Accepting this offer, he left England on
November 5th 1938- Vivien's 25th birthday.
Wanting to be with him as soon as possible,
she abandoned her winter plan of performing in
A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Old Vic,
and left heading towards California on
Saturday November 27th for a two week trip .
Margaret Mitchell's book, Gone With the Wind
had sold 326,000 copies during the first six weeks
of publication and won The Pulitzer Prize of 1937.
Taking four years to write, it has sold millions more copies
in the decades that followed, and started
a world wide phenomenon.
Still a recent best-seller in 1938,
Vivien re-read the book on her journey towards
Hollywood to visit Laurence Olivier.
After a remarkably well timed introduction
to David O. Selznick by her Hollywood agent
on December 10th,the first night of location shooting,
Vivien did screen tests for her dream role.
Both Selznick, and the film's director George Cukor,
were impressed by her talent and beauty,
and she was signed for the coveted role of Scarlett O'Hara.
Her performance carried the film and
helped create the success and popularity that would never cease,even today, six decades later.
After doing some retakes for GWTW,
Vivien next was given the lead role in MGM's
Waterloo Bridgeas part of her new Hollywood contract,
although she would have preferred
working on Pride and Prejudice.
Olivier had the option to work with her as the leading man
in Waterloo Bridge or take the lead in Pride and Prejudice.
Vivien would work on either film,
as long as she could work with Olivier.
Due to her contract however, she ended up
signing on to Waterloo Bridge without him.


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On February 29th,1940, the annual Academy Awards
were held in the Ambassador Hotel in Hollywood.
Vivien arrived with Olivier and at 1 am,
her name was announced for best actress.
Gone With the Wind was released two months later
in her home country - and ended up running
consecutively for 4 years in London.
In May, Waterloo Bridge was released in America to
favorable reviews and critics were surprised to see
a different side of the actress, not just another variation on Scarlett.
Vivien followed Waterloo Bridge with Romeo and Juliet
on stage in New York with Olivier directing and co-starring.
After a brief summer holiday, Vivien returned to Hollywood
and began preparing for her new role as Lady Hamilton, a film
that was thought as a suitable propaganda vehicle for US-Britain.
In September, the new "Mr and Mrs Olivier" began
working together on the set of That Hamilton Woman.
It was difficult to receive a production code of approval
with a story that involved a man living in sin with another man's wife,
but after several changes in the script, That Hamilton Woman
(Lady Hamilton) was released in America in July 1941.
Vivien's name appears above Olivier's on the opening titles,
notably because of her success in Gone With the Wind.
This unfortunately would be the last time the Olivier's made a film together.
The Skin of Our Teeth opened in May of 1945
to outstanding reviews and high acclaim for Vivien's portrayal of Sabina.
It was considered her finest role on stage, and her contemporaries
acknowledged her as a gifted actress on stage and screen.
The new year arrived, and Vivien began work on
 Anna Karenina at Shepperton Studios, a return
to cinema after 2 years, play a role she very much desired.
She knew that her performance would be compared to
 Greta Garbo's earlier infamous role, so she not only played
the character differently, but with her own personal approach to the book;
 causing some critics to praise her skill,
while others said she was a skillful actor presenting a completely
unsentimental and un-true character.
Vivien began work on yet another play,
 this time by a popular new playwright, Tennessee Williams,
called A Streetcar Named Desire. For many,
it is Vivien's most powerful and moving performance,
realistically showing the disturbing journey of
a woman's disintegration into madness.
In the summer of 1950, Vivien left England to return
to Hollywood after nearly a decade absence,
and began work on the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Vivien purposely made her self look older
and unflattering for the film - using heavy makeup, wigs,
and drastic lighting which would hide her still beautiful features.
Audiences in the autumn of 1951 were stunned to see
such a different person, barely recognizing the actress
that played Scarlett so exquisitely a decade earlier.
The resulting film in 1951 was still powerful,
perhaps Vivien's finest achievement, winning her
a second best actress Oscar, as well as best actress awards
from the New York critics  .
Vivien agreed to play the lead in the film
Elephant Walk opposite Peter Finch.
Vivien's health deteriorated rapidly and
her part in Elephant Walk was taken over by Elizabeth Taylor
The film itself was not commercially successful once released.
After a 5 years absence from the screen, Vivien
began work on a new film written by Tennessee Williams
called "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone."
Her co-star was a very youthful Warren Beatty,
and Vivien wore a graying light blonde wig for her role.
Reviews of the film were positive, and Vivien had returned
to the screen in a new and impressive light.
In June 1964, she returned to Hollywood to make what
would be her final film: " Ship of Fools " .


So with her new status as a "star"
came a new contract, new dressing room
and a starring role opposite Fred Astaire in
You'll Never Get Rich. She was becoming,
as Hollywood called her, "The Love Goddess".
She had begun her reign as the queen of Columbia Pictures.
Nevertheless, for her next two films she was again
loaned to Fox. First to replace the overworked Betty Grable
in My Gal Sal, then to be one of the stars in
the all-star cast movie, Tales of Manhattan.
It was in connection with the latter of the two
that on July 24, 1942 Rita immortalized her hand
and footprints in cement in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Then it was back to Columbia where she was reunited with
Fred Astaire for the classic musical, You Were Never Lovelier.
Also by this time The United States had entered
World War II and the GI's at home and abroad had made
Rita one of their favorite pin-up girls.
On May 27, 1943 shooting began on Rita's next film, Cover Girl.
The next year Rita was back at work,
in September 1945 production began on the movie
that has become synonymous with Rita Hayworth, Gilda.
Rita's rendition of "Put the Blame on Mame" in the film
caused a problem with the censors who called Rita's dance a "striptease".
Actually, all she takes off during the dance is one glove.
Her performance in Gilda made such an impact that,
depending on which sources you read, either the name "Gilda",
or Rita's picture was put on the side of the atomic bomb
that was tested on Bikini Atoll on July 1, 1946.
Gilda represents the indelible image of Rita Hayworth
that the public continues to have today. 
Her next picture was Down To Earth, a fantasy musical
which showcased a never more beautiful Rita as Terpsichore,
the goddess of song and dance. Rita was at the height of her fame
and it was exactly how the public wanted to see her,
so of course it was a box-office smash.
Next she starred in the movie Orson Welles had produced,
written, directed and co-starred with her in, The Lady from Shanghai.


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Not released until 1948, the film did not
do so well at the box office. However, nowadays,
it's considered a classic and a film which most
Hayworth fans these days, including myself, love.
Not surprisingly, it is also said to have been
one of Rita's favorites.
By this time Rita had discussed a new
contract with Harry Cohn
in which she would receive a portion of the profits
any of her future films made. Through the new contract
she also formed her own production company, Beckworth
(a combination of her daughter's name and
her own last name) and her next film,
The Loves of Carmen was produced by it.
In 1951, she was back at Columbia Pictures, filming
"Affair In Trinidad" . She was every bit "The Love Goddess" on the screen.
It became apparent that during Rita's absence from films,
she hadn't lost any of her appeal to the movie-going public
when her first movie in four years became
a bigger box office hit than Gilda. The film co-starred Rita
for the fourth time in her career with her favorite
leading man, Glenn Ford. Her next movie was
one of her least favorite,
Salome, in which she played the biblical
siren of the film's title.
It co-starred her with Stewart Granger
and Charles Laughton.
Rita did not make any more movies
for the next couple of years
after her next film "Miss Sadie Thompson."
In 1956, she went back to work on her next film,
"Fire Down Below" with Jack Lemmon
and Robert Mitchum.
Rita had one more film to make for Columbia Pictures
to fulfill her contractual obligations with the studio.
The picture was Pal Joey. In it, they starred her opposite
Frank Sinatra and the woman Columbia was planning
to use as the replacement as Hollywood's next "love goddess"  Kim Novak. If you watch the movie
you'll see that at thirty-eight
Rita still looks and dances great. She sparkles in the film,
especially in her
"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" number.
Nevertheless, Pal Joey turned out to be Rita's last musical.