“Gone With the Wind” star VIVIEN LEIGH was a sex-hungry, man-eating psycho who cruelly flaunted her affairs in the face of her husband, superstar actor Laurence Olivier.
That’s the bombshell dropped by “Ryan’s Daughter” actress Sarah Miles, who also admits she had a huge crush on Olivier as a girl and later carried on a torrid 20-year on-and-off affair with the British star.
“Vivien would get her kicks by making sure she would time her ‘amours’ to coincide with Larry returning to their house,” says Miles. At the same time, she was insanely jealous of Olivier’s acting successes and her antics “became unimaginable when Larry began having hit after hit,” adds Miles.
“She wanted to be Larry.” She was also emotionally shaky and “always threatening to kill herself,” Miles says Olivier told her.
Legendary for her roles as Scarlett O’Hara in “Wind” and Blanche Dubois in "A Streetcar Named Desire", Leigh battled bipolar disorder most of her life. She had a passionate and stormy 20- year marriage to Olivier that ended in 1960. She tragically died at age 53 of tuberculosis in 1967.
Sarah says she got a chance to see Vivien’s seething jealousy and sexual appetite for young men up close in 1963 when she landed a bit part in "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" starring Leigh, then 48, and 24-year-old Tinsel Town hunk Warren Beatty.
When womanizing Beatty spied 20-year-old Sarah in her sex kitten leather costume, he began firting with her.
Suddenly Sarah found Vivien’s “vixen eyes glued to either Warren or me all day. it was obvious to me they were having an affair,” she recalls. “I found Vivien to be a distinctly brittle, dark and jealous woman.” Miles, now 71, says Olivier fnally admitted Leigh was a nut job in 1963, when she was in a play he was directing in London’s old Vic theatre.
One morning, Sarah was looking exhausted and confessed to Olivier she was having to deal with her roommate, also an actress, who was “a manic-depressive, schizophrenic nymphomaniac” and kept her up with mobs of men parading through their apartment.
“ ‘Well, well, what a coincidence,’” Olivier said and told her, “Vivien had been diagnosed with exactly the same three conditions. “The more we compared notes, the closer we became for we both shared the utter despair, the unimaginable frustration and hopelessness of wrestling with such pitiable creatures.”