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this day in history 1940

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh marry

Happy as Larry

You might think that there is no star-studded marriage that could top the betrothment of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini but back in black and white days Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh were the world’s golden couple. After spotting Larry perform on stage in 1936, Viv told a friend ‘That’s the man I’m going to marry’. Which would be tricky, as both of them were married to other people at the time. But it seems the fates were listening, as the two potential lovebirds were both cast in the film Fire Over England the following year.

They soon started a torrid affair.Eventually they both moved to Hollywood, with Leigh winning an Oscar for Gone With The Wind and Olivier gaining praise for his performance in Wuthering Heights. While there, their dual divorces were granted and a marriage was hastily arranged on this day in 1940. They went on to star in the films 21 Days Together and That Hamilton Woman, plus a heralded stage production of Romeo and Juliet. They were divorced in 1960, though at the end of his life, Olivier watched a film starring Vivien and tearfully declared "This, this was love”.