A new biography of British movie star Viven Leigh alleges she was an adulterous bisexual with a fondness for “rough trade”.
According to author Darwin Porter’s book, Damn You, Scarlett O’ Hara, Leigh’s marriage to fellow star Laurence Olivier was a smokescreen, and the couple were repeatedly unfaithful to each other within weeks of their first becoming lovers in 1937.
The book, co-authored by Roy Moseley, a former assistant to Olivier, reveals that unpublished memoirs suggest Leigh had at least three lesbian affairs, including one with fellow British actress Isabel Jeans.
In addition, there are also reports in the book that the Oscar-winning Gone with the Wind star was also fond of “rough trade” and that in the 1940s, she would travel with gay director George Cukor to a male brothel in downtown Los Angeles known as Sammy’s, which was disguised as a petrol station.
A publishing source reportedly said: “She depended on the professional discretion of men not to boast they had just serviced Scarlett O’Hara”. It is also claimed that Leigh was apparently kicked out of an Italian hotel for bringing back “street boys”.
Leigh, who was born in India in 1913, married Olivier in 1940. The marriage lasted for twenty years. Afflicted by mental illness throughout her life, she died in 1967 of tuberculosis, aged 53.