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New biography alleges Vivien Leigh was an ‘adulterous bisexual’

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  1. “Adulterous”? Who uses language like that now? So she wasn’t sexually exclusive – neither was her husband, yet no-one describes Olivier as an ‘adulterous bisexual’ (though apparently they could with as much justification).

  2. Conveniently she is dead so cannot comment on this.

    She was also bipolar at a time when there was no treatment for that condition.

  3. Wow. A big-time movie star turns out to have had lots of varied jollies. I am so astonished.
    Vivien Leigh was a brilliant and luminously beautiful actress with tragic mental problems. She was one of the truly great British actresses of the last century.
    RIP.

  4. Well said, Rehan. I wonder, too, if the book makes any mention of the fact that her mother’s ethnicity is “unknown,” and that perhaps Leigh was of mixed-race origin.

  5. “Adulterous” is a perfectly good word. Adultery is “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse”. It does not imply a moral judgement. So, yes, Vivien Leigh was an adulterous bisexual. Nowt wrong with a bit of adultery.

  6. But it does rather suggest a degree of judgment when it’s used of women and not men, wouldn’t you say? And strangely it seems to be used of women more than men …

  7. Thanks for that, noite – until now I had no idea that there was the suggestion of anything as interesting as a mixed-race background to Vivien Leigh. Who knows? Certainly a lot of hybrids, so to speak, turned out notably attractive, or at least young-looking: Merle Overon, Engelbert Humperdinck, Diana Quick, Cliff Richard … Cliff Richard? OK, I think I should stop there.

  8. @Rehan
    Perhaps; but, you see, I’m a pedant and proud of it, and as a pedant I shall always stick up for the right to say what is strictly accurate.

  9. the word “adulterous” does have a moral implication if you ask me, so it is judgmental.

    an ‘open-marriage’ would describe the Olivier-Leigh relationship more objectively.

  10. @ JohnnyH: as a fellow-pedant I quite understand, and only hope you use the word as frequently of men. (Just as a matter of interest, would you refer to Cliff Richard or Pushkin or, for that matter, Vivien Leigh as mixed-race as well?)

  11. Jess Conrad 24 Aug 2010, 9:45am

    Oh! People Like To Make Money Out Of Sex And This Biography Is No Different. Olivier Had A Ten Year Sexual Relationship With Danny Kay…Don’t Forget The Casting Couch In The Holliwood Film Mogul’s Studio’s. Cary Grant Had Sexual Relations With Randolph Scott, (Both Married In Time.) Prince Edward On Board A Posh Yacht Instructed That Nobody Come Below Because HE Was Entertaining Down There And Not A Woman I might Add! Yes, There’s Money To Be Made Out Of Sex!

  12. This is hardly news, is it? There have been rumours about her and dear Larry for years. Wasn’t she caught in the shrubs in Eaton Square with a plumber or trucker, or something? And didn’t she catch Larry and Marlon Brando up to no good in the swiiming pool one day?

    Hollywood in the 50s sounded a riot. And as for Rock Hudson’s “beauties parties”, corrrrrr

  13. @Rehan
    Well, I don’t know anything about whether these people are mixed race. I used to record my own ethnicity as “Mixed White-Asian”, on the ground that my mother was (white) English and my father was (dusky) Persian. But someone then told me that this wasn’t strictly mixed race, since the Persians, i.e. Iranians, are of the same Indo-European stock as the white Europeans, which makes me wholly Caucasian. So now I’m not sure (though saying you are of mixed ethnicity makes you sound so much more interesting).

    I do take your point about “adulterous”. Although it isn’t defined in such a way as to contain a moral judgement, it does seem to conjure an image of people sneaking about behind their spouse’s backs, etc. Perhaps jonpol’s suggestion of “open marriage” is a good one. In fact, “open marriage” goes beyond adultery because it implies an agreement – even if only tacit – that infidelities are to be tolerated. But in the case of Leigh and Olivier, this was very probably the case.

  14. Hi
    In my opinion
    Our first love is for ourselves.
    It is normal for people to be attracted to their own gender.
    Overall one needs to think about whether or not it is right to pretend to be hetersexual.
    Take note of these words
    Good Luck

  15. Bipolar disorder can make make people very sexually disinhibited when their mood is elevated, and behave in ways they would never normally consider if they were well. People are out of control and very vulnerable. I’m a psychiatric nurse, and I’ve seen it many times.
    The worst part is that when people start to come down, they remember (or are reminded by others) what they have been getting up to, and the shame and disbelief are terrible. I wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone. This poor woman had the added problem of being world famous, so must have been very scared of all this coming out.

  16. Why “crap” on someone’s grave when they aren’t there to defend themselves? To sell books?

  17. jckfmsincty 24 Aug 2010, 7:46pm

    Her performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire” is one of the finest ever filmed.

  18. @Jess Conrad
    Beginning every word with a capital letter is disturbing.

  19. Jess Conrad 27 Aug 2010, 10:30am

    Yes Johnny Dear, I LIKE To Disturb!…Don’t You?

  20. Jess Conrad 27 Aug 2010, 10:35am

    Life Is Like A Sewer…It Depends On What You Put Into It As To What You Get Out Of It!

  21. George Broadhead, PTT 2 Sep 2010, 2:06pm

    “It is also claimed that Leigh was apparently kicked out of an Italian hotel for bringing back “street boys”.

    This is fascinating given that in ‘The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone’ (1961)the film based on the a novella by gay playwright Tennessee Williams and in which she co-starred with Warren Beatty, Leigh ends up inviting a street boy (played by Jeremy Spencer) into her palazzo. This film is also notable for its depiction of gay rent and a minor role for the gay actor Ernest Thesiger

  22. George Broadhead, PTT 2 Sep 2010, 2:11pm

    “It is also claimed that Leigh was apparently kicked out of an Italian hotel for bringing back street boys”.

    This is fascinating given that in ‘The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone’ (1961)the film based on the a novella by gay playwright Tennessee Williams in which she co-starred with Warren Beatty, Leigh ends up inviting a street boy (played by Jeremy Spencer) into her palazzo.

    This film is also notable for its depiction of gay rent and a minor role for the gay actor Ernest Thesiger

  23. Jess Conrad 2 Sep 2010, 8:39pm

    George Broadhead, PTT..
    Jeremy Spencer Was Having An Affair With Playright Terrance Rattigan at The Time.

  24. this is VERY old news; I remember reading it about 4 or 5 years ago in a biog about brando.

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