The death of Elizabeth Taylor means that yet another of the old-time golden era Hollywood legends is gone. But while some people have claimed that Taylor was the last of her species, there are actually a number of golden era legends still with us.
Olivia de Havilland (aged 94)
The British star made her name opposite Errol Flynn in 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, and played Melanie Wilkes in Gone With the Wind the following year. De Haviland won an Oscar for the latter, but then made Hollywood history when she fought to be freed from her studio contract. The resulting De Havilland Law meant that contracts could only be for a maximum of seven years, and revolutionised the Hollywood studio system. She won further Oscars for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). She now lives in Paris.
Joan Fontaine (aged 93)
The sister of de Havilland, Joan Fontaine made her name when she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 thriller Rebecca. Subsequent notable roles included Suspicion (1941), for which she won an Oscar, Jane Eyre (1944) and Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948). She lives in California today, but many people are more interested in the fact that she and de Havilland apparently no longer speak, a feud having erupted between them in the 1940’s, although some people suggest that this feud is not actually as great as has been suggested and that the two still get along quite well.
Doris Day (aged 88)
One of the most successful film stars of all time (in terms of box office receipts), Doris Day hit the big time in 1953 with Calamity Jane. She then became one of America’s most popular musical performers, starring in hits such as The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Pillow Talk (1959, pairing her with Rock Hudson for the first time) and Move Over, Darling (1963). She is now retired and rarely, if ever, talks about her film career.
Kirk Douglas (aged 94)
One of the biggest Hollywood stars of all time, Douglas has starred in hits including Champion (1949), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Kubick’s Paths of Glory (1957) and the epic Spartacus (1960), with the latter arguably being his most famous role. He hit the headlines in 2011 when he made a stirring appearance at the Academy Awards to present the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Bizarre fact: he regularly blogs on his Myspace account. Wow. Myspace. How modern and yet, at the same time, how old-fashioned.
Mickey Rooney (aged 90)
Having become a teen sensation in the 1930’s as Andy Hardy, co-starring with Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney has had one of Hollywood’s longest ever careers. Active in film, on television and on stage, Rooney continues to entertain to this day. More recently, however, he appeared before a congressional panel to give personal testimony about the horrors of elder abuse, claiming to have been a victim himself.