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I have always loved and admired the spirit of Vivien Leigh. These days I find too many articles on her mental illness and her private life – than on her acting abilities, her presence on stage, her cats or her hobbies like knitting.

So it was such a pleasure to come across Kendra Bean’s article “Vivien Leigh: A Star in Wartime.

She says, “One of my favourite items on display in Starring Vivien Leigh: A Centenary Celebration is the eye-catching issue of LOOK magazine from 17 December 1940. Earl Theisen’s striking cover photograph of Leigh posing stoically against a loud red, white, and blue background whilst knitting for Bundles for Britain highlights one of several interesting ways the actress used her fame to contribute to the British war effort.”

Vivien1

Another tantalizing glimpse is provided when Ms Bean says,

“She also appeared at Red Cross charity events in New York where she and Olivier ended an unsuccessful production of Romeo and Juliet, and knitted clothing for British soldiers as part of the Bundles for Britain initiative headed by Natalie Wales Latham.”

Olivier Leigh

Vivien3“Leigh’s first unofficial wartime assignment was the 1940 tearjerker Waterloo Bridge, for which she was loaned to Hollywood’s most powerful studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.”

And Vivien Leigh doesn’t seem to have stopped knitting for her men in war even while on the sets of Waterloo Bridge. In these pictures, you can see how her needles clicked non-stop in between takes.

Vivien2

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