A painting by Winston Churchill….
Gifted to Vivien Leigh, the lead in his favorite film, That Hamilton Woman, in 1951, the year A Streetcar Named Desire was released…
…featuring the performance of which she later wrote, Blanche “is a tragic figure and I understand her. But, playing her tipped me into madness.”
I’ve always wondered if she tipped Brando as well. It couldn’t have been easy for the Method actor to watch someone demonstrate a level of commitment neither he nor anyone could match by breaking down mentally in front of him (and a movie camera)…because the part demanded it.
In any case, she was sent home from her next film set in a strait jacket.
She kept Churchill’s painting by her bed for the rest of her life, so it would be the first thing she saw when she woke up.
She only made 53, but I’m inclined to believe the painting may have added a year or two.
The painting is being auctioned off by her grandchildren in September. One more thing I wish I hadn’t lived to see….
Though I’d probably feel different if I had the money to buy it!