Vivien Leigh Best Actress

In 1917, Ernest Hartley was transferred to Bangalore as an officer in the Indian Cavalry, while Gertrude and Vivian stayed in Ootacamund. At the age of three, young Vivian made her first stage appearance for her mother's amateur theatre group, reciting "Little Bo Peep". Gertrude Hartley tried to instill an appreciation of literature in her daughter and introduced her to the works of Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling, as well as stories of Greek mythology and Indian folklore. At the age of six, Vivian was sent by her mother to the Convent of the Sacred Heart (now Woldingham School) then situated in Roehampton, southwest London, from Loreto Convent, Darjeeling. One of her friends there was future actress Maureen O'Sullivan, two years her senior, to whom Vivian expressed her desire to become "a great actress". She was removed from the school by her father, and travelling with her parents for four years, she attended schools in Europe, notably in Dinard, Biarritz, San Remo and Paris, becoming fluent in both French and Italian. The family returned to Britain in 1931. She attended A Connecticut Yankee, one of O'Sullivan's films playing in London's West End, and told her parents of her ambitions to become an actress. Shortly after, her father enrolled Vivian at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

The Best Actor award should actually be titled "the best performance by an actor in a leading role." The same rules that govern the Best Actor category apply to the Best Actress category. (See the complete list of all Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor winners here )

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