"He said to me, 'What do you want out of life?' And I thought, what an extraordinary question."
"And I said: 'I would like respect for difficult work, well done.'"
That she has - and, as shown in the last day's headlines, she's determined to keep it.
And now she's 101, and on top of her honours earlier in June, she ended the month with a lawsuit. Her track record on that front isn't bad - her last major legal imbroglio more or less ended the studio system, after all, those seven decades ago - and it's entirely in character. This is a woman who has spent a century seeking excellence, and she's not about to take even the mildest assault sitting down.
This rather marvelous montage, by the endlessly thoughtful and searching Sara on the YouTubes, gets us back, directly and bracingly, with what created that reputation: her work, her variety, and her remarkable charisma. in Warners Technicolor, she glows. Trapped in a snake pit, she is harrowing. And as time passes, she becomes only more elegant. She was more madcap than we remember, and more interesting in her beauty than a great many of her contemporaries.
I hope today she's doing something suitable to mark another year's passing. A friend who met her a couple of years ago reported her to be a shade frailer than one might have hoped, but entirely, as it were, intact. Jack Warner found out she wasn't to be trifled with; I expect that remains very much the case today. Happy birthday, Maid Marian; Many happy returns, Melanie Hamilton Wilkes; and, they remain a gift to you, many more, Olivia de Havilland.