Scarlett O'Hara

From Academic Kids

Scarlett O'Hara (full name Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler), is the main protagonist in the Margaret Mitchell novel Gone With the Wind and the later movie of the same name. The character also appears in the 1991 book Scarlett, a sequal to Gone With the Wind written by Alexandra Ripley.

Scarlett is a pretty, coquettish Southern belle who grows up on the Georgia plantation of Tara in the years before the American Civil War. Scarlett is described as being 16 years old at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, which would put her approximate birthdate at about 1845. Selfish, shrewd and vain, Scarlett inherits the strong will of her Irish father Gerald, but also desires to please her well-bred, genteel mother Ellen, from a good Savannah family. Scarlett loves Ashley Wilkes, her aristocratic neighbor, but when his engagement to meek and mild-mannered Melanie Hamilton is announced, she marries Melanie's brother Charles for spite. Her new husband dies early in the war, and Tara falls into the marauding hands of the Yankees. In the face of hardship, the spoiled Scarlett uncharacteristically shoulders the troubles of her family and friends, and eventually the not-so-grieving widow marries her sister's beau, Frank Kennedy, in order to get funds to restore her beloved home. Scarlett's ongoing internal conflict between her feelings for the Southern gentleman Ashley and the sardonic, opportunistic Rhett Butler—who becomes her third husband—embodies the general position of the South in the era of the war.

The search for an actress to play Scarlett in the film version of the novel famously drew big names such as Bette Davis (who was cast in the similary-themed movie "Jezebel" when she failed to land the role of Scarlett), Katharine Hepburn, Jean Arthur, and Lucille Ball. Susan Hayward was "discovered" when she tested for the part, and the career of Lana Turner developed quickly after her test. Joan Bennett was widely considered to be the most likely choice until she was supplanted by Paulette Goddard.

Principal photography began with the role still not cast. The scene depicting the burning of Atlanta was being filmed when producer David O. Selznick's brother arrived on the set with two visitors—British actor Laurence Olivier and his then girlfriend, novice actress Vivien Leigh. Myron Selznick announced he had found his brother's Scarlett, and with one look at Leigh, David knew he was right. Leigh was cast—despite public protest that the role was too "American" for an English actress—and eventually won an Academy Award for her performance.

The film version of Scarlett O'Hara is similar to the character in the original book, but there are some differences. For example, in the book version of GWtW, Scarlett gives birth to three children; Wade Hampton Hamilton, Ella Lorenna Kennedy, and Eugenia Victoria "Bonnie Blue" Butler. In the film vertion of GWtW, only Bonnie Blue is mentioned. In the sequal book Scarlett, she gives birth to another daughter by Rhett, Katie Colum "Cat" O'Hara


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