Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh Signed Hardcover Book, "The Skin of Our Teeth", with Original Dust Jacket



Vivien Leigh Signed Hardcover Book, "The Skin of Our Teeth", with Original Dust Jacket

Hardcover book, The Skin of Our Teeth: Play in Three Acts by Thornton Wilder (Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York/London, 1942), elegantly signed “Vivien Leigh” in blue fountain pen and underlined on front end paper, part of “V” of Vivien within slightly browned area. Red book covers with original robin’s egg blue and black dust jacket, 142 pages, 5.625” x 8.25”. In fine condition, with light patchy mat burn to front and back end papers, some minor edge tears, and two offcut pages (105 and 119) as published. Expected wear to dust jacket corners and edges. Personal library card signed “Adeline C. Gibson” affixed to interior front cover.

American playwright Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth was first performed at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, CT in October 1942 starring Frederic March and Tallulah Bankhead. Classically trained English actress Vivien Leigh starred as housemaid Lily Sabina in four of its later productions: at the Phoenix Theater in London in May 1945; at the Piccadilly Theater in London in September 1946; on an Australian and New Zealand tour in November 1948; and in a later televised broadcast in March 1959. Leigh completely immersed herself in the role of Lily Sabina, the play’s chatty and sexy narrator. Described as a “straw-blonde” and “over-rouged” parlor maid, Lily Sabina is a complex character whose name alludes at once to the proto-Garden anti-heroine Lilith and the violated Sabine women of Roman history. It is possible that Leigh consulted this book during preparations of or rehearsals for the role. She was directed by husband Laurence Olivier during some of these productions.

Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) was already a well-established theater and film actress when she accepted the role in The Skin of Our Teeth. Before accepting her first movie role as an extra, Leigh studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She achieved success in English theatrical productions before trying the movies in the mid-to-late 1930s. Her break-out success as Scarlett O’Hara in 1939 Gone with the Wind made her an international star. The theatrical production of The Skin of Our Teeth was sandwiched between two of Leigh’s film projects, Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) and Anna Karenina (1948), and one year after she was first diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was a critically and commercially successful novelist, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, scholar, and translator. He won Pulitzer Prizes for both drama and fiction. Along with The Skin of Our Teeth, he is best known for his sentimental and nostalgic Our Town (1938).



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Item: 62228

Price: $1,200.00
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Vivien Leigh
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