Throwback Thursday: When Olivia de Havilland Visited the Upper West Side

Photographs courtesy of Metropolitan Photo Service.

Frank Rowley was the administrator of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas when it closed, to the great dismay of the neighborhood, in January, 2018. He worked side by side with Dan Talbot, the theater’s legendary co-founder. Frank was also the manager and programmer of the old Regency Theater for more than a decade. He was there the day actress Olivia de Havilland — one of the great movie stars of her time — came to visit.

By Frank Rowley

Olivia de Havilland died Sunday, July 26, 2020 at the age of 104. She made a personal appearance at the Broadway and West 67th Street Regency Theater on Sunday, June 24, 1976, as the featured star of “The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood”: the opening of a double bill of a five-week United Artists Salute to Warner Brothers.

I recall her comments about co-star Errol Flynn and how she enjoyed working with him. She also spoke about “Gone With The Wind” and the cast autograph she signed from the picture and gave to my late companion, Miller Lede. Miller knew Olivia and Vivian Leigh.

Don Krimm booked the series for United Artists Classics and provided interesting production photo enlargements of the stars throughout the auditorium. Olivia seemed very pleased and adapted to the intimate 450 seats. There were natural acoustics and spot-free screens enhancing the 35mm studio prints. There were occasional hitches and during dress rehearsal it was difficult to see Olivia so we had to borrow a local “washing tub” for her to stand on to improve the site lines.

We enjoyed her presence and always wanted her to return.

COLUMNS, HISTORY | 5 comments | permalink
    1. fred says:

      What a great movie star !

      I loved the Regency – my favorite experience there was watching ‘ Funny Girl ‘ there in the balcony . The audience went cuckoo !!!

    2. Martin Klauber says:

      I will never, never lose My Maid Marion. If Olivia had done nothing else in her incredible career she and Errol in Robin Hood would have been enough. I have watched them 100s of times. For me their magic together is the ultimate movie pairing. No one, no movie can ever equal what they achieved. I hope that Robin and Marion are together at last, ounce more smiling at one another!

    3. Susan says:

      About twenty years ago, Olivia de Havilland reached me by phone in error. She was trying to reach an attorney in NYC. I believe she was calling from Paris. Instead of saying she was sorry she had reached the wrong number, she decided to chat. I wanted to ask her questions, but instead decided to not let her know that I knew who Olivia de Havilland was – she had started the conversation stating who was calling. The voice was also easy to recognize. She was an absolute delight to talk to.

      • Steve Friedman says:

        THAT is a great story. And tells lots about character. Thank you for sharing.

    4. John says:

      I heard she owned a place at 80 Central Park West