Reported in the News Letter on May 23, 1960: Curtain comes down on Oliviers’ 19-year marriage

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Lady Olivier (Vivien Leigh), who is 46, said in New York yesterday that she has agreed to give Sir Laurence a divorce so that he can marry the actress, Joan Plowright.

Sir Laurence, 53 yesterday, has been married to Miss Leigh for 19 years and appeared on Broadway with Miss Plowright, 31, on “The Entertainer” two years ago. Sir Laurence and Miss Plowright are now appearing in Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

A signed statement issued through Miss Leigh’s dresser Miss Trudy Flockart said: “Lady Olivier wishes to say that Sir Laurence has asked for a divorce in order to marry Miss Joan Plowright. She will naturally do whatever he wishes.”

Miss Flockhart said she did not know the plans of Miss Leigh, but she would probably return to England when “Duel of Angels”, in which she is appearing on Broadway, finishes on June 5.

It is the second marriage for both. They were married in Santa Barbara, California, in 1941 after a romance that brought both their previous marriages to the divorce courts. Sir Laurence married the actress Jill Esmond in 1930 and there is one son of the marriage. The couple divorced in 1940.

Lady Olivier was previously married to Mr Leigh Holman, a London lawyer, and there is a daughter from this marriage.

The Oliviers have no children by their marriage.

(Sir Laurence and Joan Plowright married in March 1961. They had a son and two daughters and remained married until Lord Olivier’s death in 1989.)