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Gone With the Wind's Alicia Rhett Dies at 98

Alicia Rhett, a Southern actress who gained minor stardom on the strength of a single movie role – as the spinster India Wilkes, in 1939's Gone With the Wind – has died.

She was 98 and the oldest surviving cast member of the Oscar-winning Civil War epic, based on the Margaret Mitchell novel.

A spokesperson for the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community in Charleston, S.C., where Rhett had lived since 2002 (she never married), told the Associated Press that she succumbed to natural causes around 5 p.m. Friday.

The great-granddaughter of U.S. Sen. Robert Rhett, who was known as the "Father of Secession," Alicia Rhett was born in Savannah in 1915 but moved to Charleston following the death of her father, army officer and engineer Edmund Rhett, in World War I.

Becoming a theater actress in Charleston, she was spotted during a local production by George Cukor, the original director of Gone With the Wind, while he was on a talent hunt in the South. Cukor considered her for the role of Melanie Hamilton, which eventually went to Olivia De Havilland.

Rhett was cast as India, the sister of Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), who is the object of Scarlett O'Hara's affection. Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) even steals India's beau, Melanie's brother Charles Hamilton, in revenge for Ashley's marrying Melanie – making a lifelong enemy of India in the process.
With her passing only three major GWTW cast members remainCollapse )

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Tags: actor / actress, death, old hollywood
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