Lead Events Editor
Alice Rhett, the oldest surviving cast member of 1939’s Gone With the Wind, died on Friday. She succumbed to natural causes around 5 p.m., while surrounded by friends in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. She was 98.
Born in 1915, Rhett’s only movie role was in the Oscar-winning epic. Playing Ashley Wilkes’ (Leslie Howard) sister, India, she became one of Scarlett O’Hara’s (Vivien Leigh) biggest enemies when Scarlett stole her beau, Charles Hamilton. Interestingly, Rhett was originally considered for the role of Melanie Hamilton. But director George Cukor, who had spotted the actress in a local production in the South, eventually gave that role to Olivia De Havilland instead and cast Rhett as India.
Though she likely could have found success as an actress due to Gone With the Wind’s incredible notoriety, Rhett instead moved back to Charleston and focused on her budding talent for art. She is said to have sketched her fellow Gone With the Wind actors while on set and developed a good reputation as a painter in South Carolina.
Only three members of the film, including the 97-year-old De Havilland, are still alive.