jack merivale

Pussy-cat my darling,
Whatever may happen let us be friends my dearest one. Conch [Vivien’s doctor] has done a very marvellous thing for me - and I am feeling as i have not felt for many many years. Perhaps all the interim mistakes have made just too much difference for our life together - I do not know - and you must leave it up to me to do what I think is best for the future in my own time. It will take a little while… one does not let twenty five years go lightly. I feel very deeply in love with Jack Merivale and very dearly grateful to him but it does not alter the fact that I shall love you all my life and with a tenderness and respect that is all embracing - I understand very well how difficult - even impossible - it had become… let us face that - Well, now that is accomplished and I hope my life will prove a useful and good one - to many people…

My love, dear dear heart- Vivling.

—  Vivien Leigh’s letter to Laurence Oliver in 1960

The rumor about Vivien being repelled by Gable’s bad breath was first published by Anne Edwards in her 1977 Vivien Leigh biography. She was helped a good deal by Vivien’s partner Jack Merivale. However, when Jack received a copy of her book upon publication, he found it difficult to read it objectively. “I found so many mistakes – glaring mistakes and errors of fact,” he told her. So he literally sat down with a dictaphone and went through the book page by page, pointing out the errors. Regarding Gable and Leigh, he told her that Vivien always spoke kindly of Clark and never mentioned his bad breath. That rumor, he said, seemed unnecessary and didn’t serve to further the narrative.

Edwards kept it in, and now it’s all over the place.

Jack’s dictaphone recording is in the Anne Edwards papers at UCLA. I found it helpful for my own book. #101VLFacts