Vivien Leigh

Birth Name: Vivian Mary Hartley

Date of Birth: 5 November, 1913

Place of Birth: Darjeeling, Bengal Presidency, British India

Date of Death: 8 July, 1967

Date of Place: London, England, U.K.

Ethnicity: English, likely Armenian and Irish

Vivien Leigh was a British actress. She twice won the Academy Award for Best Actress, for Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). She also starred in Caesar and Cleopatra, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, and Ship of Fools, among many others.

She was born in India. Her father, Ernest Richard Hartley, was English, and may have been born on the Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland or in Bingley, West Yorkshire, England. Her mother, Gertrude M. F. (Yackjee/Yackje), was born in Darjeeling, India.

Vivien had a daughter, actress Suzanne Farrington, with her first husband, barrister Herbert Leigh Holman.

There are at least three different couples referred to by genealogists as Vivien’s paternal grandparents. One couple are Seth Hartley and Sarah Jane Mawson. Seth was born in Calverley, West Yorkshire, England. Sarah was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England.

Vivien’s maternal grandfather was named Michael John Yackjee/Yackje (the son of Johannes/John Gabriel Yackjee and Elizabeth). It appears that Michael was of Armenian origin.

Vivien’s maternal grandmother was named Mary Therisa/Teresa/Theresa/I. Robinson (the daughter of James Wilson/Wilston Robinson). Vivien’s maternal grandmother was usually said to be the daughter of Irish parents.

Sources: Genealogies of Vivien Leigh –

Information about Vivien’s Armenian ancestry –

A discussion of Vivien’s ancestry –

Marriage record of Vivien’s maternal grandparents, Michael John Yackjee/Yackje and Mary Therisa/Teresa/Theresa/I. Robinson –


Curious about ethnicity

103 Responses

  1. follers says:

    Can anyone definitively determine Leigh’s paternal grandparents? Rootsweb and geni disagree.

  2. follers says:

    Ethnic, is there a picture, please?

  3. AW says:

    I’ve always wondered about her ancestry. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did have some Indian ancestry in her background but she could pass as a woman of full English/Irish ancestry too.

    • Wolfman says:

      Wasn’t she very beautiful, talented and so charismatic? I do agree there could be a chance she’s part Indian, Afghan or Parsi, but we will have to do a DNA test to confirm this. An example Princess Diana and Nicollette Sheridan from Desperate Housewives are part Punjabi so a chance Vivien is mixed too.

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