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Sample RC Passage 

Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, to Ernest Hartley, a British Officer in the Indian Cavalry, and Gertrude Robinson Yackje. They were married in Kensington, London in 1912. In 1917, Ernest Hartley was relocated to Bangalore, while Gertrude and Vivian stayed in Ootacamund. Vivian Hartley made her first stage appearance at the age of three, reciting "Little Bo Peep" for her mother's amateur theatre group. Gertrude Hartley tried to instill in her daughter an appreciation of literature, and introduced her to the works of Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling, as well as stories of Greek mythology and Indian folklore. An only child, Vivian Hartley was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton, England in 1920 at the age of six-and-a-half. Her closest friend at the convent school was the future actress Maureen O'Sullivan, to whom she expressed her desire to become "a great actress".

Vivian Hartley completed her later education in Europe, returning to her parents in England in 1931. She discovered that one of Maureen O'Sullivan's films was playing in London's West End and told her parents of her ambitions to become an actress. Both were highly supportive, and her father helped her enroll at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

In late 1931, she met Herbert Leigh Holman, known as Leigh, a barrister thirteen years her senior. Despite his disapproval of "theatrical people", they were married on December 20, 1932, and upon their marriage she terminated her studies at RADA. On October 12, 1933, she gave birth to a daughter, Suzanne, but felt stifled by her domestic life. Her friends suggested her for a small part in the film Things Are Looking Up, which marked her film debut. She engaged an agent, John Gliddon, who believed that the name "Vivian Holman" was not suitable for an actress, & after rejecting his suggestion, "April Morn", she took "Vivian Leigh" as her professional name. Gliddon recommended her to Alexander Korda as a possible film actress, but Korda rejected her as lacking potential.

Cast in the play The Mask of Virtue in 1935, Leigh received excellent reviews followed by interviews and newspaper articles, among them one from the Daily Express in which the interviewer noted "a lightning change came over her face", which was the first public mention of the rapid changes in mood that became characteristic of her. John Betjeman, the future Poet Laureate, also wrote about her, describing her as "the essence of English girlhood". Korda, who attended her opening-night performance, admitted his error and signed her to a film contract, with the spelling of her name revised to "Vivien Leigh". She continued with the play, but when Korda moved it to a larger theatre, Leigh was found to be unable to project her voice adequately, or to hold the attention of so large an audience, and the play closed soon after. In 1960 Leigh recalled her ambivalence towards her first experience of critical acclaim and sudden fame, commenting, "some critics saw fit to be as foolish as to say that I was a great actress. And I thought, that was a foolish, wicked thing to say, because it put such an onus and such a responsibility onto me, which I simply wasn't able to carry. And it took me years to learn enough to live up to what they said for those first notices. I find it so stupid. I remember the critic very well, and have never forgiven him."

Laurence Olivier saw Leigh in The Mask of Virtue, and a friendship developed after he congratulated her on her performance. While playing lovers in the film Fire Over England (1937), Olivier and Leigh developed a strong attraction, and after filming was completed, they began an affair. Olivier was at that time married to the actress Jill Esmond. During this time Leigh read the Margaret Mitchell novel Gone with the Wind and instructed her American agent to suggest her to David O. Selznick, who was planning a film version. She remarked to a journalist, "I've cast myself as Scarlett O'Hara", and The Observer's film critic C. A. Lejeune recalled a conversation of the same period in which Leigh "stunned us all" with the assertion that Olivier "won't play Rhett Butler, but I shall play Scarlett O'Hara. Wait and see."

In 1951, Leigh and Olivier performed two plays about Cleopatra, William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra, alternating the play each night and winning good reviews. They took the productions to New York, where they performed a season at the Ziegfeld Theatre into 1952. The reviews there were also mostly positive, but the critic Kenneth Tynan angered them when he suggested that Leigh's was a mediocre talent which forced Olivier to compromise his own. Tynan's diatribe almost precipitated another collapse; Leigh, terrified of failure and intent on achieving greatness, dwelt on his comments, while ignoring the positive reviews of other critics.

 In January 1953, Leigh travelled to Ceylon to film Elephant Walk with Peter Finch. Shortly after filming commenced, she suffered a breakdown, and Paramount Pictures replaced her with Elizabeth Taylor. Olivier returned her to their home in England, where between periods of incoherence, Leigh told him that she was in love with Finch, and had been having an affair with him. She gradually recovered over a period of several months. As a result of this episode, many of the Oliviers' friends learned of her problems. David Niven said she had been "quite, quite mad", and in his diary Noel Coward expressed surprise that "things had been bad and getting worse since 1948 or thereabouts."  



1. One of the key characterisitcs of Viven Leigh was

a. her ability to recite long dialogues uninterrupted

b. her ability to act without prompting

c. an ability to change facial expressions very quickly

d. her very strong voice that could be heard without mikes even in a large audiecence

 2. Which of the following cities / locations are not mentioned in the passage?

a. Ootacamund              b. London                     c. Korda                       d. Bangalore

 3. Which of the following is true as per the passage?

a. Vivien Leigh left her studies at RADA after her marriage                    b. Leigh was a cocaine addict

c. she initially though she would never want to be an actress                    d. none of these  

 4. What was the name of the agent of Viven Leigh?

a.  John Betjeman          b. Alexander Korda                   c. John Gliddon              d. Maureen O’Sullivan

 5. Which of the following was never used / suggested as a likely name for Vivien Leigh as an actress?

a. April Morn                b. Vivian Leigh                          c. both [a] and [b]         d. neither [a] nor [b]

 6. With which of the following does the passage mention Vivien having an affair at some point of time?

a. Peter Finch               b. Laurence Olivier                    c.David Niven               d. both [a] and [b]

 7. As per the passage Jill Esmond was married to

a. Alexander Korda       b. Vivien Leigh’s brother           c. Davide Niven                        d. Laurence Olivier

 8. The passage could be a part of

a. an obituary                b. a biographical sketch              c. a film reivew             d. a newspaper article

 9. The overall tone of the passage is

a. neutral                   b. critical                                  c. investigative                d. dramatic

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