Herbert Leigh Holman


Vivien & Leigh Holman were married from 1932 – 1940.


Vivien first saw Herbert Leigh Holman when visiting the Martins. The Martin’s had 4 daughters named Mills, Dulcie (nearly engaged to Leigh at the time), Clare, and Hilary. On Feb 1932 in the town of Holcombe (where Leigh’s family had a home, pictured right), Vivian saw Leigh riding on horseback and Hilary pointed him out. Leigh then saluted to Hilary. Apparently, Vivien said she would marry him one day. Holman family home

They officially met at the Devon Hunt Ball held at the Two Bridges Hotel located on the Torquay Pier on the Dartmoor. Dulcie rejected Leigh’s offer of marriage that night. Vivien and Leigh waltzed together that night and again in London on March 17 at the Pegasus Ball. She met with him again on April 9. Vivien began classes at RADA at this time and once after class met up with Leigh to attend the Henley Regatta. On another occasion he purchased tickets for Vivien and her mother to see the Cat and the Fiddle. That summer Leigh moved to 124 Eyre Ct in Finchley Road. Vivien and Leigh were engaged on June 19, 1932. They married on December 20th.

“Leigh Holman– charming, educated, considerate, beautifully mannered and with good prospects. It was love at first sight as far as he was concerned and for the gay highly spirited Vivian Hartley it was marvellous to have someone so considerate to pamper her. Most days he was waiting for her outside the Royal Academy when she finished classes and soon they became engaged. wedding photo

They were married on 20th December 1932 at St. James, Spanish Place, with all the trimmings of a nice wedding of the thirties. “All I remember was how thin and shy she looked,’ a guest recalled. ‘Yes, a shy little bride in white satin. The bridesmaids wore peach satin with puff sleeves and carried chrysanthemums. But it is her demureness that remains in my memory.’

The newly-weds left the reception at a London hotel in the usual cloud of confetti and kisses for a honeymoon in Switzerland. On returning to London the new Mrs Holman and all the wedding presents moved into her husband’s bachelor flat in Eyre Court, Finchley Road.

Just ten months later after she married and still in her nineteenth year Mrs Leigh Holman gave birth to a baby.” The baby was a small girl who was to be named Suzanne.

Various factors led to the divorce of Vivien and Leigh, but her drive to become an actress had the largest impact. Leigh wanted a typical wife of the time, one who would be a housewife and who would raise their children. Vivien wanted to be an actress, and it was in this pursuit that she spent less time with her husband and met Laurence Olivier. At one time in her life, Leigh was more suitable to Vivien’s needs, but now Larry was the the more suitable man. He was handsome, famous, talented, and a fantastic lover. Vivien & Leigh

Even though she left Leigh for another man, the two remained the closest of friends. In part, this friendship was due to the fact that they wanted the best arrangement for their daughter. Leigh took custody of their daughter Suzanne and raised her. Vivien occasionally visited her daughter, but left Leigh in charge because she lacked a sufficient maternal capacity to raise Suzanne. However, she always wanted the best for Suzanne, and the threesome even took a holiday trip together in 1957 to the shores of Italy’s Lake Gardo. Together, Leigh and Vivien hosted Suzanne’s wedding reception on December 6, 1957 at the Hyde Park Hotel. In 1959, Leigh settled at Manor Farm House, Zeals. Much to Leigh’s distress, he committed a technical error at his law firm and was forced into resignation. Vivien provided him support and comfort during this painful period.

After Vivien’s death, Leigh moved into a smaller home in Mere. He died on February 8, 1982 from cancer. Zeals was left to Suzanne who has continued to use it as a country home.

ED NOTE: Quoted text taken from Light of a Star by Gwen Robyns
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