Alicia Rhett, the Southern actress who gained fame thanks to the strength of a single movie role—as the spinster India Wilkes—has, as the 1939 movie title says it, gone with the wind. She was 98.
“Gone with the Wind”
A spokesperson for the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community in Charleston, S.C., where Rhett had lived since 2002, told the Associated Press that the “Gone with the Wind” actress succumbed to natural causes around 5 p.m. Friday, January 3.
Rhett was the oldest surviving cast member of the Oscar-winning Civil War epic that’s based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell.
Her Role as India
The great-granddaughter of U.S. Sen. Robert Rhett, known as the “Father of Secession,” Alicia Rhett was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1915 but moved to Charleston following the death of her father, army officer and engineer Edmund Rhett during World War I.
She became a theater actress in Charleston where she was spotted during a local production by George Cukor, the original director of Gone With the Wind, while he was on scouting trip in the South. She was eventually cast as India, the sister of Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), who is the object of Scarlett O’Hara’s affection.