But her influence on the movie industry goes far beyond that: She helped bring an end to the studio system, thanks to her landmark lawsuit against Warner Bros. in 1944.
The actress had made her film debut in 1935, at age 19, in a version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that starred James Cagney and Mickey Rooney. Eventually WB signed her to a seven-year contract, which was the standard for studios when they wanted to hold onto actors.
The studio suspended her seven or eight times for refusing to play certain roles. When de Havilland’s contract expired,