Vivien Leigh and Jessica Tandy

LORELAI: Streetcar Named Desire [explaining Stella the chicken’s name].
SOOKIE: Vivian Leigh or Jessica Tandy?
LORELAI: Hello – Tandy.
SOOKIE: Of course. Continue.

Vivien Leigh, born Vivian Hartley (1913-1967) was an English stage and film actress. She played Blanche DuBois in the 1949 London West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and was chosen to reprise the role in the 1951 film version of the play, which was directed by Elia Kazan, who had also directed the Broadway production. Leigh won Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her role, as well as from the BAFTA, The New York Film Critics Circle, and the Venice Film Festival. A Streetcar Named Desire was the #4 film of 1951, and won three other Academy Awards, while gaining high praise from critics.

Jessica Tandy, born Jessie Tandy (1909-1994) [pictured] was a British stage and screen actress who appeared in over 100 theatre productions and had more than 60 roles in film and television; she moved to the US in 1940 and lived most of her life in Connecticut. Tandy played the lead role of Blanche DuBois in the original 1948 Broadway version of A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she won a Tony Award. The play itself, which first opened in New Haven, Connecticut was awarded The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle.

Lorelai’s response indicates that she is privileging Broadway over the West End, and perhaps the stage over the screen version. Possibly there is a little local pride involved too. I can’t see how Lorelai could judge the difference in their performances as the Broadway production was twenty years before she was born. It is notable that Sookie immediately agrees with her, maybe suggesting the Connecticut connection is well known and a source of some pride.

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