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9 CAST MEMBERS OF CLASSIC REUNITE, REMINISCE

SHARE 9 CAST MEMBERS OF CLASSIC REUNITE, REMINISCE

Some disliked their roles, others were too young to remember theirs, but 10 surviving cast members of "Gone With the Wind" are excited about the hoopla surrounding the classic's 50th anniversary celebration.

"Thank God I had a part in it," said Ric Holt, who played Beau Wilkes, son of Melanie and Ashley Wilkes.The Civil War saga's lone surviving star, Olivia De Havilland, who played Melanie, was at Wednesday's reunion in spirit. De Havilland, who lives in Paris, sent her "warmest salutations" to the reunion in a letter read by a tearful Rand Brooks, who played Charles Hamilton.

She signed the letter Melanie Hamilton Wilkes and asked Brooks to remember her to the cast, especially "the several Beau Wilkeses, and my fond eternal greetings to the sole representative of the Hamilton clan."

"Anyone who had read the book sensed they were into something that would belong to the ages, and everyone was in a frenzy to read the book," said Ann Rutherford, who won the role of Scarlett O'Hara's youngest sister, Carreen, because Judy Garland was filming "The Wizard of Oz."

"The specialness of this is with each generation of young people who are touched by `Gone With the Wind,' " she said. "As long as there are children, there will always be a Mickey Mouse. On an adult version, `Gone With the Wind' does that."

At the reunion were Butterfly McQueen, who portrayed the slave Prissy; Patrick Curtis and Mickey Kuhn, who played Beau Wilkes at various ages; Gregg Geiss, who played Bonnie Blue Butler, Scarlett's and Rhett's daughter, as an infant; Evelyn Keyes, who played Suellen O'Hara; Cammie King Conlon, who portrayed Bonnie Blue as a child, and Fred Crane who as Brent Tarleton spoke the movie's opening lines.

McQueen, whose portrayal of the flighty maid who didn't "know nothing 'bout birthing babies" won her acclaim, said she sometimes hated her role because she thought it demeaning to blacks. "To me it was just a job, but at times I hated the role," she said.

Though long dead, "Gone With the Wind" stars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, producer David O. Selznick and author Margaret Mitchell were remembered fondly by cast members.

Rutherford recalled that the night of the premiere, Mitchell invited the cast to her Atlanta home for scrambled eggs. Gable and Mitchell disappeared. "Clark and Margaret were hiding in the bathroom, Clark on the edge of the tub and Margaret you know where, just talking," she chuckled. "They had to get away from the photographers."