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Gone with the Wind actress Alicia Rhett dies aged 98

Rhett was one of the last remaining cast members from the 1939 classic

Alicia Rhett, the oldest surviving cast member of the 1939 film classic Gone with the Wind, has died aged 98.

Rhett played India Wilkes, the sister of Ashley Wilkes in the award-winning movie adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel about the American Civil War era.

She was one of just four actors still living 75 years on from appearing in the film, though it ended up being her only on-screen credit.

Rhett died at 5pm yesterday (10pm GMT)  at home in her South Carolina retirement community, officials there said.

“Truly a beautiful woman, her passion for the arts and love of Charleston were unrivalled... Alicia was a kind and gentle lady,” said Bill Trawick, CEO of the Bishop Gadsden centre where she had lived since 2002.

Born on 1 February 1915, Rhett lived with her mother in Charleston for almost her entire life after her father died in the First World War.

Despite the huge success of Gone with the Wind, she was described as “intensely private” and shied away from the “trappings of celebrity”, according to a biography on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) website.

Rhett was a painter before taking on her role in the film, and afterwards decided to return to a life dedicated to painting, illustration and the occasional local radio appearance.

She produced portraits for her fellow actors and had work featured in books, a state library and a theatre.

Following Rhett's death, the only surviving cast members of Gone with the Wind are the 97-year-old Olivia de Havilland, who played Ashley Wilkes' cousin and wife Melanie Hamilton, Mary Anderson, 93, and Mickey Kuhn, 81.