See Last Surviving "Gone With the Wind" Actor Mickey Kuhn Now at 89
THE FORMER CHILD STAR PLAYED MELANIE AND ASHLEY'S SON, BEAU WILKES.
Gone With the Wind hit theaters over 80 years ago, so you might be surprised to learn that anyone who worked on the movie would still be around today to share their memories. But indeed, one main cast member of the classic film, who was a child actor during filming, is alive in 2022. When he was six years old, Mickey Kuhn appeared in Gone with the Wind as Beau Wilkes, the son of Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland) and Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). Now 89, Kuhn is considered the only surviving member of the cast—though a couple of other uncredited actors are still alive, as well. De Havilland was also a long-surviving member of the cast prior to her death in 2020 at the incredible age of 104.
Kuhn did not continue acting long after his child and teen star days. But, after a lengthy career in a totally different industry, he now represents Gone With the Wind at events about the movie. Read on to find out more about Kuhn's life.
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Kuhn acted alongside many major stars.
Kuhn's career in show business kicked off when he was just a baby. His first film was 1934's Change of Heart, which starred Janet Gaynor. "It was my first and only adult movie," he joked to Naples Daily News in 2017. "I had no clothes on."
As a child and teenager, Kuhn went on to appear in Juarez with Bette Davis, Red River in which he played a young version of Montgomery Clift's character opposite John Wayne, and A Streetcar Named Desire, which reunited him with Gone with the Wind co-star Vivien Leigh.
Kuhn retired from acting entirely in 1957. His last role was on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
He went on to more "normal" jobs.
Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Following his acting career, Kuhn joined the Navy. He later took on positions at Pepsico and American Airlines, as reported by Naples Daily News. It was at American Airlines that he met his wife, Barbara.
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He kept in touch with one Gone With the Wind co-star.
Fo some years, Kuhn and de Havilland together were the surviving cast members from Gone with the Wind. Surprisingly, though they played mother and son, they never actually shared any scenes.
"She was always behind the door dying," Kuhn told Naples Daily News. "I never worked directly with her."
They finally met at her 90th birthday party and stayed in touch afterwards. In 2019, the younger actor told WXYZ Detroit that they maintained a friendship by writing letters but that their correspondence slowed down over time. "Olivia, of course, will be 103 in July … I write to her and I haven't had a response the last couple times," he said.
He has fond memories of his other cast-mates.
Over the years, Kuhn has shared memories of the time spent with his famous adult co-stars on Gone with the Wind. "They were good to kids and it was fun to be with them," he told WXYZ Detroit.
In an interview with The Washington Post in 2014, he told a story about Clark Gable being patient with him. "My line was, 'Hello, Uncle Rhett.' I kept saying 'Hello, Uncle Clark,'" Kuhn explained. He said that Gable took him aside and explained that while his real name is Clark, Kuhn had to call him Rhett in the movie. "I said, 'Okay, Mr. Gable.' And I finally got it on the fourth time."