I just saw Linda Winer interview Rosemary Harris, who knew Laurence Olivier and insisted that he pronounced his name in the traditional anglicized fashion (“oh-LIHV-ee-er,” with the ending as in “heavier”) and disliked the “oh-LIHV-ee-ay” pronunciation that has become universal (“It’s not French!”), though he learned to accept it. (The same is true of the jazz drummer Paul Motian, who used to insist on pronouncing his Armenian name “MOW-tee-an” but finally gave in to the ubiquitous “MOW-shun.”) Since I can’t find any mention of this on the internet, and all my reference books give the French-style version, I thought I’d better post it here so there will be some record of the fact.

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