Olivia Foxworth, (Formally Winfield), was the antagonist of Flowers in the Attic. Her backstory was revealed in Garden of Shadows.
|Birth Name: Olivia Winfield|
|Relatives: Mr. Winfield (Father, deceased); Mrs. Winfield (Mother, deceased); Malcolm Foxworth, Sr. (Husband, deceased); Malcolm Foxworth, Jr. (Son, deceased); Joel Foxworth (Son, deceased); Corrine Foxworth (Step-daughter, deceased); Christopher Foxworth, Sr. (Brother-in-Law, deceased); Christopher Dollanganger, Jr. (Step-Grandson, deceased); Catherine Dollanganger (Step-Granddaughter, deceased); Carrie Dollanganger (Step-Granddaughter, deceased); Cory Dollanganger (Step-Grandson, deceased); Jory Marquet (Step-Great Grandson); Bart Winslow, Jr. (Step-Great Grandson); Cindy Sheffield (adoptive Step-Great Granddaughter); Darren Marquet (Step-Great-Great Grandson); Deidre Marquet (Step-Great-Great Granddaughter); John Amos Jackson (Cousin, deceased)|
|Occupation: Mistress of Foxworth Hall|
|Appearances: Garden of Shadows, Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, Flowers in the Attic (Film)|
|Portrayed By: Louise Fletcher|
Olivia Foxworth is the strictly religious wife of Malcolm Foxworth and mother of Malcolm Jr., Joel, and Corrine Foxworth and the cruel and wicked grandmother of the Dollanganger children.
Garden of ShadowsEdit
This prequel portrays Olivia in a more positive light and explains how she became the cruel grandmother that the Dollanganger kids were afraid of in the series.
The book starts with her being hopeful and happy to be finally married to handsome, wealthy and young Malcolm Foxworth. She is quite tall and plain looking, and nearly twenty-five.
Soon after their marriage, Olivia comes to and finds out about Malcolm's obsessive love for his beautiful mother Corinne, who abandoned him as a child.
Olivia discovers that Malcolm is extremely distrustful of beautiful women, and he married Olivia because of her comparatively rather plain looks. She discovers Malcolm's obsession for his mother in the Swan Room, Corinne's former bedroom, kept as a sort of shrine to her memory. Olivia is caught snooping in said room and raped by Malcolm on the Swan Bed.
Nine months later, Olivia gives birth to a son, Malcolm Jr. called "Mal" by the family. In spite of how Malcolm treats her, Olivia is hopeful that she will still have a happy marriage and family.
Several years later, Olivia gives birth to another son, Joel after a difficult pregnancy which leaves her unable to have any further children. This majorly upsets Malcolm, as he wanted a daughter and blames Olivia for being unable to bear him one, consequently he neglects both his sons and his marriage.
Several years later, Malcolm's father, Garland, returns with his young second wife, Alicia and the story takes a darker turn. Alicia makes friendly overtures towards Olivia, but Olivia keeps her distance. Alicia later gives birth to a son, Christopher, however Malcolm is attracted to his young step-mother and tries to seduce her, which she repulsively rebuffs. Olivia witnesses Malcolm's attempt to seduce Alicia and is hurt. Olivia knows Malcolm is to blame, but resents Alicia for taking care of her appearance and 'making herself beautiful'.
Garland later catches Malcolm attempting to rape Alicia, leading to a massive fight between Malcolm and Garland, resulting in Garland having a heart attack and promptly dying. However, shortly after Garland's funeral Malcolm resumes pursuit of Alicia, eventually impregnating her.
Alicia tells Olivia that her husband has been forcing himself upon her, warning that she will be thrown out penniless if she refuses. Olivia decides to hide her up in the same attic Chris, Cathy, Cory, and Carrie would be later locked in. She plans to keep Alicia up there until she gives birth, whilst pretending herself to being pregnant, and then pass the resulting child off as hers.She fires all the servants to prevent any suspicions. During Alicia's isolation, Olivia cuts off her hair and puts it on Malcolm's desk so that he can see that she is the one with all the power (this mirrors Cathy's eventual threat of getting her's cut off). While Alicia is kept in the attic, Olivia cares for Christopher and comes to love him like another son. Malcolm makes visits to the attic, and takes advantage of Alicia's loneliness. After Alicia gives birth to Corrine, she quietly leaves Foxworth Hall with only her first born, Christopher.
The years pass by, Olivia loves Corrine as her own, but Corrine was very spoiled by both her brothers and especially by Malcolm, as she is very beautiful. Mal grows up and attends college, but one summer, he is killed in a motorcycle accident. Joel, a talented musician, joins an orchestra and travels throughout Europe.
Unfortunately he too dies, in an avalanche, which devastates Olivia. Olivia later receives a letter from Alicia stating that she has breast cancer and asks if Christopher can stay at Foxworth Hall after she dies, as he has much promise to become a physician. Only because of how well Olivia had treated Christopher before does Alicia want him to stay at Foxworth Hall. When he arrives, Christopher and Corrine are immediately attracted to each other, but keep it a secret.
Christopher's arrival breathes life into Foxworth Hall, and the family is once again happy since the deaths of Mal and Joel. Corrine graduates high school, and Christopher is accepted into medical school; it is at this time that Malcolm and Olivia find out about Christopher and Corrine - Olivia discovers the two making love on the Swan Bed.
They are kicked out (as they are also half-brother & half-sister, not just half-uncle & niece as everyone believes) and disinherited. Olivia and Malcolm turn to religion to get them through the difficult time, with the help of John Amos, Olivia's cousin.
The book ends with a letter from Corrine, informing Olivia of Christopher's death, and asking to return to Foxworth Hall with her children. Corrine and her children arrive, and Olivia locks them in the attic, hardening her heart against them.
Flowers in the AtticEdit
Olivia is the main antagonist in this story.
After her husband's death, Corrine writes a letter to her from her Gladstone, Pennsylvania home, asking her for a place to stay as they are now destitute. Olivia agrees and Corrine brings her children with her to Foxworth Hall.
There, the children are locked in the same room Alicia was locked in and informed of the fact that Corrine and Christopher were niece and half-uncle, respectively. Olivia is quite cruel to the four, calling them "the devil's spawn" and tries to ensure that the children will be clean, even not permitting them to look at each other.
She physically whips Chris and Cathy and starves them in one incident after Chris refuses to cut Cathy's hair off. She later pours tar in Cathy's hair, resulting in it needing to get cut off. She also rejects a Christmas gift from the children as a peace offering.
She has (though rarely) shown a soft side to the children. The first time we see this is the time she gave the children a plant to take care of. It is also believed that Olivia starved them for a week but only as an attempt to prevent the arsenic poisoning.
While attempting to steal valuables, Chris witnesses her in prayer, and she agrees with Cathy that Cory must go to a hospital (though he wasn't taken to one). Cathy also speculates that Olivia merely only brought up the basket, having no actual role in the poisoning (but is still an accessory to the crime).
Petals on the WindEdit
Olivia plays a much smaller role in this story, but makes a cameo appearance albeit in very poor health, having suffered a stroke and now mute. Cathy breaks into Foxworth Hall once to confront her grandmother and attacks her in retribution of what Olivia did to her and her siblings. Olivia is present in the library at the Foxworth Hall Christmas party when the revelation of Corrine's betrayal to her children is revealed. She watches in delight as Corrine crumbles under the pressure and leaves the library. Olivia sees her surviving grandchildren for the last time before Corrine starts a fire in the attic of the mansion. Both Cathy and Chris escape but Olivia is still trapped as the fire starts spreading. Bart Winslow rushes in to attempt saving her but both of them perish in the fire.
With the children having being revealed to exist, Corrine loses her inheritance claim and it reverts to the now deceased Olivia, who stated in her own will that her daughter was to inherit everything, including the blackened, fire damaged ruins of Foxworth Hall.
Olivia was buried next to Malcolm in the cemetery.
Although Olivia is regarded as tall and plain-looking in her youth, she is referred to as being attractive or 'handsome' to some degree by Corrine (though this comparison could've been made more in proportion to her wealth). In 'Garden of Shadows, Olivia has auburn hair and grey eyes, and an impressive figure. Due to her height, Olivia sews most of her own dresses and/or has them custom-made.
In her younger days, Olivia was quick-witted and intelligent, but very insecure due to her appearance. She shared a good relationship with her father, who valued Olivia's intellect but passed away shortly after her marriage to Malcom. It is her insecurities that partially cause the shift in her personality to the cold, hardened woman she has become in 'Flowers in the attic'.