Saturday, 13 December 2008

Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), English actor, producer, and director, noted as one of the most accomplished actors of the 20th century.
Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, in 1907. Nine years later he made his first stage appearances in amateur performances of plays by English poet and playwright William Shakespeare.
Olivier made his professional debut at Letchworth in 1925. He was a member of the Birmingham Repertory Company from 1926 to 1928.
Olivier made his American theatrical debut in a short-lived melodrama in New York City in 1929. In 1930 and 1931 he appeared in Private Lives, by English playwright Noel Coward, in both London and New York City. In 1937 and 1938 he was a member of the Old Vic Shakespearean repertory company in London.
Olivier was codirector of the Old Vic company from 1944 to 1949; in 1946 he appeared triumphantly with the company in the United States. In the theater Olivier played classical roles ranging from Greek tragedy to Restoration comedy; he also appeared in various contemporary plays.
In 1939 Olivier made his first important film, Wuthering Heights. In 1946 a film version of Shakespeare's Henry V was released; produced, directed by, and starring Olivier, it became a film classic.
He produced, directed, and starred in other film versions of Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet (1948), for which he received Academy Awards for best actor, best director, and best picture of the year; Richard III (1956); and Othello (1965).
Olivier appeared in a wide variety of roles during his film career. Some of his other movies included Rebecca (1940), The Entertainer (1960), Sleuth (1972), Marathon Man (1976), and The Boys from Brazil (1978).
He received Oscar nominations for all five. He won further acclaim for his television performances, playing the role of Lord Marchmain in the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Brideshead Revisited (1981) and the title role in a production of King Lear (1983).
A theatrical producer and director as well as actor, Olivier was head of the National Theatre of the United Kingdom from 1962 until 1973. He was knighted in 1947 as Baron Olivier in 1970.
After his marriage to actress Vivien Leigh ended in divorce, he married the actress Joan Plowright. Olivier wrote several books, including Confessions of an Actor (1982) and On Acting (1986).


R said...

He is the tops allison
hats off to him,wuthering heights ive watched over and over,one of the great actors ive admired
i didnt know he was married to vivien leigh till i just read on here.