Laurence Olivier

22 May 1907 - 11 Jul 1989

Actor, Director, Writer

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright.

Olivier played a wide variety of roles on stage and screen from Greek tragedy, Shakespeare and Restoration comedy to modern American and British drama. He was the first artistic director of the National Theatre of Great Britain and its main stage is named in his honour. He is regarded by some to be the greatest actor of the 20th century, in the same category as David Garrick, Richard Burbage, Edmund Kean and Henry Irving in their own centuries. Olivier's AMPAS acknowledgments are considerable: fourteen Oscar nominations, with two awards (for Best Actor and Best Picture for the 1948 film Hamlet), and two honorary awards including a statuette and certificate. He was also awarded five Emmy awards from the nine nominations he received. Additionally, he was a three-time Golden Globe and BAFTA winner.

Olivier's career as a stage and film actor spanned more than six decades and included a wide variety of roles, from the title role in Shakespeare's Othello and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night to the sadistic Nazi dentist Christian Szell in Marathon Man and the kindly but determined Nazi-hunter in The Boys from Brazil. A High church clergyman's son who found fame on the West End stage, Olivier became determined early on to master Shakespeare, and eventually came to be regarded as one of the foremost Shakespeare interpreters of the 20th century. He continued to act until the year before his death in 1989. Olivier played more than 120 stage roles: Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo, Hamlet, Othello, Uncle Vanya, and Archie Rice in The Entertainer. He appeared in nearly sixty films, including William Wyler's Wuthering Heights, Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing, Richard Attenborough's Oh! What a Lovely War, and A Bridge Too Far, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Sleuth, John Schlesinger's Marathon Man, Daniel Petrie's The Betsy, Desmond Davis' Clash of the Titans, and his own Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III. He also preserved his Othello on film, with its stage cast virtually intact. For television, he starred in The Moon and Sixpence, John Gabriel Borkman, Long Day's Journey into Night, Brideshead Revisited, The Merchant of Venice, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and King Lear, among others.

In 1999, the American Film Institute named Olivier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, at number 14 on the list.

Photos

No photos.

Filmography (51 titles)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
Role: Actor (as Dr. Totenkopf)
(movie, 1989)
···War Requiem
Genre: Drama, War
Role: Actor (as Old Soldier)
(movie, 1985)
···Wild Geese II
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Role: Actor (as Rudolf Hess)
(movie, 1984)
···The Bounty
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Role: Actor (as Admiral Hood)
(movie, 1984)
···A Talent for Murder
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Role: Actor (as Dr. Anthony 'Tony' Wainwright)
(movie, 1984)
···A Voyage Round My Father
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Clifford Mortimer)
(movie, 1984)
···The Ebony Tower
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Henry Breasley)
(movie, 1984)
···The Jigsaw Man
Genre: Thriller
Role: Actor (as Adm. Sir Gerald Scaith)
(movie, 1983)
···King Lear
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as King Lear)
(movie, 1983)
···Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Role: Actor (as Joe Halpern)
(movie, 1981)
···Clash of the Titans
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Family
Role: Actor (as Zeus)
(movie, 1980)
···The Jazz Singer
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Role: Actor (as Cantor Rabinovitch)
(movie, 1979)
···Dracula
Genre: Horror, Romance
Role: Actor (as Prof. Abraham Van Helsing)
(movie, 1979)
···A Little Romance
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Role: Actor (as Julius)
(movie, 1978)
···The Boys From Brazil
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller
Role: Actor (as Ezra Lieberman)
(movie, 1978)
···The Betsy
Genre: Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as Loren Hardeman)
(movie, 1977)
···A Bridge Too Far
Genre: Drama, History, War
Role: Actor (as Dr. Jan Spaander)
(movie, 1977)
···Jesus of Nazareth
Genre: History
Role: Actor (as Nikodemus)
(movie, 1977)
···Come Back, Little Sheba
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Doc Delaney)
(movie, 1976)
···The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Role: Actor (as Professor James Moriarty)
(movie, 1976)
···Marathon Man
Genre: Thriller
Role: Actor (as Christian Szell)
(movie, 1976)
···Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Big Daddy)
(movie, 1975)
···Love Among the Ruins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as Sir Arthur Glanville-Jones)
(movie, 1972)
···Sleuth
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Role: Actor (as Andrew Wyke)
(movie, 1971)
···Nicholas and Alexandra
Genre: Romance, Drama, War
Role: Actor (as Stolypin)
(movie, 1970)
···Three Sisters
Genre: Drama
Role: Director
(movie, 1969)
···Battle of Britain
Genre: Action, Drama, History, War
Role: Actor (as Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding)
(movie, 1969)
···The Dance of Death
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Edgar)
(movie, 1966)
···Khartoum
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, History, War
Role: Actor (as Mahdi)
(movie, 1965)
···Bunny Lake Is Missing
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Role: Actor (as Superintendent Newhouse)
(movie, 1965)
···Othello
Genre: Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as Othello)
(movie, 1961)
···The Power and the Glory
Genre: TV Movie, Drama
Role: Actor (as Priest)
(movie, 1960)
···Spartacus
Genre: Action, Drama, History, Adventure
Role: Actor (as Marcus Licinius Crassus)
(movie, 1959)
···The Devil's Disciple
Genre: Comedy, History, Romance, War
Role: Actor (as Gen. Burgoyne)
(movie, 1957)
···The Prince and the Showgirl
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Role: Director
(movie, 1955)
···Richard III
Genre: Drama, History, War
Role: Actor, Director
(movie, 1953)
···The Beggar's Opera
Genre: Crime, History, Musical
Role: Actor (as Captain MacHeath)
(movie, 1952)
···Carrie
Genre: Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as George Hurstwood)
(movie, 1948)
···Hamlet
Genre: Drama, Foreign
Role: Actor, Director, Writer
(movie, 1941)
···That Hamilton Woman
Genre: Drama, History, Romance, War
Role: Actor (as Lord Horatio Nelson)
(movie, 1940)
···Rebecca
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Role: Actor (as 'Maxim' de Winter)
(movie, 1940)
···21 Days
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Larry Durrant)
(movie, 1939)
···Wuthering Heights
Genre: Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as Heathcliff)
(movie, 1939)
···Q Planes
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Role: Actor (as Tony McVane)
(movie, 1938)
···The Divorce of Lady X
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as Everard Logan)
(movie, 1937)
···Fire Over England
Genre: Adventure, History, Romance, War
Role: Actor (as Michael Ingolby)
(movie, 1936)
···Conquest of the Air
Genre: Drama, History
Role: Actor (as Vincent Lunardi)
(movie, 1933)
···Perfect Understanding
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Role: Actor (as Nicholas Randall)
(movie, 1932)
···Westward Passage
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Nicholas 'Nick' Allen)
(movie, 1931)
···The Yellow Ticket
Genre: Drama
Role: Actor (as Julian Rolfe)