Laurence Olivier Biography
Laurence Olivier Biography
Laurence Olivier Biography
Laurence Olivier Biography
Laurence Olivier Biography
Laurence Olivier Biography
Laurence Olivier Biography

Laurence Olivier Biography

Laurence Olivier

Born: 22 May 1907

Death: 11 July 1989

Occupation: Actor | Director

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an English actor and director who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, was one of a trio of male actors who dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century.

He also worked in films throughout his career, playing more than fifty cinema roles. Late in his career, he had considerable success in television roles.

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His family had no theatrical connections, but Olivier's father, a clergyman, decided that his son should become an actor. After attending a drama school in London, Olivier learned his craft in a succession of acting jobs during the late 1920s.

In 1930 he had his first important West End success in Noël Coward's Private Lives, and he appeared in his first film. In the 1940s, together with Richardson and John Burrell, Olivier was the co-director of the Old Vic, building it into a highly respected company. In the 1950s Olivier was an independent actor-

manager, but his stage career was in the doldrums until he joined the avant-garde English Stage Company in 1957 to play the title role in The Entertainer, a part he later played on film. From 1963 to 1973 he was the founding director of Britain's National Theatre, running a resident company that fostered many future stars.

Part of his works

  • Wuthering Heights (1939)

  • Rebecca (1940)

  • Trilogy of Shakespeare films as actor/director:

  • - Henry V (1944)

  • - Hamlet (1948)

  • - Richard III (1955)

  • Spartacus (1960)

  • The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)

  • Sleuth (1972)

  • Marathon Man (1976)

  • The Boys from Brazil (1978)

  • The Moon and Sixpence (1960)

  • Long Day's Journey into Night (1973)

  • Love Among the Ruins (1975)

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1976)

  • Brideshead Revisited (1981)

  • King Lear (1983)

Honours & Awards

Olivier was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 1947 Birthday Honours for services to the stage and to films.

A life peerage as Baron Olivier, of Brighton in the County of Sussex followed in the 1970 Birthday Honours for services to the theatre. Olivier was later appointed to the Order of Merit in 1981.

He also received honours from foreign governments. In 1949 he was made Commander of the Danish Order of the Dannebrog; the French appointed him Officier, Legion of Honour, in 1953; the Italian government created him Grande Ufficiale, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, in 1953; and in 1971 he was granted the Order of Yugoslav Flag with Golden Wreath.

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