SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Laurence Kerr Olivier                                                             
Born: 22 May 1907 Dorking, Surrey, England                                             
Died: 11 July 1989 Steyning, West Sussex, England                                       
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM (22 May 1907 - 11 July 1989)                   
was an Academy Award, three-time Golden Globe, BAFTA, two-time                         
honorary Academy Award and five-time Emmy-winning English actor, director, and         
producer. He is one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century,         
along with his contemporaries John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft and Ralph Richardson.       
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 generally regarded 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                 
Academy acknowledgments are considerable fourteen Oscar nominations, with two           
wins 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.                                           
Olivier's career as a stage and film actor spanned more than six decades and           
included a wide variety of roles, from 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       
his death in 1989. Olivier played more than 120 stage roles, including:                 
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,       
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, 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 fourteen on the list.