LAURENCE OLIVIER Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Olivier, Laurence Kerr (BARON OLIVIER OF BRIGHTON). British actor and director (b. May 22, 1907, Dorking, Surrey England–d. July 11, 1989, Steyning, West Sussex. England), was the founding director (1962-73) of the British National Theater and was hailed by many as the greatest actor of the 20th century.


He dazzled audiences with brilliant acting, athleticism, and elaborate costumes, makeup, and vocal techniques. Olivier, who began acting as a child, attended the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art and worked with the Birmingham Repertory Company (1926-1928). His breakthrough came in Noel Coward’s Private Lives (1930), and in Romeo and Juliet (1935). in which he alternated the roles of Romeo and Mercutio with John Gielgud, he began his distinguished classical career. Olivier gained international movie stardom and the first of 10 Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939). He followed this with popular romantic leads in Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice (both 1940).


As codirector (1944-49) with Ralph Richardson of the rejuvenated Old Vic Theatre Company, Olivier specialized in Shakespearean roles, many of which he transferred to the screen. both as actor and as director. These included Henry V (1944), for which he received a special Oscar-: Hamlet (1948). which won Oscars for best actor and best picture. Richard 111(1955). and Othello, (1965). Olivier also starred in several plays and films with his second wife, Vivien Leigh.