Biography of Laurence Olivier (1907-1989)

Laurence Olivier.

Actor and director of theater and British cinema born in Dorking (County of Surrey) on May 22, 1907 and died in Steyning (Sussex County) on July 11, 1989. His full name was Laurence Kerr Olivier.

Son of a Protestant pastor, his fondness for the interpretation was developed from childhood. Ten years played Brutus in a representation of Julio Cesar. He/She entered Oxford, but shortly after he/she left the University to study at Elsie Fogerty, school of dramatic art in London. At the end of the 1920s he/she made his debut as actor of theatre and, in a relatively short time, came to become one of the most famous figures of the British theatre, one of the stars of the famous Old Vic. At the same time, was developing, since the implementation of the sound, a career very continued in the field of cinema which was marked both by the irregularity and the prestige.

After reaching Broadway, gave his first cinematographic steps in The Temporary Widows (1930), of Gustav Ucicky. He/She continued with very unequal projects, among which stand out those led by Anthony Asquith (Moscow Nights, 1935) or Basil Dean (21 days together, 1937). The first film that felt really satisfied and started to report international prestige was Wuthering Heights (1939), of William Wyler, where he/she represented the role of Heathcliff. In reality, the role was awarded following the rejection that it made Ronald Colman (Olivier, in fact, began in the film doing jobs had rejected other actors, such as Leslie Howard or own Colman). His work in the film earned him the first nomination the Oscar of the nine who had throughout his career. The tape served, in addition, that Olivier is diese account possibilities that film contained in terms of means of expression and communication, and always had the recognition to Wyler for having been who showed him that way.

The Decade of the forties cinematographic activity allowed him to achieve stardom in its maximum international dimension. Highlighted as Maxims of Winter, the owner of the mysterious Castle of Manderley to Rebecca (1940) by Alfred Hitchcock, beside a brilliant Joan Fontaine, in a role that led him to be again nominated for the Oscar. Was on his way of becoming one of the most sought after leading men of Hollywood, but decided to give a twist to his career ("I don't want to become a Cary Grant," said) and impose their own conditions, making their admired Shakespeareworks, which became a kind of cross-staff and you catalpulto to the co-management of the Old Vic Theatre next to the master Ralph Richardson.

In principle it was involved in that Vivien Leigh, with whom married after obtaining a divorce from his first wife, although there were always doubts about the possibilities that he/she offered to give a proper reply. It was a very singular for Olivier moment because, when proposed Enrique V (1945) to adapt to film, tried that Wyler was director, objective that was impossible to achieve and which forced him to take on the challenge of leading the same film. The tape was a brilliant staging of the literary classic, with an excellent photograph of Robert Krasker, and was applauded by critics, but did not reach a corresponded economic success, what was not discouraged to Olivier (who received a special Oscar for the production) to continue along that path. Hamlet (1948) was his second experience in that sense, although after some doubts, as the actor understood that he/she conformed is better to "harder" papers. The film won a total of four Oscar: best film (the first British film to achieve this award), Actor, sets and costumes. In 1956, he/she carried out the last of its shakesperianas adaptations, Ricardo III, made for Alexander Korda; It was the title of this series, which was personally more satisfied. It was the same director, because Carol Reed did not dare with the project.

From this moment his career divides into two directions: movies in which acts of protagonist and movies in which makes it as "Guest Star". In 1952 he/she returned to acting in the hands of William Wyler in Carrie, where he/she had an outstanding performance as the man destroyed by the woman who loves. Of his later works should be noted which was created for one of the stars of the "Free Cinema", Tony Richardson, in the entertainer (1960) and that constituted one of the peaks of his work as an actor in not Shakespearian roles. The role created by the playwright, Osborne, was considered to be one of the most important contemporary British theatre. This series of titles should also mention her role on the track (1972), by Joseph l. Mankiewicz, along with Michael Caine.

Their interpretations in short papers, although not therefore less important, it is worth mentioning his appearances in Spartacus (1960), Stanley Kubrick, as Crassus; in Khartoum (1966), from Basil Dearden, as the Mahdi, a personification perhaps somewhat exaggerated and that reminds its theatrical "Othello"; or in Marathon Man (1976), John Schlesinger, as Szell, a sadistic nazi.

During this period Olivier, basically confirmed his passion for the theatre. Married in 1961 for the third time with Joan Plowright, at the time that took over the management of the England's National Theatre Company. In 1967, was named "Sir". He/She directed for the stage The Tumbler, The Crucible, The Advertisement and Eden End, in addition to interpreting work for television in works like the power and the glory, Uncle Vanya, David Copperfield or the merchant of Venice, medium which had begun his career in 1958.

Laurence Olivier has been one of the most important actors of the 20th century, both in theatre and in film; as example of this can be what he/she said another large dramatic art, actor Spencer Tracy: "best actor of cinema of all time". For his part, Kenneth Tynan wrote: "between a good performance and another memorable there is an abyss, only saving performers of great height. Olivier is one of them."


As an actor

1930: The Temporary Widow; Too Many Crooks. 1931: Pothiphar´s Wife; Friends or rivals?; The yellow card. 1932: Divorce by love. 1933: By mutual agreement; No Funny business. 1935: Moscow Nights. 1936: As; The Conquest of the Air. 1937: 21 days together; Fire Over England. 1938: The divorce of Lady X. 1939: mysterious waves; Wuthering Heights. 1940: Rebecca; Stronger than pride. 1941: lady Hamilton; The invaders. 1943: The Demi-Paradise; The Volunteer. 1951: The Magic Box. 1952: Carrie; Elstree Story. 1953: A Queen is Crowned; The Beggar´s Opera (and producer). 1959: The disciple of the devil. 1960: Spartacus; The animator. 1961: The power and the glory. 1962: Scandal in the classrooms. 1965: The abduction of Bunny Lake; Othello. 1966: Khartoum. 1968: Fisherman sandals. 1969: Oh, so nice war!; The battle of Britain; The Dance of Death. 1971: Nicolás and Alejandra. 1972: the footprint; Lady Carolina Lamb. 1974: The Rehearsal. 1975: The Gentleman Tramp. 1976: Marathon Man; Elementary, Dr. Freud; Jesus of Nazareth. 1977: A distant bridge. 1978: The saga of the Hardeman; The children of the Brazil. 1979: A small romance; Dracula. 1980: The jazz singer; Inchon. 1981: Clash of the Titans; Gandhi; Man puzzle. 1984: Mutiny on board. 1985: Wild ducks II. 1988: War Requiem.

As a director, actor and producer

1944: Enrique V (and writer and editor). 1948: Hamlet (and screenplay). 1956: Ricardo III (and screenplay). 1957: the Prince and the Showgirl. 1970: Three sisters.

Works for television

1958: John Gabriel Borkman. 1959: The Moon and Sixpence. 1963: Uncle Vanya. 1970: David Copperfield. 1973: Long day's journey into night; The merchant of Venice. 1974: The world at war (series). 1975: Love Among the Ruins; The Collection. 1976: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. 1977: come Back, Little Sheba; Daphne Laureola. 1982: a Voyage Round My Father; Laurence Olivier: A Life; Back to Brideshead (series). 1983: Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson; Wagner (series). 1984: King Lear; A talent for Murder; The last days of Pompeii (series); The Ebony Tower. 1986: Pedro el Grande (series); The lost Empire (series).


Olivier, Laurence. Confessions of an actor. Barcelona, Planeta. 1984.