Olivier, Laurence

From Astro-Databank
Jump to: navigation, search
Olivier, Laurence Gender: M
Laurence Kerr Olivier
born on 22 May 1907 at 05:00 (= 05:00 AM )
Place Dorking, England, 51n14, 0w20
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Holliday
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 29°57' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 19°08 Asc.s_gemcol.18.gif 15°58'

Laurence Olivier


British actor, director and producer, considered by many to be the greatest actor of the twentieth century. He has received the greatest attention and honors of his field for his work in 121 stage roles and in 58 films, receiving no less than 11 Oscar nominations. The Founder of London's Royal National Theatre and the Festival Theatre in Chichester, he successfully adapted Shakespeare's plays to the medium of film, a landmark achievement that made the Bard available for mass distribution worldwide. Olivier was the youngest actor ever knighted, at 39 in 1946 by King George VI for his "invaluable service to the realm," and became Lord Olivier at 63, the first peerage ever given an actor. The first actor ever to be elevated to the British peerage, he was titled Sir Laurence Olivier, Baron of Brighton by Queen Elizabeth. Olivier wrote "Confessions of an Actor" in 1982.

The youngest of three children born to Parson Gerard Olivier and homemaker mother Agnes Crookenden, Olivier's early interest in acting began by imitating his father's melodramatic sermons in order to get his attention. Insightful Agnes recognized her delicate son's acting ability and encouraged him to recite monologues from plays, coaching him herself. While Olivier never did gain much of his taciturn father's attention, he became the center of his mother's world. She urged him to appear in plays at the boarding school he attended where, in his own words, he was a "muddled kind of boy, a weakling." Agnes was not alone in her praise of her son's talent. After watching young "Larry" appear as Brutus at age 12 in a school production of "Julius Caesar," actress Ellen Terry wrote in her diary "the boy who played Brutus is already a great actor."

The definitive blow of his life occurred the next year when his beloved mother died of a brain tumor. Behind the myriad masks of makeup that the master thespian wore over the following decades was the face of the 13 year old disconsolate adolescent who never successfully coped with her death. Years later he remarked that it may not be too bad a thing for an actor to have his heart broken in youth. "You can't say that your mother's death 'paid off,' but you know what I mean." Facing an unknown future without Agnes to guide him, Olivier silently thought he would be expected by his father to follow his brother Dickie in a civil service position in India. When the subject presented itself his father replied, "Don't be a fool, you must go on the stage." Thus granted permission from his austere father to follow his bliss, Olivier attended as many theatrical productions as possible. After watching a performance of "King Lear," his fate was sealed. "Listening to the compliments flying, I came to a decision. I was determined to be the greatest actor of all time."

After attending the Central School of Speech and Drama in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and a brief stint in the Birmingham Repertory Company, Olivier's big break came from playwright Noel Coward, who cast him in the West End hit "Private Lives." A steady flow of acting jobs followed, and it was as an established actor that he made his first marriage, to actress Jill Esmond in 1930.

He was starring in the British film "Fire Over England," released 1937, with unknown married co-star Vivien Leigh; their love affair began when shooting ended. During 16 unforgettable months between 1936 and spring 1938, Olivier played six Shakespearean roles to sensational critical and popular acclaim. His rave reviews won him the starring role as Heathcliff in the Hollywood film "Wuthering Heights," during which time Vivien Leigh won the coveted role of Scarlett O'Hara. When Olivier's ill-fated marriage to Esmond ended in 1939 and Leigh's divorce came through the following year, the lovers married.

Upon his return to England, he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve during World War II. When the war ended, the seasoned actor decided to try his hand at producing, directing, and starring in a film based on a Shakespeare play. The result was the 1944 film landmark "Henry V," which indelibly imprinted the Bard on celluloid and won Olivier a special Oscar for producing, directing and acting. His movie classic "Hamlet" followed two years later, which earned three Oscars, two for Olivier for Best Actor and Best Director.

During the '50s "The Olivier's" worked continually on stage and screen, touring worldwide with stage productions. The resultant instability coupled with Leigh's unsuccessfully treated manic depression caused their two-decade marriage to end in divorce in 1960 as she descended more and more into depression and schizophrenia. During ten of these years, bisexual Olivier had a clandestine ten year affair with American actor Danny Kaye.

International success continued for Olivier on stage and screen throughout the '60s and '70s, notably the films "The Entertainer," 1960, "Othello," 1964, "Sleuth," 1972 and "Marathon Man," 1976 in addition to prodigious stage work. He also won an Emmy for "The Moon And Sixpence," 1970.

In the '80s, the veteran working actor combated pneumonia, prostate cancer and the muscle degenerating disease dermatomyositis, but was still hailed by critics for his virtuoso performances in the BBC productions "Brideshead Revisited," 1981 and "King Lear," 1984.

Olivier made a third marriage to actress Joan Plowright in 1960. She and their three children, Richard, Julie-Kate and Tasmin provided the protean actor with the stable domestic environment he never had throughout his adult life. He had a son, Tarquin, on 21 August 1936 with his first wife, Jill Esmond, and a son, Richard, with his third wife, actress Joan Plowright, along with two daughters, Tamsin Agnes Margaret, born on 10 January 1963 and Julie-Kate, born on 27 July 1966.

After Olivier died in his sleep on 11 July 1989 around noon in Steyning, West Sussex, England, his ashes were placed under the bust of William Shakespeare in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Anderson, Judith (born 10 February 1897). Notes: Co-stars in stage, film and TV productions
  • associate relationship with Cornell, Katharine (born 16 February 1893). Notes: Co-stars in 1939 play "No Time for Comedy"
  • associate relationship with Ferzetti, Gabriele (born 17 March 1925). Notes: acting together in "Inchon" (1982)
  • has other family relationship with Tennant, Victoria (born 30 September 1950). Notes: Godkin
  • compare to chart of Tracy, Spencer (born 5 April 1900). Notes: Each nominated for nine Oscars for Best Actor


  • Work : Prize 1929 (Broadway debut)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 21 August 1936 (Son born)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Gain social status 1946 (Knighted by King George VI)
  • Work : Prize 1948 (Oscar for Hamlet)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 10 January 1963 (Daughter born)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 27 July 1966 (Daughter born)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Prize 1970 (Emmy for The Moon And Sixpence)

Source Notes

Dana Holliday quotes J. Cottrel, "Laurence Olivier," 1975.

Biography: Anthony Holden, "Laurence Olivier," 1989.

Biography: Donald Spoto, "Laurence Olivier, a Biography," Harper Collins. In March 2005, Liane Thomas Wade sent a photocopy of a page in his autobiography, "Confessions of an Actor," Orion Books Ltd., London, reprinted 2002. The book contains an reproduction of his baby book entry giving 5 AM as his time.


  • Traits : Personality : Charismatic (Impressive screen personna)
  • Traits : Personality : Perfectionist
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (Second marriage 20 years, third over 30 years)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage - Very happy (Third marriage, Joan Plowright)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Noted (Vivian Leigh)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
  • Family : Relationship : Stress - Traumatic event (Second wife schizophrenic)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 82)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Live Stage (Legitimate theater)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Business : Director (Secondary)
  • Vocation : Military : Military service
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Notable : Awards : Emmy (1970)
  • Notable : Awards : Oscar (For Hamlet)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book