Saturday, 23 January 2010

JEAN SIMMONS 1929 - 2010

Jean Simmons who died yesterday aged 80 was born in Crouch End, North London.
Her first notable screen role was that of the young Estella in David Lean's 1946 production of Charles Dicken's 'Great Expectations' - a story that she would re-appear in with the 1980s mini-series this time playing Miss Haversham.
She then went on to play Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet' (1948).
During her movie career she would star alongside the likes of Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando (Guys And Dolls); Gregory Peck (The Big Country); Burt Lancaster (Elmer Gantry); Kirk Douglas (Spartacus) and Richard Burton (The Robe).
In 1965 she took over the role of Susan, originally played by Heather Sears, in the sequal to 'Room At The Top' (1959)'Life At The Top' opposite Laurence Harvey.
Her later acting career encompassed both the stage with 'A Little Night Music' and tv series such as 'The Thorn Birds' and 'North And South'.
Jean Simmons was married twice - first to Stewart Grainger with whom she made several movies and then to the director Richard Brooks.
She is survived by two daughters Tracy and Kate.


I.J. Parnham said...

My wife met her when staying at a hotel some years ago. She was filming a tv series there and the wife happened to arrive at the reception desk at the same time as she did for a couple of days running and got talking to her. She was apparently quiet and polite and ordinary, in a good way, to the extent that the wife didn't even know she was someone famous until at the end of the week someone pointed out that she wasn't just a lady queue up at the reception desk but a Hollywood star.

Unknown said...

Another tenuous link . . . When attending Enfield Grammar School I was very active in its dramatic society. One of its annual events was a play competition between the school's houses. The plays were performed by boys from the lower school and produced by fourth, fifth and sixth formers. For three years in the late 1950s, I produced and directed the winning play for Poynetts house. An unbroken hat trick! Among one of the "actors" I carefully coached, using all the benefits of my experience in leading roles in the school's major productions, like St Joan (the Dauphin) and King Lear (the Fool), was a boy whose name I've forgotten but who claimed a relationship to Jean Simmons. Possibly she was an aunt. The "Simmons" name meant next to nothing to me at that time, but I remember the boy was quite an accomplished actor. We were an all-boys school and as a pre-adolescent he made a very pretty "girl"!

pattinase (abbott) said...

She was always elegant, wasn't she.