OLIVIER Sir Laurence
Laurence Kerr Olivier.
Date of birth : May 22, 1907, Dorking, Surrey, England.
Date of death : July 11, 1989, Steyning, West Sussex, England.
Address Notley Abbey (with Vivien Leigh).
Son of a cleric.
Often considered as the cinema and theater actor the most accomplished of the 20th Century.
His performance in the main Shakespearian parts in movies won him several Academy Awards : "Henry V" (1945), "Hamlet" (1948).
For "Hamlet" he even obtained the award for the three duties : actor, director and producer.His nomination to the Academy Awards for "Richard III" (1956) and "Othello" (1965) consecrated, in a certain way and definitely, the way he adapted the Shakespeare theater to cinema.
On the both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, he was considered as a star of the stage and a genius of the direction. He was an important personality of the public life and a great figure of the stage.He became knight of the crown in 1947 and was ennobled by the Queen in 1970, with the title of first baron Olivier of Brighton.
In 1949 he directed, in London, "A Streetcar Named Desire".
In 1950, in the USA, he shot "Carrie" with William Wyler.
In 1953 he staged, in London, "The Sleeping Prince" of Terence Rattigan. He played the leading role with his wife, Vivien Leigh.
According to Fred Lawrence Guiles,
Olivier had only be contacted to perform his part, but he had insisted
to make the version of the Terence Rattigan play "The Sleeping Prince";
thus, he undertook is first direction of a non Shakespearian work.
The first movie scheduled by Marilyn's associate, Milton Greene, and their newly production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, was "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957). This work was supposed to skillfully put face-to-face those two personalities. Marilyn overcomed an important step, which consisted in performing a serious part, allowing her to prove that she could stand beside this actor with such a great talent.
In 1956 Olivier released a movie in England, he had directed himself, "Richard III".
Olivier and his wife Vivien Leigh, went to New York City to start the usual negotiations.
On February 6, 1956, performance of "The Diary of Anne Frank" with Susan Strasberg at the New York Cort
When he arrived on February 7,
1956 at Marilyn's apartment, in Sutton Place, with his agent Cecil
Tennant and the playwright Terence Rattigan, she made them wait one hour and a half. It was their first meeting.
During the press conference they gave at the Terrace Room of the Plaza
Hotel, on February 9, 1956, the two actors mutually congratulate themselves.
at the balcony
with Terence Rattigan
The Millers arrived in England on July 14, 1956 and held a press conference at the London airport with the Oliviers
On July 15, 1956, the day after their arriving in England, Marilyn and Arthur Miller held, at the London Savoy Hotel, a new press conference to announce the beginning of the shooting of "The Prince and the Showgirl".
Press conference, July 16, 1956
Arthur Miller was in the delicate position of a go-between, between the two actors.
After having lost Olivier's trust, nothing could convince Marilyn that he wasn't her sworn enemy.
In his autobiography, Miller put forward the following interpretation : as the shooting went on, Marilyn ended considering Oliver as a rival trying to achieve to oust her. Olivier, for his part, had to put up with the presence of Paula Strasberg, from who Marilyn followed the advices much more than Olivier's ones. She ended thinking he didn't want to do the movie and was only there to earn money.
Although the general opinion said that in "The Prince and the Showgirl" she played one of her best performances in a comedy, the critics were mixed.
OnOctober 12, 1956, he attended with Vivien Leigh and the Millers, the premiere of Arthur's play, "A View from the Bridge", at the Comedy Theater, in London.
at the theater
On November 22, 1956, leaving of the Millers
He didn't direct any movie before "Three Sisters", 16 years later.
In 1958, he visited the Actors Studio, while he played in Broadway in "The Entertainer" of John Osborne.
He wasn't much impressed by this visit.
He mainlyoccupied his last years to run the National Theater, in London, and only accepted some parts in movies when he more or less needed money.
"Confessions of an Actor", Laurence Olivier, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1982. Trad. fr.
«Confessions d'un acteur » Paris, Ramsay, 1988.