Sir Laurence Olivier

  • The Birth of Laurence Olivier

    Laurence Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England. Being the youngest of three.
  • Early Education

    Laurence spent many of his early years hopping from prep school to prep school until finding a footing at All Saints, Margaret Street.
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    Theatrical debut

    After Laurence's first year at All Saints, Margaret Street he stumbled upon his first role as Second Citizen in Julius Caesar. Due to one of his peer's mother being Mary Forbes, casting was shuffled and this resulted in Laurence becoming the part of Marcus Brutus. Laurence later joined other productions in cast and became Maria in "Twelfth Night" and Katherina in "The Taming of the Shrew."
  • Laurence as Katherina in "The Taming of the Shrew"

    Laurence as Katherina in "The Taming of the Shrew"
    circa 15 years of age
  • Olivier furthers their education

    A quote from their father: "You will leave school at the end of this summer and sometime, at whatever date for such things is ordained, you will go to Elsie Fogerty's Central School" (Olivier 15). Olivier's brother goes to India and Laurence assumes to follow suit. His father acknowledges his talent and reassures him to the stage. Laurence is later admitted into Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art.
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    A Foot Through the Door

    Olivier finds work as an assistant stage manager at Christopher's School theatre in both "Through the Crack" and "Henry the VIII"
  • Laurence leaves Central School

    Laurence sets to find work in smaller theatre companies
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    Olivier's theatre crawl

    Olivier joins Birmingham Repertory Company, following shows he's acted: "She Stoops to Conquer," "Uncle Vanya," and "All"s Well Ends Well."
    Acts in "Bird in Hand" at Royalty Theatre, later acts in "Journey's end" and "Beau Geste."
  • Larry's Wedding

    Larry's Wedding
    In the year 1928, while playing in "Bird in Hand" he meets Jill Esmond, their love sparked and were married 2 years later at All Saints, Margaret Street.
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    Laurence in the 30's

    In the 30's, Laurence Olivier begins film acting. Olivier opposes the likes of film acting but does so for financial stability and a means to fund his stage acting. He maintained acting in theatre by starring in the likes of "Queen of Scots" and "The Royal Family in 1934. He later is picked up by John Gielgud for his talent and was cast as Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet" in 1935.
  • Laurence's debut in film

    Laurence's debut in film
    RKO asked for Laurence in a two-year contract, Laurence accepts and stars in his debut film: Friends and Lovers. (Laurence Olivier above alongside co-star Adolphe Menjou.)
  • Affairs with Laurence Olivier

    In the late 30's Olivier had affairs with actresses Vivian Leigh and Ann Todd
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    Laurence in the 30's

    Laurence joins the Old Vic theatre company for two seasons, Staring as Orlando in "As You Like It" and playing in "Fire Over England." In 1938 he stars as Iago in "Othello"
  • World War 2

    World War 2
    With the war scaling upwards, this jumps Laurence to act for his country!
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    Laurence and the war effort

    After Oliver married Vivian, he sprung to the news of Britain's place in WW2, Laurence got in touch with Duff Cooper, the Minister of Communication. Ordered to stay in the state, he was also told to get in touch with a director to film a propaganda film called: "That Hamilton Woman."
    Later in the years, Laurence Olivier sough to join the Fleet Air Arm. Later starring in another film called Demi-Paradise
  • New love

    New love
    As Olivier continues to do film, Vivian Leigh follows suit and in their time in Hollywood, they wait for their divorces to go through. Beginning a new for the two. They got married at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbra.
  • Laurence Olivier in Demi-Paradise

    Laurence Olivier in Demi-Paradise
  • Laurence in Uniform

    Laurence in Uniform
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    Olivier Co-Directs Old Vic

    Olivier's release from the Fleet Air Arm led him to meet with former colleagues to restore the Old Vic. This gave him the opportunity to Co-Direct it with Ralph Richardson. Their first season consisted of Uncle Vanya, Arms and the Man, Peer Gynt and Richard lll. Their second season came to two double bills. The first being Henry IV 1 & 2 and the latter being Oedipus Rex and The Critic. After a third season, Olivier toured the company in Australia. Later his contract would be terminated
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    Larry Through the 50's

    In the early fifties, Laurence became concerned with Vivien's illness. She was diagnosed with manic depression, and Olivier did his best to comfort her. In 1955 Laurence played in three shows at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre as the lead role in Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Titus Andronicus. In 1957 Olivier finds comfort in his co-actress Joan Plowright during the production of The Entertainer. In 1959 he returns to a Stratford production in the role of Coriolanus.
  • Joan Plowright and Laurence Olivier

    Joan Plowright and Laurence Olivier
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    Times at the National Theatre

    Olivier becomes the first director of the National Theatre appointing fellow directors John Dexter and William Gaskill as his assistants, and Kenneth Tynan as his literary advisor. During his tenure, Olivier directed 8 plays and acted in 13 mainly playing minor characters. In such, The Recruiting Officer, A Flea in Her Ear, Home and Beauty. Later playing leading roles such as Othello.
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    Journey to the End

    In the last years of Olivier's life, he tussled with dermatomyositis and thrombosis. This led him from playing leading roles to supporting, and to only cameos. Starring in the Jazz singer, Inchon, The Bounty, Wild Geese II, and his last Shakespeare play, King Lear. Sir Laurence Olivier succumbs to kidney failure, at age 82, in his home in Steyning, West Sussex.