- NAME: Laurence Olivier
- OCCUPATION: Actor, Filmmaker
- BIRTH DATE: May 22, 1907
- DEATH DATE: July 11, 1989
- EDUCATION: All Saints Choir School, St. Edward's School, Central School of Speech and Drama
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Dorking, South England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: West Sussex, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Laurence Kerr Olivier
- AKA: Sir Laurence Olivier
- AKA: Laurence Olivier
- AKA: Baron Olivier of Brighton, OM
- AKA: Kim Olivier
- AKA: Larry Olivier
- AKA: Sir Laurence
Best Known For
Laurence Olivier was one of the most acclaimed actors of the 20th century, known for his numerous Shakespeare roles on stage and screen as well as memorable turns in more modern classics.
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Nevertheless, later in his career, Olivier took almost any role offered for the paycheck so that he could provide for his family—a son from his first marriage and three more children with his third wife, Joan Plowright—but he went on to reclaim his reputation with acclaimed roles, including that of the Nazi dentist in Marathon Man. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy in 1979.
Laurence Olivier published his autobiography, Confessions of an Actor, in 1984. Olivier, who has long been rumored to have had a sexual dalliance with actor Danny Kaye, admitted in his autobiography that he was tempted but never followed through with establishing a relationship with Kaye.
Following a decade's battle with cancer and related illnesses, Laurence Olivier died on July 11, 1989, at his home in West Sussex, England, just outside London. Olivier is one of the few actors to be buried in Westminster Abbey's esteemed Poet's Corner. The honor is fitting for the youngest actor to be knighted—at age 40, by King George VI—and the first to be elevated to the peerage—in 1970, by Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II dubbed him Baron Olivier of Brighton, which allowed him to sit in the House of Lords; she later bestowed upon him the Order of Merit. The Olivier Awards, England's equivalent of the Tony's, are named in Olivier's honor.
Fifteen years after his death, Laurence Olivier starred as the villain in 2004's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow through the magic of computer graphics. British theater critic Kenneth Tynan said of Olivier: "He's like a blank page and he'll be whatever you want him to be. He'll wait for you to give him a cue, and then he'll try to be that sort of person."
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