Friday, January 22, 2010

Jean Simmons 1929-2010

Jose here with some sad news.



British actress Jean Simmons passed away earlier today at the age of 80.
Over her long career she starred in more than fifty films and was nominated for an Oscar twice. Once for Best Supporting Actress in 1948 for playing Ophelia To Larry Olivier's Hamlet and then as Best Actress in 1969 in The Happy Ending which was directed by her then husband Richard Brooks.

Known for her angelical beauty she also proved her worth as a multifaceted actress playing an exotic native girl in Black Narcissus, her singing skills in Guys and Dolls (for which she won a Golden Globe) and the spoiled Estella in David Lean's Great Expectations.
She was rumored to be William Wyler's first choice to play Princess Ann in Roman Holiday but Howard Hughes-who owned her contract- kept her from doing it. One can only wonder what Simmons would've done in Audrey's iconic role.

22 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

eeek. I feel so bad, I just wrote a somewhat scathing review of her work in Hamlet for an English class and come on line to see this. She was lovely in Guys and Dolls. I've always found her to look just a little like Vivien Leigh.

City_Of_Lights said...

Howard Hughes was an absolute bastard to Jean Simmons. Reportedly she chopped off all her hair before filming and forced Hughes to up the budget for wigs. Can't blame her.

What a beautiful lady. She will definitely be missed.

The Z said...

What an unusual coincidence: I was just watching Olivier's "Hamlet" earlier today, all the while thinking that Jean Simmons was one the most beautiful women of her time.

I agree with Andrew about the resemblence to Leigh - but Vivien will always be in a class of her own. Scarlett rocks.

brandz said...

that's too bad. sorry to hear the news.

JWM said...

I fell in love with her when I was a kid and saw her in The Robe. She was beautiful.

Femme Fatale et Noire said...

What a beautiful woman.

Rick said...

I loved Jean Simmons

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Wow. She's been on my mind alot this week, since I introduced a friend to Elmer Gantry. She's stellar in that film, absolutely amazing. Not even a nomination, the same year Elizabeth Taylor won for BUtterfield 8. Sigh.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

A stunningly beautiful woman as well as a remarkably intelligent actress when given the chance (which sadly wasn't too often). And her resemblance to Vivien Leigh is definitely striking, particularly in her younger years. She was/is the definitive Estella - it's one of my favourite performances of the 40s.

Fanny Brice said...

I watched "The happy ending" a few months ago in a Film Festival and she was splendid in a role that had a lot to do with her real marriage to Richard Brooks. The film is worth a good review, not only her, but the bittersweet relationship of men an women inside a matrimony, and, of course, the wonderful score by Michel Legrand.

Karla said...

She was glorious in "The Big Country" with Gregory Peck.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading that a lot of people are writing (rihtly so, actually) several bad things about Academy, since they never gave to this fine actress her real dues (two nominations is rather few, actually...and no career award!), but I'm saying also SHAME TO ME, since I've never watched some of her more heralded perfs (THE HAPPY ENDING, HOME AFTER DARK, SO LONG AT FAIR, HILDA CRANE and, most of all, THE ACTRESS!). Maybe these omissions make me unable to speak about this great dame, but since I was very impressed by her talent, I wanna give you my Jean Simmons Top 10:

1) ELMER GANTRY
2) HAMLET
3) GUYS AND DOLLS
4) YOUNG BESS
5) ANGEL FACE
6) GREAT EXPECTATIONS
7) THE ROBE
8) BLACK NARCISSUS
9) THE BIG COUNTRY
10)THORN BIRDS

Mirko

jimmy said...

I've only seen "G&D" and "Elmer Gantry." I believe show a well-deserved supporting Emmy award for "Thornbirds"....she was great in that especially her big big scenes in which her husband (richard kiley) gives her a pearl necklace (g-rated) - he tells her he loves her & tells her he knows she doesn't love him. but she always wears tht neckalace in the remainder of the movie - and she has a scene in which she tells her daugther how much she regrets how she treated richard kiley. jean simmons / barbara stanwyck - both just wonderful.

Wayne said...

This was a shock to read yesterday, could not believe it.

Michael said...

How about that final scene in Spartacus?

remcat said...

i loved her from the time i was a young girl and saw her in Desiree. i also loved her in Divorce American Style and of course The Big Country. i now realize how many of her movies i have yet to enjoy.
she was so tremendously beautiful and not just her looks. she radiated that tremendous inner beauty as well. very elegant, sophisticated and ladylike, yet with a warmth and intense energy. cliche grande, but like fire and ice. very rare.
i can't believe she was 80 years old, and i can't believe she is gone.

A said...

I will always remember her as Clarissa Main in the seminal mini-series North & South. She played Patrick Swayze's mother. It's sad to think that they both died this year.

Anonymous said...

Great actress and terrific beauty. She was in a great amount of excellent films. She will be sadly missed. Heaven has got another star now. May she sing with Marlon Brando again.

Mark said...

Home Before Dark, The Robe, All the Way Home, the original 40's Blue Lagoon, the remake of Great Expectations, and of course, Elmer Gantry, the last of which was undoubtedly the BEST performance by an actress in 1960. She wasn't even nominated for it. We'll miss her beauty and her talent.

Jenna Culbertson said...

It's sad to see someone with so much talent pass away. She will be missed and remembered for her work.

Anonymous said...

Loved her. I was so irritated reading the many profiles about her since the announcement of her death, most seem preoccupied by the fact that she worked with a lot of Hollywood's leading men, as if she were simply there on the screen to be arm candy. Did her roles not matter as much as theirs or are we meant to be impressed by her simply because she shared a screen with Brando, Peck and others?

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