In 1984, Laurence won another Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special playing King Lear on King Lear.
In 1975, Laurence won another Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy playing Arthur Glanville-Jones on Love Among the Ruins.
In 1973, Laurence won another Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role playing James Tyrone Sr on Long Day's Journey Into Night.
In 1960, Laurence won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor (Lead or Support) playing Charles Strickland on The Moon and Sixpence.
Over his career, Laurence Olivier was nominated for and received the following awards for his acting:
Laurence's Star on the Walk of Fame for his many contributions to the Motion Picture industry is located at 6321 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA.
In 1979, Laurence received an Honorary Award from the Academy Awards for the full body of his work, for the unique achievements of his entire career and his lifetime of contribution to the art of film.
Laurence appeared together with Bob Hoskins in a music video for Paul Hardcastle's single "Just For Money" (1986).
Laurence was the original TV spokesman for the launch of the Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera.
Laurence was the host and narrator of Male of the Species (1969).
Some of Lauence's stage performances include the plays: Romeo and Juliet, Private Lives, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Ceasar and Cleopatra, The Entertainer, Merchant Of Venice, Macbeth, Henry V, Henry IV pt 1, Henry iv PT 2, The Critic, Oedipus The King, School For Scandal, Anthony and Cleopatra, King Lear, and Antigone.
In 1981, Laurence was given the Order of Merit.
In 1970, Laurence was made "Baron Olivier of Brighton," for services to the theater, which allowed him to sit in the House of the Lords.
Clash of the Titans (1981) $300,000
Inchon (1981) $1,000,000
The Jazz Singer (1980) $1,000,000
The Boys from Brazil (1978) $725,000
The Betsy (1978) $400,000
A Bridge Too Far (1977) $200,000
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) $75,000 (for 2 days)
Sleuth (1972) $200,000
Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) £20,000 (for 5 days)
The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) $200,000
Khartoum (1966) £250,000
The Moon and Sixpence (1959) (TV) $100,000
Rebecca (1940) $50,000
Wuthering Heights (1939) $20,000
Laurence was generally considered the greatest "Macbeth" of the 20th Century for his second stage portrayal of the role in the 1950s, he had hoped to bring "The Scottish Play" to the Big Screen in the late 1950s, but the failure of his movie Richard III to make back its money frustrated his plans. Producer Michael Todd, Liz Taylor's third husband, told Olivier in 1958 that he likely would produce the film with Olivier as "Macbeth" and Olivier's real-life wife Vivien Leigh as his Lady, but that hope died in the plane crash that claimed Todd's life. Thus, the infamous Macbeth curse prevented the greatest actor of the 20th Century from realizing his dream. The movie critic Pauline Kael, who considered Olivier the "wittiest actor" in film history, considered it a tragedy and said that it showed that there was something fundamentally wrong with the commercial filmmaking industry, that it could deny such a great talent a chance to make such a potentially significant film. Olivier never directed another Shakespearean film after the "failure" of Richard III.
Luchino Visconti wanted to cast Laurence in the title role of the Italian prince in The Leopard (1963), but his producer overruled him. The producer insisted on a box office star to justify the lavish production's high budget and essentially forced Visconti to accept Burt Lancaster. A decade later, the two Oscar-winning actors competed again for the role of another Italian prince, Mafia chieftain "Don Corleone," in The Godfather (1972), ultimately losing out to Marlon Brando, Oliver's only rival for the title of world's greatest actor.
Laurence perfected an Italian accent in order to play "Don Vito Corleone" in The Godfather (1972), but director Francis Ford Coppola wanted Marlon Brando for the part.
Laurence won three Best Actor Awards from the New York Film Critics Circle: as the eponymous protagonists of Shakespeare's Henry V and Hamlet, and as the mystery writer in Sleuth.
Laurence was portrayed by Andrew Clarke in Blonde (2001), by Anthony Higgins in Darlings of the Gods (1989), and by Anthony Gordon in Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980).
Laurence was the first thespian to receive both a Best Actor Oscar (for Hamlet, 1948) and a Worst Actor RAZZIE (for Inchon in 1982).
Laurence was named the #14 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by the American Film Institute
Laurence's ancestors were originally from France, but they fled to England around the 17th century as they were Protestants known as Huguenots, who were being persecuted by the majority Catholics.
Laurence modelled the accent for his character of "George Hurstwood," an American living in turn of the last century Chicago in Carrie (1952), on Spencer Tracy.
Laurence delivered one of the more eccentric acceptance speeches in 1979, upon receiving an Oscar statuette for Lifetime Achievement. His rundown of thanked Academy bigwigs, colleagues and friends included kudos to "my very noble and approved good masters," a quote from Shakespeare's Othello, Act I, Scene 3, line 77. (Olivier had received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for the role in 1966, losing out to Lee Marvin.) Characterizing the acceptance speech, John J. O'Connor of the 'New York Times' wrote, " Olivier lapsed into a curiously rambling, slightly sticky, extended metaphor about stars and firmaments."
Laurence was a life-long friend of Ralph Richardson, whom he met and befriended in London as a young acting student during the 1920s, he was dismayed that Richardson expected to play "Buckingham" in his film of Shakespeare's Richard III (1955). Olivier wanted Orson Welles, another friend, to play the role but could not deny his oldest friend. In his autobiography, Olivier says he wishes he had disappointed Richardson and cast Welles instead as he would have brought an extra element to the screen, an intelligence that would have gone well with the plot element of conspiracy.
In Laurence's 1983 autobiography Confessions of an Actor, Olivier writes that upon meeting Marilyn Monroe preparatory to the commencement of production of The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), he was convinced he was going to fall in love with her. During production, Olivier bore the brunt of Marilyn's famous indiscipline and wound up despising her. However, he admits that she was wonderful in the film, the best thing in it, her performance overshadowing his own, and that the final result was worth the aggravation.
According to producer Robert Evans, he could not obtain insurance for Laurence to appear in Marathon Man (1976). He went ahead with Olivier despite the obstacle. Evans and the rest of the production members, particularly Dustin Hoffman, were quite charmed by the man Hoffman called "Sir."
According to Laurence in his autobiography Confessions of an Actor, when he went to Hollywood in the early 1930s as the "next Ronald Colman", one studio wanted to change his name to "Larry Oliver." He often wondered what his career would have been like if he kept that less-distinguished name, whether his career would have been as sorry as the name.
Laurence's oldest son by Jill Esmond, Tarquin Olivier, says in his 1993 memoir My Father Laurence Olivier that he was shocked when meeting his father in California in the early 1980s that he was dissatisfied with his career and felt something of a failure. Olivier belittled his own achievements and held up the career of Cary Grant as the paradigm of greatness. Grant, who had a fortune estimated at $70 million by Look Magazine in its February 23, 1971 issue (an amount equivalent to $300 million in 2003 dollars), was the person who presented Olivier with his career achievement Oscar in 1979. The two were acquaintances, never friends.
Laurence's oldest son Tarquin was 10 months old when Olivier left his mother, actress Jill Esmond, for Vivien Leigh in 1937. Despite Olivier virtually ignoring him after marrying Joan Plowright in 1961, he was extremely forgiving in his 1993 memoir My Father Laurence Olivier. Tarquin contends that the rumors about his father were becoming more outrageous with each new biography and dismissed the stories that Olivier had had affairs with Danny Kaye and Kenneth Tynan as "unforgivable garbage."
Laurence was chosen to play "Antonio" in Queen Christina (1933) but was rejected by Greta Garbo after an initial meeting at the studio. The part later went to Garbo's former lover John Gilbert, whose career had hit bottom after the advent of sound. In his autobiography Confessions of an Actor, Olivier says that he understands why she behaved the way she did, but in Felix Barker's 1953 The Oliviers - A Biography, it was plain that Olivier and his career were hurt by being rejected by the biggest star in Hollywood. Olivier had had to sail from England to America, and then sail back, all under the harsh glare of the Hollywood publicity machine.
Laurence wanted desperately to stage Guys and Dolls in the early 1970s as he dreamed of playing "Sky Masterston," but after stringing him along for several years, the board of governors of the National Theatre vetoed any chance of a production. After years of being hamstrung by the governors, Olivier resigned as artistic director in 1973 without being able to name his successor. The governors appointed Peter Hall, founder of the National Theatre's great rival, the Royal Shakespeare Company, as director to replace Olivier. The move is widely seen as an insult to Olivier, who had given up an incalculable fortune in potential earnings in the commercial theater and in motion pictures to make his dream of a National Theatre a reality. However, Olivier is to be honored by having the largest auditorium in the under-construction National Theatre building named after him.
Laurence was nominated for Broadway's 1958 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic) for The Entertainer, a role he recreated in an Oscar-nominated performanve in the film version of the same name, The Entertainer (1960). This was his only nomination for a Tony, an award he never won.
Laurence appeared with John Gielgud in Romeo and Juliet (1936) in which he and Gielgud alternated the roles of "Romeo" and "Mercutio." Gielgud got the better reviews in the lead of "Romeo," which spurred Olivier on to become a better actor.
The Society of London Theatre renamed The Society of West End Theatre Awards, which had been launched in 1976, "The Laurence Olivier Awards" in his honor in 1984. The annual awards are considered the most prestigious in the London theater world.
Turned down the role of "Humbert" in Lolita (1962). He originally agreed with Stanley Kubrick, his director on Spartacus (1960), to appear in his film of Vladimir Nabokov's controversial classic, but dropped out on the advice of his agent. Ironically, Kubrick shared the same agent.
In her autobiography, Limelight and After, Claire Bloom claims that her lover Laurence merely went through the motions during their affair in the mid-1950s. She thought Olivier seduced her as that was what a great actor was supposed to do.
Orson Welles wrote his novel Mr. Arkadian during an extended stay with Olivier and his wife Vivien Leigh. Welles was appearing at Olivier's St. James Theater in London at the time.
The Olivier Theatre, the largest theatre in the new National Theatre complex on the south bank of the Thames, opened on October 4, 1976 with Albert Finney playing Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine The Great, directed by Peter Hall . The Queen officially opened the National Theatre on October 25th. Ironically, the Olivier Theatre is walled with concrete that so deadens sound, actors now use microphones during performances, something unthinkable for a great stage actor known for his ability to project his voice to the top balconies of the largest theaters.
Laurence's acting in Hamlet (1948) is discussed by Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye.
Laurence once said that he always visualized the physical appearance of a character that he was going to play before he did anything else.
Laurence is considered by many people to be the greatest English-speaking actor of the twentieth century, even more so than Marlon Brando and Spencer Tracy.
Laurence was voted the 20th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Laurence was the father of four children: sons Tarquin and Richard, and daughters Julie Kate and Tamsin.
Laurence's film version of Shakespeare's Hamlet (1948) is still, as of 2004, the only film of a Shakespeare play to win the Oscar for Best Picture, and the only one to actually win an Oscar for acting (Laurence Olivier for Best Actor).
While performing a live production of Hamlet Laurence completely went blank during the "to be or not to be" soliloquy. He then sat down and remained there until he remembered the lines.
Laurence attended The Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Laurence was the brother-in-law of race car driver Jack Esmond
Laurence was the son-in-law of actress Eva Moore. She was Jack and Jill Esmond's mother.
Laurance was the son-in-law of actress Eva Moore. She was Jack and Jill Esmond's mother.
Laurence ranked tenth in the 2001 Orange Film Survey of greatest British actors.
His father, a clergyman, decided Laurence would become an actor.
Laurence's family nickname was "Kim."
Wife #1 Jill Esmond named Vivien Leigh - wife #2 - as co-respondent in her 1940 divorce from Laurence on grounds of adultery. Leigh named Joan Plowright - wife #3 - as co-respondent in her 1960 divorce from him, also on grounds of adultery.
Laurence and Roberto Benigni are the only two actors to have directed themselves in Oscar winning performances.
Laurence was seriously considered for what became Marlon Brando's role in The Godfather (1972).
Laurence was interred at Westminster Abbey, London, England, UK. He was only the second actor to receive this honor, along with the 19th century Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean.
Laurence was Knighted in 1947, made life peer in 1970, and awarded the Order of Merit in 1981.
Laurence ranked #46 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. (October 1997)
When Laurence was presenting at the Oscars in 1985, he forgot to name the Best Picture nominees. He simply opened the envelope and proclaimed, Amadeus (1984).
Laurence was 5' 10½" (1.79 m) tall.
Sir Laurence Olivier: You must have - besides intuition and sensitivity - a cutting edge that allows you to reach what you need. Also, you have to know life - b*stards included - and it takes a bit of one to know one, don't you think?
Sir Laurence Olivier: What is acting but lying and what is good lying but convincing lying? (the only acting advice he would ever give).
Sir Laurence Olivier: I'm England, that's all.
Sir Laurence Olivier: (on Method acting) All this talk about the Method, the Method! WHAT method? I thought each of us had our OWN method!
Sir Laurence Olivier: I don't know what is better than the work that is given to the actor — to teach the human heart the knowledge of itself.
Sir Laurence Olivier: The office of drama is to exercise, possibly to exhaust, human emotions. The purpose of comedy is to tickle those emotions into an expression of light relief; of tragedy, to wound them and bring the relief of tears. Disgust and terror are the other points of the compass.
Sir Laurence Olivier: I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, a great theater is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture. (His first address in the House of Lords, 1971)
Sir Laurence Olivier: We have all, at one time or another, been performers, and many of us still are — politicians, playboys, cardinals and kings.
Sir Laurence Olivier: I often think that could we creep behind the actor's eyes, we would find an attic of forgotten toys and a copy of the Doomsday Book.
Sir Laurence Olivier: When you're a young man, "Macbeth" is a character part. When you're older, it's a straight part. (On playing "Macbeth" at age 30 and age 48; May 1958)
Sir Laurence Olivier: I'm afraid I probably outrage the Method people.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Dear boy, it's called acting. (upon seeing Dustin Hoffman's "method" acting by not sleeping and making a mess of himself to get into character while shooting Marathon Man.)
Sir Laurence Olivier: One doesn't do everything for artistic reasons, dear boy. (When asked by Barry Norman why he had taken on the part of the "Mahdi" in Khartoum (1967) , for which he was so obviously ill-suited)
Sir Laurence Olivier: God, I mucked that up. I had no idea what I was saying but I didn't want to stop. (To 1979 Academy Awards show writer Buz Kohan, after receiving his honorary Oscar)
Sir Laurence Olivier: Oh, dear friends, am I supposed to speak after that? Cary, my dear old friend for many a year - from the earliest years of either of us working in this country - thank you for that beautiful citation and the trouble you have taken to make it and for all the warm generosities in it. Mr. President and governors of the Academy, committee members, fellows, my very noble and approved good masters, my colleagues, my friends, my fellow students. In the great wealth, the great firmament of your nation's generosities, this particular choice may be found by future generations to be a trifle eccentric, but the mere fact of it - the prodigal, pure, human kindness of it - must be seen as a beautiful star in the firmament which shines upon me at this moment, dazzling me a little, but filling me with warmth and the extraordinary elation, the euphoria that happens to so many of us at the first breath of the majestic glow of a new tomorrow. From the top of this moment, in the solace, in the kindly emotion that it is changing my soul and my heart at this moment, I thank you for this great gift which lends me such a very splendid part in this, your glorious occasion. Thank you. (Upon being awarded his second honorary Academy Award in 1979, an Oscar statuette for Lifetime Achievement, "for the full body of his work, for the unique achievements of his entire career and his lifetime of contribution to the art of film," presented by Cary Grant)
Sir Laurence Olivier: (To a young actress who complained she was not taken seriously because she was a blonde) But my dear, it was your decision!
(In his first address in the House of Lords, 1971)
Sir Laurence Olivier: I believe in the theater; I believe in it as the first glamorizer of thought. It restores dramatic dynamics and their relations to life size.
Sir Laurence Olivier: (On resentment at his forced retirement from the stage after he was fired by Britain's National Theater) I should be soaring away with my head tilted slightly toward the Gods, feeding on the caviar of Shakespeare... an actor must act.
Sir Laurence Olivier: I like to appear as a chameleon. So all my career I've attempted to disguise myself.
Sir Laurence Olivier: My stage successes have provided me with the greatest moments outside myself, my film successes the best moments, professionally, within myself.
Sir Laurence Olivier: The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Surely we have always acted; it is an instinct inherent in all of us. Some of us are better at it than others, but we all do it.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Acting is a masochistic form of exhibitionism. It is not quite the occupation of an adult.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Work is life for me, it is the only point of life - and with it there is almost religious belief that service is everything.
Sir Laurence Olivier: If I wasn't an actor, I think I'd have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life - it's an exhalation of life and I think I you probably need a little touch of madness.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Of all the things I've done in life, directing a motion picture is the most beautiful. It's the most exciting and the nearest than an interpretive craftsman, such as an actor can possibly get to being a creator.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Without acting I cannot breathe.
Sir Laurence Olivier: Acting is illusion, as much illusion as magic is, and not so much a matter of being real.