Laurence Olivier

English actor and director (1907–1989)

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an English actor and director. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century.[1] He was the youngest actor to be knighted and the first to be raised to the peerage.[2] Olivier married English actresses Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh and Joan Plowright.

The Lord Olivier

Olivier in 1972
Laurence Kerr Olivier

(1907-05-22)22 May 1907
Died11 July 1989(1989-07-11) (aged 82)
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
Years active1925–1988
WorksFull list
  • (m. 1930; div. 1940)
  • (m. 1940; div. 1960)
  • (m. 1961)
AwardsFull list

Actor Spencer Tracy said that Olivier was 'the greatest actor in the English-speaking world'.[3] In 1999, the American Film Institute named Olivier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, at number 14 on the list.

Olivier had many awards: twelve Oscar nominations, with two wins (for Best Actor and Best Picture for the 1948 film Hamlet), plus two honorary awards including a statuette and certificate. He was awarded five Emmy Awards. He was a three-time Golden Globe and BAFTA winner. In 1976 he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, a lifetime achievement award.

Olivier's ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.


  1. Hodgdon, Barbara. Shakespeare Quarterly, "From the Editor", Fall, 2002
  2. "Picks and Pans: Pages; Midnight Sweets". People Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  3. Tracy quoted in By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall (Harper Paperbacks 2006), pp. 214-15.