Jean Simmons

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Jean Simmons

Jean Merilyn Simmons (* 31 January 1929 in London , England ; † 22. January 2010 in Santa Monica , California ) was one of the UK coming actress .


Jean Simmons was born into a large family. Her father was a gymnastics teacher. She attended Orange Hill School in London and originally wanted to be a ballet dancer. At the age of 14 she was accepted into the Aida Foster School of Dancing and discovered two weeks later by a talent scout for the film. Without any test recording, she was selected from 200 applicants in 1943 to play Margaret Lockwood's sister in Give Us the Moon . Two years later, she was best known for playing the young Estella in Inheritance , David Lean's adaptation of Charles Dickens ' novel Great Expectations . Their popularity could with her portrayal of a frivolous girl in Black Narcissus ( Black Narcissus , 1947) next to Deborah Kerr still increase. Laurence Olivier chose her to play Ophelia in his adaptation of Hamlet (1948). Simmons was nominated for an Oscar for her intense portrayal as Best Supporting Actress .

In 1950 she married her colleague Stewart Granger , and they both went to Hollywood , where Simmons signed a non-exclusive contract with Howard Hughes for three films for $ 66,666 each. Neither of them got along well, and out of anger Simmons cut her hair hours before shooting of Otto Preminger's film noir Engelsgesicht ( Angel Face , 1952), so that she played the role of a morally depraved rich woman who drove her chauffeur with her sexual greed , played by Robert Mitchum , tear to his death, had to play with a wig. She also established herself at 20th Century Fox as a star in monumental films such as Das Gewand ( The Robe , 1953), Sinuhe the Egyptians ( The Egyptian , 1954) and, above all, Spartacus (1960). In 1958 she played the leading female role alongside Gregory Peck in the "anti-western" Weites Land (The Big Country) . In 1960 she divorced Stewart Granger and married director Richard Brooks . This gave her a role in his adaptation of Elmer Gantry (1960), for which she received excellent reviews. In the 1960s, Simmons got increasingly difficult a role that seemed appropriate to her talent. Exceptions were the comedy The Grass Is Greener (The Grass Is Greener) , which brought them together again with Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum in 1960, and the role of a grieving widow in the literature A butterfly flew up ( All the Way Home , 1963) by James Agee . Simmons was nominated for a second Oscar for her portrayal in the frivolous bedroom farce Happy Ending for a Marriage (The Happy Ending) from 1969. She also appeared on the stage of the Los Angeles Theater in the 1960s .

In the 1980s and 1990s Simmons was only seen sporadically in cinema productions. She now worked mostly for television; Among other things, she appeared in the multi-part civil war epic Torches in the Storm and in a multi-part version of Great Expectations ( Great Expectations , 1989) produced by the Disney Group , in which she took on the role of Miss Havisham . For her portrayal in the multi-part Die Dornenvögel ( The Thorn Birds , 1983) she received an Emmy and a nomination for the Golden Globe . In the successful miniseries Torches in the Storm , Simmons played the mother of Patrick Swayze's character. In 1995 she was a member of the An American Quilt ensemble with Winona Ryder , Anne Bancroft and Ellen Burstyn . In 2009 she made her last cinema appearance with the family drama Shadows in the Sun.

Jean Simmons, who became a US citizen in 1956, lived in Santa Monica , California, and had two daughters from marriages with actor Stewart Granger (1950–1960) and director and screenwriter Richard Brooks (1960–1977) . At times she suffered from alcohol problems , in 1986 she underwent rehab . Simmons died of lung cancer in 2010 at the age of 80 .

Gene Simmons , bassist of hard rock - band Kiss , derives its stage name from Jean Simmons.

Filmography (selection)


Web links

Commons : Jean Simmons  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Jean Simmons is dead ( memento of the original from January 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at, January 23, 2010 (accessed on January 23, 2010) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. cf. Jean Simmons . In: International celebrity register: US edition / editor-in-chief: Cleveland Amory. - New York: Celebrity Register, 1958 (accessed January 23, 2010 via WBIS Online )
  3. a b cf. Jean Simmons . In: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 47/1998 from November 9, 1998 (accessed on January 23, 2010 via LexisNexis Wirtschaft )
  4. Entry at
  5. Jean Simmons at Find a Grave