Jan. 31st, 1929
Crouch Hill, London, England, UK
Jean Simmons' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2005 - Thru the Moebius Strip
2001 - Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
1995 - How To Make An American Quilt
1960 - Spartacus
1960 - Elmer Gantry
1958 - The Big Country
1955 - Footsteps in the Fog
1954 - The Egyptian
1954 - A Bullet Is Waiting
1954 - Desirée
1953 - The Robe
1952 - Angel Face
1948 - Hamlet
1947 - Black Narcissus
1946 - Great Expectations
Guest TV Roles
Admiral Nora Satie
Demure British beauty Jean Simmons was born January 31, 1929, in Crouch End, London. As a 14-year-old dance student she was plucked from her school to play Margaret Lockwood's precocious sister in Give Us the Moon (1944), and she went on to make a name for herself in such major British productions as Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), Great Expectations (1946) (as the spoiled, selfish Estella), Black Narcissus (1947) (as a sultry native beauty), Hamlet (1948) (playing Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's great Dane and earning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), The Blue Lagoon (1949) and So Long at the Fair (1950), among others.
In 1950 she married actor Stewart Granger (I) and that same year starred in the Frank Sinatra/Marlon Brando musical Guys and Dolls (1955/I); she used her own singing voice and earned her first Golden Globe Award. Simmons divorced Granger in 1960 and almost immediately married writer-director Richard Brooks (I), who cast her as Sister Sharon opposite Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry (1960), a memorable adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel. That same year she costarred with Kirk Douglas (I) in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus (1960) and played a would-be homewrecker opposite Cary Grant in The Grass Is Greener (1960).
Off the screen for a few years, she captivated moviegoers with a brilliant performance as the mother in All the Way Home (1963), a literate, tasteful adaptation of James Agee's "A Death in the Family." After that, however, she found quality projects somewhat harder to come by, and took work in Life at the Top (1965), Mister Buddwing (1966), Divorce American Style (1967), Rough Night in Jericho (1967), The Happy Ending (1969) (a Richard Brooks film for which she was again Oscar-nominated, this time as Best Actress).
Jean continued making films well into the 1970s. In the 1980s she mainly appeared in TV mini-series, such as "North and South" (1985) and "The Thorn Birds" (1983). Jean made a comeback to films in 1995 in How to Make an American Quilt (1995) co-starring Winona Ryder and Anne Bancroft (I), and most recently played the elderly Sophie in the English version of Hayao Miyazaki's Hauru no ugoku shiro (2004). She now resides in Santa Monica, California, with her dog Mr. Gates and her two cats, Adisson and Megan.
- Naturalized U.S. citizen.
- Turned down the role of Jean Pargetter in the British TV series _"As Time Goes By" (1992)_ (qv).
- In America from the early 1950s, Jean found out that RKO head 'Howard Hughes (I)' (qv) had purchased the remaining six months of her Rank Studio contract. When Hughes claimed that an oral agreement with Rank precluded her from being loaned out to any other studio, she sued RKO. The legal battle raged for over a year. When the suit was finally settled, RKO had a three-year contract for Jean's services but was obligated to pay her $250,000 in addition to her legal fees. Furthermore, she won the right to work on loan to other studios at a substantial salary.
- Was William Wyler's first choice for the role of Princess Ann in _Roman Holiday (1953)_ (qv), but Howard Hughes, who owned her contract, wouldn't loan her out to Paramount to do the film.
- Her mother was Winifred Aida Loveland. Her father, Charles Simmons, won a bronze medal in the Olympics for Great Britain in artistic gymnastics and died, when Jean was 13, from an ulcer.
- Played Desiree Armfeldt singing "Send In the Clowns" in the London production of "A Little Night Music" in 1975. It ran for two years.
- She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
- Even before her American debut, she was revered and beloved by both the British critics and filmgoers. By the end of 1950, she was the #4 box office attraction, American or British, in British cinema.
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