Laurence Olivier

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The Lord Olivier
BirthplaceDorking, Surrey, England, UK
Actor, director, producer, screenwriter
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Olivier, Laurence


Born May 22, 1907, in Dorking, Surrey. British actor and director.

Olivier graduated from the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, where he studied under E. Fogerty. He made his first appearance at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1922 as Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew. From 1926 to 1928, Olivier was with the Birmingham Repertory company; he later performed at various theaters in London and New York. In 1929 he began to act in films.

Olivier has worked both as a stage director and a managing director of the Old Vic Theatre (1944–49, with R. Richardson and J. Burrell), St. James’s Theatre (1951–52), the Chichester Festival Theatre (1962–63), and the National Theatre (1963–73).

Olivier is one of the greatest Shakespearean actors. He has played the title roles in Hamlet, Richard III, Henry V, Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus, and Othello. His other roles have included Oedipus in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Astrov in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, and Archie Rice in Osborne’s The Entertainer. Olivier’s heroes are courageous, strong-willed, rebellious people, full of strength and passion. Aloof from an overconcern with self-analysis, Olivier emphasizes the primacy of reason and a sense of reality.


Darlington, W. A. Laurence Olivier. [London, 1968.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Laurence Olivier is under attack at the Rep in The Silver Box in 1927, while (below) Julie Christie performs in the 1963 Christmas Revue Between These Four Walls
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Mark Rylance, the former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, and Sir Derek Jacobi, who recently won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, will speak of their concerns about "the man from Stratford" in a debate at Brunel University, west London.
Earlier this year, the much-decorated Canadian baritone was nominated for two Juno Awards and for a Laurence Olivier Award to recognize his performance as Golaud in Covent Garden's production of Pelleas et Melisande.
Now available (Henry Holt and Co.) Terry Coleman's new biography of the legendary Laurence Olivier portrays him as more of a heterosexual than previous books have, but his life remains fascinating.
A partial list of images would include Laurence Olivier as Hamlet, Manhattan absent Central Park, a hand holding some gems, birds in flight, and a flip-book in the final pages whose subject matter should not be disclosed.
He described the awesome moment when he won his Laurence Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical, and the amazing welcome he got in the States as winner of this most coveted award.