Jean Simmons - Actresses, Career and Life

Home  ›  British  ›  Jean SimmonsJanuary 31, 1929183 views

0.0 based on 0 rates

Jean Simmons's Personal Details

Jean Merilyn Simmons was a charming and captivating British actress, who became one of the prominent screen goddesses of the mid-twentieth century.

InformationDetail
BirthdayJanuary 31, 1929
Died onJanuary 22, 2010
NationalityBritish
FamousFilm & Theater Personalities, Actresses
SpousesStewart Granger
SiblingsEdna Simmons, Harold Simmons, Lorna Simmons
Known asJean Merilyn Simmons, Jean Simmonds, Jean Merilyn Simmons, OBE
Childrens Kate Brooks, Tracy Granger
Birth PlaceLower Holloway, London, England, UK
GenderFemale
FatherCharles Simmons
MotherWinifred Simmons
Sun SignAquarius
Born inLower Holloway, London, England, UK
Famous asActress
Died at Age80

// Famous Film & Theater Personalities

Jean Simmons's photo

Who is Jean Simmons?

Jean Merilyn Simmons was a charming and captivating British actress, who became one of the prominent screen goddesses of the mid-twentieth century. She made it to the covers of the ‘Time’ and ‘Life’ magazines in her twenties. While she featured mostly in films produced in Great Britain during and post the ‘World War II’, from 1950s she worked extensively in Hollywood. In a career span of over six decades, she worked with many renowned directors like Val Guest, David Lean and Stanley Kubrick and starred opposite leading actors like Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando and Richard Burton. This classy and talented beauty left a mark by her spectacular performances in big-screen films like ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘The Happy Ending’. In 1956, she received ‘Golden Globe Awards’ in the category of ‘Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy’ for her memorable performance in ‘Guys and Dolls’. She also worked in many TV films like ‘Inherit the Wind’ and ‘A Small Killing’ and series like ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘The Thorn Birds’. The latter won her ‘Primetime Emmy Awards’. In 2003 she was honoured with ‘OBE’ for her contributions and services to films.

// Famous Actresses

Childhood & Early Life

She was born on January 31, 1929, in Lower Holloway, London, to Charles Simmons and Winifred (née Loveland) Simmons as their youngest child among four children.

Her father was a gymnast who won a bronze medal at the 1912 Summer Olympics and later worked as a gymnastic instructor and physical education teacher.

She was a very exuberant and lively child and grew up with her three siblings Edna, Lorna and Harold.

She studied at ‘Orange Hill School for Girls’ in Golders Green.

As the ‘Second World War’ broke in 1939, her family was evacuated to Winscombe, a village in North Somerset, where her father taught at the ‘Sidcot School’ for a while. During this time, little Simmons used to accompany her elder sister and sing songs at the village stage.

She returned to London in 1943 and started attending ‘Ada Foster School of Dance’ along with her sister Edna. After a couple of weeks, film director Val Guest visited the school. He was searching for a vivacious young girl to cast as Heidi, the precocious sister of Nina played by Margaret Lockwood, for his upcoming comedy film, ‘Give Us the Moon’ (1944). Simmons was selected and albeit inexperienced, she proved her mettle with her performance in the film, impressing all with her implicit talent at such a young age.

Career

During 1944-45 she worked in several other British films doing small roles including the most expensive British Technicolor film of that time, ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’ (1945), directed and produced by Gabriel Pascal. Pascal signed Simmons to a seven year contract.

Her next prominent portrayal was that of Estela in the film ‘Great Expectations’ directed by David Lean. The film based on a novel by Charles Dickens was released on December 26, 1946. According to her, this film changed her perception about filming, which till such time was only ‘fun and games’ for her, and from that time onwards she seriously contemplated taking up acting as a career.

After seeing her performance as Estela, Laurence Olivier resolved to cast her as Ophelia in his film ‘Hamlet’ (1948) and requested ‘Rank Organisation’, with whom she was contract-bound, to allot thirty days of her time, which they granted. The film brought her into limelight earning her international stardom and also fetched her first ‘Academy Awards’ nomination. After the film was released in the US, she was featured on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine.

Her other notable performances during this period includes films like ‘Black Narcissus’ and ‘Uncle Silas’ in 1947; and ‘The Blue Lagoon’ and ‘Adam and Evelyne’ in 1949.

Although Laurence Olivier extended her the scope to work and study at the British theatre company ‘Bristol Old Vic’, ‘Rank Organisation’ with whom she was contract-bound disapproved the idea.

In 1950 Simmons was voted Britain’s 4th most popular star.

In 1951 ‘Rank’ sold Simmons’ contract to American business tycoon Howard Hughes, who at that time owned the American film production and distribution company ‘RKO Pictures’.

Since early 1950s, she made a transition from a predominantly British film career to an American one. Over the years she executed several roles with great success and élan in films like ‘Angel Face’ (1952), ‘The Robe’ (1953), ‘The Egyptian’ (1954), ‘Guys and Dolls’ (1955), ‘Elmer Gantry’ (1960) and ‘All the Way Home’ (1963).

She bagged several awards during this period that include ‘Golden Globe Award’, ‘National Board of Review Award’ and ‘Laurel Award’. Her performance in the drama film ‘The Happy Ending’ (1969) directed by her husband Richard Brooks fetched her second ‘Academy Awards’ nomination.

After the 1970s she concentrated more on television and stage performances. She performed as Desiree Armfeldt in the US national tour of the Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘A Little Night Music’. She performed in the musical for three years that include the show’s production in the West End of London.

Her performance as Fee Cleary in the television mini-series, ‘The Thorn Birds’ won her the ‘Primetime Emmy Awards’ for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie’ in 1983. Some of the other series that she worked in are ‘North and South’ (1985), ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ (1991), ‘Dark Shadows’ (1991) and ‘In The Heat of the Night’ (1994). Her TV films include The Easter Promise (1975), ‘A Small Killing’ (1981), ‘Inherit the Wind’ (1988) and ‘Shadows in the Sun’ (2009).

Two of her later big-screen flicks were ‘The Dawning’ (1988) starring along with Hugh Grant and Antony Hopkins and ‘How to Make an American Quilt’ (1995) with Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft and Ellen Burstyn.

She lent her voice as Grandma Sophie in the Japanese animated fantasy film, ‘Howl's Moving Castle’ (2004) and also as Shepway in the Hong Kong–produced 3D-CGI feature film, ‘Thru the Moebius Strip’ (2005).

Personal Life & Legacy

She married English film actor Stewart Granger on December 20, 1950, in Tucson, Arizona. She starred with Granger in many films. The couple became citizens of the United States in 1956 and their daughter Tracy Granger was born the same year. They got divorced in 1960.

She got married for the second time on November 1, 1960, to American film director and screenwriter Richard Brooks. In 1961, their daughter Kate Brooks was born. The couple divorced in 1980.

Though she lived and owned a home in New Milford, Connecticut in the late 1970s, later she settled for good in Santa Monica.

On January 22, 2010, she succumbed to lung cancer at her home. Her cremation ceremony was performed in Santa Monica and the remains were buried at the ‘Highgate Cemetery’ in London.

Humanitarian Work

Simmons, who herself faced challenges and fought her own battle with alcohol addiction, never shied away from speaking publicly about her own ordeal due to the addiction. In 2003, she became a patron of ‘Release’, a British drug and human rights charity and the oldest independent drugs charity in the world.

She signed a petition in 2005 addressed to the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair appealing not to upgrade cannabis or marijuana from a class C drug to a class B one.

// Famous British

Jean Simmons awards

YearNameAward

Golden Globe Awards

1956Best Actress - Comedy or MusicalGuys and Dolls (1955)

Primetime Emmy Awards

1983Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a SpecialThe Thorn Birds (1983)

Jean Simmons biography timelines

  • // 1912
    Her father was a gymnast who won a bronze medal at the 1912 Summer Olympics and later worked as a gymnastic instructor and physical education teacher.
  • // 31st Jan 1929
    She was born on January 31, 1929, in Lower Holloway, London, to Charles Simmons and Winifred (née Loveland) Simmons as their youngest child among four children.
  • // 1939
    As the ‘Second World War’ broke in 1939, her family was evacuated to Winscombe, a village in North Somerset, where her father taught at the ‘Sidcot School’ for a while. During this time, little Simmons used to accompany her elder sister and sing songs at the village stage.
  • // 1943 To 1944
    She returned to London in 1943 and started attending ‘Ada Foster School of Dance’ along with her sister Edna. After a couple of weeks, film director Val Guest visited the school. He was searching for a vivacious young girl to cast as Heidi, the precocious sister of Nina played by Margaret Lockwood, for his upcoming comedy film, ‘Give Us the Moon’ (1944). Simmons was selected and albeit inexperienced, she proved her mettle with her performance in the film, impressing all with her implicit talent at such a young age.
  • // 1944 To 1945
    During 1944-45 she worked in several other British films doing small roles including the most expensive British Technicolor film of that time, ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’ (1945), directed and produced by Gabriel Pascal. Pascal signed Simmons to a seven year contract.
  • // 26th Dec 1946
    Her next prominent portrayal was that of Estela in the film ‘Great Expectations’ directed by David Lean. The film based on a novel by Charles Dickens was released on December 26, 1946. According to her, this film changed her perception about filming, which till such time was only ‘fun and games’ for her, and from that time onwards she seriously contemplated taking up acting as a career.
  • // 1947 To 1949
    Her other notable performances during this period includes films like ‘Black Narcissus’ and ‘Uncle Silas’ in 1947; and ‘The Blue Lagoon’ and ‘Adam and Evelyne’ in 1949.
  • // 1948
    After seeing her performance as Estela, Laurence Olivier resolved to cast her as Ophelia in his film ‘Hamlet’ (1948) and requested ‘Rank Organisation’, with whom she was contract-bound, to allot thirty days of her time, which they granted. The film brought her into limelight earning her international stardom and also fetched her first ‘Academy Awards’ nomination. After the film was released in the US, she was featured on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine.
  • // 1950
    In 1950 Simmons was voted Britain’s 4th most popular star.
  • // 1951
    In 1951 ‘Rank’ sold Simmons’ contract to American business tycoon Howard Hughes, who at that time owned the American film production and distribution company ‘RKO Pictures’.
  • // 1969
    She bagged several awards during this period that include ‘Golden Globe Award’, ‘National Board of Review Award’ and ‘Laurel Award’. Her performance in the drama film ‘The Happy Ending’ (1969) directed by her husband Richard Brooks fetched her second ‘Academy Awards’ nomination.
  • // 1988 To 1995
    Two of her later big-screen flicks were ‘The Dawning’ (1988) starring along with Hugh Grant and Antony Hopkins and ‘How to Make an American Quilt’ (1995) with Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft and Ellen Burstyn.
  • // 2003
    Simmons, who herself faced challenges and fought her own battle with alcohol addiction, never shied away from speaking publicly about her own ordeal due to the addiction. In 2003, she became a patron of ‘Release’, a British drug and human rights charity and the oldest independent drugs charity in the world.
  • // 2004 To 2005
    She lent her voice as Grandma Sophie in the Japanese animated fantasy film, ‘Howl's Moving Castle’ (2004) and also as Shepway in the Hong Kong–produced 3D-CGI feature film, ‘Thru the Moebius Strip’ (2005).
  • // 2005
    She signed a petition in 2005 addressed to the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair appealing not to upgrade cannabis or marijuana from a class C drug to a class B one.
  • // 22nd Jan 2010
    On January 22, 2010, she succumbed to lung cancer at her home. Her cremation ceremony was performed in Santa Monica and the remains were buried at the ‘Highgate Cemetery’ in London.

// Aquarius Celebrities

Jean Simmons's FAQ

  • What is Jean Simmons birthday?

    Jean Simmons was born at 1929-01-31

  • When was Jean Simmons died?

    Jean Simmons was died at 2010-01-22

  • Where was Jean Simmons died?

    Jean Simmons was died in Santa Monica, California, U.S.

  • Which age was Jean Simmons died?

    Jean Simmons was died at age 80

  • Where is Jean Simmons's birth place?

    Jean Simmons was born in Lower Holloway, London, England, UK

  • What is Jean Simmons nationalities?

    Jean Simmons's nationalities is British

  • Who is Jean Simmons spouses?

    Jean Simmons's spouses is Stewart Granger

  • Who is Jean Simmons siblings?

    Jean Simmons's siblings is Edna Simmons, Harold Simmons, Lorna Simmons

  • Who is Jean Simmons childrens?

    Jean Simmons's childrens is Kate Brooks, Tracy Granger

  • Who is Jean Simmons's father?

    Jean Simmons's father is Charles Simmons

  • Who is Jean Simmons's mother?

    Jean Simmons's mother is Winifred Simmons

  • What is Jean Simmons's sun sign?

    Jean Simmons is Aquarius

  • How famous is Jean Simmons?

    Jean Simmons is famouse as Actress