Biography: Laurence Kerr Olivier was born on May 22, 1907 in Dorking, Surrey to Agnes Crookenden Olivier and Gerard Olivier, a priest of the Church of England. He attended the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, and then joined the Birmingham Repertory Company. He became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He performed with the Old Vic, and then returned there as a co-director in 1944. He was the founder and first artistic director of the National Theater of Britain. He married actress Jill Esmond, with whom he had his son Tarquin Olivier. He then married actress Vivien Leigh and then actress Joan Plowright, with whom he had three children.
Film/TV Credits: Film credits include: "Spartacus," "A Bridge Too Far," "Romeo and Juliet," "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution," "Clash of the Titans," "Rebecca," "The Bounty," "Marathon Man," "Pride and Prejudice," "The Boys from Brazil," "The Prince and the Showgirl," "Sleuth," "A Little Romance," "Wuthering Heights," and "Dracula." Television credits include: "Great Performances," "American Masters," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Mike Douglas Show," "Arena," "King Lear," "Wagner," "ITV Play of the Week," "David Copperfield," and "Love Among the Ruins."
Other Awards: Received an Honorary Award at the Oscars for "The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fifth with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France" in 1947. Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "Hamlet" in 1949. Received a lifetime achievement Honorary Award at the Oscars in 1979. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor (Lead or Support) for "The Moon and Sixpence" in 1960. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for "Long Day's Journey Into Night" in 1973. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy for "Love Among the Ruins" in 1975. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for "Brideshead Revisited" in 1982. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for "King Lear" in 1984. Received a star on the Walk of Fame in 1960.
Trivia: He was knighted in 1947, and raised to life peerage in 1970. His 1982 autobiography was entitled ''Confessions of an Actor.'' He published "On Acting" in 1986. The marquees of Broadway theaters were dimmed in his honor on July 12, 1989.