Click for large image
Jean Simmons was born in London, England in 1929. When she was just 14 she got her first movie role and after some minor parts over the next two years she was Young Estella in David Lean's Great Expectations, and that led to much bigger and better roles. The next year she was in Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus, the following year she was Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for this film), and the following year she was the girl stranded on a desert island in The Blue Lagoon. She was under contract to Rank, but they sold her contract to eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes in 1950, and she also then married actor Stewart Granger, who was 16 years older than her, and had appeared in Caesar and Cleopatra with her when she was just 16, and again in Adam and Evelyne when she was 20 (which oddly enough, was a movie about a man in his thirties who falls in love with a teenager). Hughes really had no clue what to do with her, but she did make the excellent film noir Angel Face, directed by Otto Preminger. But her other roles for Hughes were so lackluster that she sued to be let out of her contract and won, and remained independent the rest of her career, so she could never again be forced to make a lesser movie. In the later 1950s she appeared in many major Hollywood productions, but the two that stand out the most for me are as Sergeant Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, and as Julie Maragon in The Big Country. In 1960 she was at the top of her stardom, but husband's Stewart Granger's career was on the skids, and they divorced, and she immediately re-married director Richard Brooks (who was 17 years her senior) and she starred in his adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' Elmer Gantry, as Sister Sharon Falconer, and that same year she starred opposite Kirk Douglas in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, and also found time to co-star in Stanley Donen's romantic comedy The Grass Is Greener! That was the peak of her career, but she continued acting for decades in films such as Happy Ending (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for this film), before passing away on January 22, 2010, just shy of her 81st birthday.
view gallery of sold items featuring Jean Simmons