A Tribute to Jean Simmons
It is debatable whether any actress ever portrayed a better combination of strength and vulnerability than Jean Simmons. The beautiful British-born actress got her start at age 14 and, like Elizabeth Taylor and Natalie Wood, dazzled from the beginning, landing her first big role as young Estella in the best screen version of Great Expectations in 1946.
The 19-year-old then appeared with Sir Laurence Olivier as Ophelia in the 1948 version of Hamlet, also acknowledged as the best screen version of that play. For that performance she received the first of her two Oscar nominations, as well as the Best Actress award in the Venice Film Festival.
The following year she appeared in the original Blue Lagoon, in the role later filled by Brooke Shields. In 1952 she seduced Robert Mitchum inAngel Face and in 1953 played a youthful pre-Queen Elizabeth in Young Bess, starring opposite her husband Stewart Granger, who she had married in 1950. Her daughter Tracy was born in 1955, the same year she appeared in Guys and Dolls, for which she won a Golden Globe award. 1958’s The Big Country, a Western with Gregory Peck, Burl Ives, and Charlton Heston, was also one of her memorable roles in the 50s.
1960 was probably the peak of Jean’s career, when she co-starred with Kirk Douglas in Spartacus and Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry, and later married the latter’s director, Richard Brooks, after being divorced from Stewart Granger in 1960. And just to prove her versatility, she also appeared in a comedy, The Grass is Greener, with Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum, and Deborah Kerr.
Jean received her second Oscar nomination in 1970 for The Happy Ending. She appeared in three more theatrical films in the 70s, then a series of TV movies and miniseries during the 1980s and early 90s. Jean returned to the big screen in 1995’s How to Make an American Quilt and appeared in a number of TV movies and series after that, as well as doing a number of notable voiceover performances.
Jean passed away in January, 2010, just shy of her 81st birthday.
Jean Simmons Tributes/Pages
- A Tribute to Jean Simmons – The first dedicated Jean Simmons site includes a biography and image gallery. No longer being updated.
- Meredy’s Jean Simmons Trivia Mania
- Internet Movie Database – Includes bio, filmography, links, and more.
Selected Reviews of Jean Simmons’ Best Films
- Elmer Gantry (1960) – Review by Tim Dirks from The Greatest Films.
- Great Expectations (1946) – Review from The CinemaLaser #13.
- Guys and Dolls (1955) – From At-A-Glance Film Reviews.
- Spartacus (1960) – Review by Frank Maloney from rec.arts.movies.reviews.
- Spartacus – from Films on Disc.
Where To Find Or See Jean Simmons Films
Jean Simmons Photos/Art On The Web
- Doug Stickney’s Silver Screen Sirens – Jean Simmons Gallery
Jean Simmons Movie Posters On The Web
All Jean Simmons Posters from our Classic Movies Poster Store.
How to write to Jean Simmons:
c/o A. Morgan Maree & Associates
1145 Gayley Ave. #303
Lost Angeles, CA 90024