January 23, 2010

UK: British actress Jean Simmons is dead at 80

. LOS ANGELES, California / The Los Angeles Times / Breaking News / January 23, 2010 By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Jean Simmons, a radiant British actress who as a teenager appeared opposite Laurence Olivier in "Hamlet" and emerged a star whose career flourished in the 1950s and 1960s in such films as "Guys and Dolls, "Elmer Gantry" and "Spartacus," has died. She was 80. Simmons, who won an Emmy Award for her role in the 1980s miniseries "The Thorn Birds," died Friday evening at her home in Santa Monica, said Judy Page, her agent. She had lung cancer. Jean Simmons | 1929-2010 ( Universal Pictures ) Jean Simmons as Estella in the 1946 film "Great Expectations" Plucked from a dance class at 14 by a talent scout, she had already made several movies before gaining attention for her portrayal of the young Estella in David Lean's film adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel "Great Expectations." After Olivier cast her in his 1948 film "Hamlet," she received the first of two Academy Award nominations, for her role as the doomed Ophelia. More than 20 years later, she was nominated for her searing portrayal of an alcoholic wife in "The Happy Ending." [rc] Copyright 2010 Los Angeles Times