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Thread: Actress Jean Simmons, dead at 80

  1. #1
    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Oct 2005

    Default Actress Jean Simmons, dead at 80

    Source: AP through Yahoo News

    Guys and Dolls' actress Jean Simmons dies at 80

    LOS ANGELES Jean Simmons, whose ethereal screen presence and starring
    roles with Hollywood's top actors made her a mid-century film icon, has died
    at age 80.

    The actress, who sang with Marlon Brando in "Guys and Dolls," costarred with
    Gregory Peck and played Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, died Friday at
    her home in Santa Monica, her agent Judy Page told the Los Angeles Times.
    She had lung cancer.

    Already a stunning beauty at 14, Simmons made her movie debut in the 1944
    British production "Give Us the Moon."

    Several minor films followed before British director David Lean gave the
    London-born actress her breakthrough role of Estella, companion to the
    reclusive Miss Havisham in 1946's "Great Expectations." That was followed
    by the exotic "Black Narcissus," and then Olivier's Oscar-winning "Hamlet" in
    1948, for which Simmons was nominated as best supporting actress.

    She would be nominated for another Oscar, for best actress for 1969's
    "The Happy Ending," before moving largely to television roles in the 1970s,
    '80s and '90s.

    She won an Emmy Award for her role in the 1980s miniseries "The Thorn

    Her other notable films included "Elmer Gantry" (with Burt Lancaster), "Until
    They Sail" (with Newman), "The Big Country" (Peck), "Spartacus," (Douglas),
    "This Earth Is Mine" (Rock Hudson), "All the Way Home" (Robert Preston),
    "Mister Buddwing" (James Garner) and "Rough Night in Jericho" (Dean Martin).

    Simmons had left Britain for Hollywood in 1950, accompanied by her future
    husband Stewart Granger. There, they were befriended by reclusive tycoon
    Howard Hughes, who flew them to Tucson, Ariz., for a surprise wedding.

    "When I returned from the honeymoon," Simmons told a reporter in 1964, "I
    learned that Hughes owned me he had bought me from (British producer)
    J. Arthur Rank like a piece of meat."

    What followed was a string of films that she would later dismiss as terrible,
    although she took some solace in the fact Hughes, legendary in those days
    as a womanizer, never bothered her.

    "I was married to Jimmy (Granger's real name was James Stewart), so Hughes
    remained at a distance," she recalled. "But those movies! So terrible they
    aren't even on videocassettes."

    Among the titles: "Angel Face," "Affair with a Stranger" and "She Couldn't
    Say No."

    Simmons finally ended up suing Hughes for the right to make more prestigious
    films at other studios, and the result was "Young Bess" (as young Queen
    Elizabeth I), "The Robe" (the first movie filmed in CinemaScope), "The
    Actress," "The Egyptian" and "Desiree."

    In the latter film, in 1954, she played the title role opposite Brando's

    The pair teamed again in 1955 for "Guys and Dolls," the Samuel Goldwyn-
    produced musical in which Simmons is Sarah Brown, a Salvation Army-style
    reformer conned into a weekend fling in Havana by gambler Sky Masterson.

    She loved the rehearsals for that film, Simmons recalled in 1988, "especially
    the dancing routines with Marlon trying not to step on me and choreographer
    Michael Kidd looking very worried."

    "I got to sing," she added, "because Sam Goldwyn said, `You might as well
    wreck it with your own voice than somebody else's.'"

    By the 1970s, her career as a lead film actress had ended, but Simmons
    continued to work regularly on stage and in television.

    In the 1980s and '90s she appeared on such television shows as "Murder,
    She Wrote," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Xena: Warrior Princess." She
    also appeared in numerous TV movies and miniseries, including a 1991
    version of "Great Expectations," in which she played Miss Havisham this

    The careers of both Simmons and her husband Granger had flourished in the
    1950s, he as a swashbuckler, she as the demure heroine. But long absences
    on film locations strained their relationship, and they divorced in 1960. They
    had a daughter, Tracy.

    Shortly after her divorce, Simmons married Richard Brooks, who had directed
    her in "Elmer Gantry" and would again in "The Happy Ending." Their marriage,
    which produced a daughter, Kate, ended in divorce in 1977.

    Jean in 2005

    Jean in 1965

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

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    Oct 2005


    RIP. She was such a beautiful woman.

  3. #3
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Oct 2005


    Looking at the poster with Brando makes me laugh. Today her little pudge of a chin would have been airbrushed from here to oblivian. She was cute as hell.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    May 2006


    Oh I'm sad. I get so sad as the classic one's leave us.

    "If I were a bell I'd be ringing" and The Thorn Birds is what I think of. How I did not know she was married to Stewart Granger is beyond my classic movie lovin comprehension.

  5. #5
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    in a van down by the river


    i absolutely loved her in Spartacus, her beauty was breathtaking.

    she also appeared in an episode of Star Trek.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
    Lighten Up Francis WCG

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Oct 2005



    ^Jean in the 1949 version of The Blue Lagoon!

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

  7. #7
    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Oct 2005


    I'd forgotten she played Patrick Swayze's (Orry Main) mother on
    North and South!

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

  8. #8
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    you already know.


    she was so striking!

  9. #9
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    Wow, he sure changed a lot after the Family Jewels TV show.
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances


    "What's traitors, precious?" -- President Gollum

  10. #10
    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    In the "D"


    She remained beautiful, didn't she? RIP.

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