Jill Esmond

Actor
Elegant, sophisticated British lead and supporting actress who fluctuated between stage and screen on both sides of the Atlantic. First wife of Laurence Olivier (1930-40), with whom she went to Hollywood for a screen ... Read more »
Born: 01/26/1908 in London, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (12)

A Man Called Peter 1955 (Movie)

Mrs Findlay (Actor)

Night People 1953 (Movie)

Frau Schindler (Actor)

Escape 1948 (Movie)

(Actor)

Casanova Brown (Movie)

Dr. Zernerke (Actor)

Random Harvest (Movie)

Lydia Chetwynd (Actor)

State's Attorney (Movie)

Lillian Ulrich (Actor)

The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (Movie)

The Queen Mother (Actor)

The Pied Piper (Movie)

Mrs.Cavanaugh (Actor)

The Skin Game (Movie)

Jill Hillcrest (Actor)

The White Cliffs of Dover (Movie)

Rosamund (Actor)

Thirteen Women (Movie)

Jo (Actor)

This Above All (Movie)

Nurse Emily (Actor)

Biography

Elegant, sophisticated British lead and supporting actress who fluctuated between stage and screen on both sides of the Atlantic. First wife of Laurence Olivier (1930-40), with whom she went to Hollywood for a screen test in 1931; both secured contracts with RKO, but Esmond was judged the more desirable film property and made several Hollywood films, often playing socialites, before returning to the London stage with Olivier in the early 1930s. She became a supporting player during the 1940s. Mother of Olivier's first son, (Simon) Tarquin Olivier.

Relationships

Henry Esmond

Father
born c. 1869 died of pneumonia at age 52 on April 27, 1922 in Paris, France

Jack Esmond

Brother
born in 1899

Eva Moore

Mother
born in 1870 died on April 27, 1955

Laurence Olivier Actor

Husband
married on July 25, 1930 in Marlybone separated c. 1937 when Esmond learned of his affair with Vivien Leigh divorced on January 29, 1940

Simon Olivier

Son
born on August 21, 1936 married on January 8, 1965 has three children

EDUCATION

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

London , England

Bedales School

Hampshire 1913 - 1923

Milestones

1955

Final feature, "A Man Called Peter"; played the title character's Scottish mother

1955

Had recurring role as Queen Eleanor on "The Adventures of Robin Hood"

1946

Appeared as the Queen in "The Bandit of Sherwood Forrest"; mother Eva Moore had small role in film

1946

Appeared in the West End and on tour in "The Eagle Has Two Heads"

1944

Returned to London

1941

Co-starred with Gregory Peck and Gladys Cooper in the short-lived Broadway production "Morning Star"

1941

Acted in "Eagle Squadron"; son Tarquin made film debut

1941

Had featured role in "Random Harvest"

1940

Relocated to Los Angeles; shared a house with Ella Donat and her children

1940

Moved to the USA (New York City) to avoid the repeated bombings in London during WWII; lived with Jessica Tandy

1939

Made early TV appearance in the BBC presentation "Prison Without Bars"

1933

Returned to London

1931

Appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Skin Game"

1931

Hollywood debut, "Once a Lady"

1930

Returned to London

1930

Returned to USA to co-star with Olivier on Broadway in Coward's "Private Lives"

1930

Film acting debut in the British "The Chinese Bungalow"; billed as Jill Esmond-Moore

1928

Met Laurence Olivier when they appeared together on stage in London in "Bird in Hand"

1928

Starred in Broadway production of "Bird in Hand"; Olivier was not invited to reprise his role in NYC

1927

Breakthrough theatrical role, a suicide in "Outward Bound"

1925

Acted with mother Eva Moore in stage play "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary"

1925

Appeared in Noel Coward's "Hay Fever"

1924

Returned to stage in "Eternal Spring"

1922

First role on London stage as Nibs in "Peter Pan", starring Gladys Cooper

Put under contract by RKO

Was a strong candidate for female lead in George Cukor's "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932); lost part to Katharine Hepburn

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