Joan Plowright

Actor, Director
Acknowledged as one of the finest stage actresses of her generation, Joan Plowright unexpectedly put her burgeoning career on hold in order to focus her young family and famous husband, Sir Laurence Olivier, prior to ... Read more »
Born: 10/28/1929 in Lincolnshire, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (60)

Goose on the Loose! 2014 (Movie)

Beatrice Fairfield (Actor)

Knife Edge 2014 (Movie)

Marjorie (Actor)

The Spiderwick Chronicles 2008 (Movie)

Aunt Lucinda (Actor)

Curious George 2006 (Movie)

Miss Plushbottom (Voice)

George and the Dragon 2005 (Movie)

Mother Superior (Actor)

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont 2005 (Movie)

Mrs Palfrey (Actor)

Callas Forever 2004 (Movie)

Sarah Keller (Actor)

I Am David 2004 (Movie)

Sophie (Actor)

Bringing Down the House 2003 (Movie)

Mrs Arness (Actor)

Back to the Secret Garden 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Christmas Glory, 2000 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Rock My World 2001 (Movie)

Lady Foxley (Actor)

Dinosaur 2000 (Movie)

of Baylene (Voice)

Encore! Encore! 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Tea With Mussolini 1999 (Movie)

Mary Wallace (Actor)

Dance With Me 1998 (Movie)

Bea (Actor)

Tom's Midnight Garden 1998 (Movie)

Mrs Bartholomew (Actor)

101 Dalmatians 1996 (Movie)

Nanny (Actor)

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre 1996 (Movie)

Mrs Fairfax (Actor)

Mr. Wrong 1996 (Movie)

Mrs Crawford (Actor)

Surviving Picasso 1996 (Movie)

Grandmother (Actor)

The Assistant 1996 (Movie)

Ida Bober (Actor)

A Pyromaniac's Love Story 1995 (Movie)

Mrs Linzer (Actor)

Hotel Sorrento 1995 (Movie)

Marge Morissey (Actor)

The Scarlet Letter 1995 (Movie)

Harriet Hibbons (Actor)

Widow's Peak 1994 (Movie)

Mrs Doyle Counihan (Actor)

A Menace Called Dennis 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

A Pin for the Butterfly 1993 (Movie)

Grandma (Actor)

Dennis the Menace 1993 (Movie)

Martha Wilson (Actor)

Last Action Hero 1993 (Movie)

Teacher (Actor)

The Summer House 1993 (Movie)

Mrs Monro (Actor)

Driving Miss Daisy 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The House of Bernarda Alba 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Drowning By Numbers 1991 (Movie)

1st Cissie Colpitts (Actor)

Enchanted April 1991 (Movie)

Mrs Fisher (Actor)

Avalon 1990 (Movie)

Eva Krichinsky (Actor)

I Love You to Death 1990 (Movie)

Nadja (Actor)

Twelfth Night 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Entertainer 1989 (Movie)

Jean (Actor)

The Dressmaker 1988 (Movie)

Aunt Nellie (Actor)

Revolution 1985 (Movie)

Mrs McConnahay (Actor)

Britannia Hospital 1983 (Movie)

Phyllis (Actor)

Wagner 1983 (Movie)

Mrs Taylor (Actor)

Brimstone and Treacle 1981 (Movie)

Norma Bates (Actor)

The Diary of Anne Frank 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Equus 1977 (Movie)

Dora Strang (Actor)

Three Sisters 1969 (Movie)

Masha (Actor)

Time Without Pity 1956 (Movie)

Agnes Cole (Actor)

A Dedicated Man (TV Show)

Actor

A Place For Annie (TV Show)

Actor

And a Nightingale Sang (TV Show)

Actor

Bailey's Mistake (TV Show)

Actor

Frankie and Hazel (TV Show)

Actor

Laurence Olivier -- A Life (TV Show)

Actor

On Promised Land (TV Show)

Actor

Scrooge & Marley (TV Show)

Narrator

Stalin (TV Show)

Actor

The Return of the Native (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Acknowledged as one of the finest stage actresses of her generation, Joan Plowright unexpectedly put her burgeoning career on hold in order to focus her young family and famous husband, Sir Laurence Olivier, prior to enjoying a sudden resurgence at the tender age of 60. Having honed her performance skills on the stages of London's Old Vic and Royal Court Theatres, Plowright impressed with supporting roles in films like "Time Without Pity" (1957) and "The Entertainer" (1960), the latter film starring future husband, Olivier. Despite this early success, she spent much of the 1960s and '70s dividing her time between family duties and occasional stage work with Olivier. Eventually, Plowright made a tentative return to film in projects such as "Brimstone and Treacle" (1982) and "Drowning by Numbers" (1988), although it was in the years that followed the passing of Olivier that her own career experienced new life. Suddenly reinvigorated, the actress appeared in an astounding number of films and television programs throughout the next decade, including acclaimed turns in "Avalon" (1990), "Enchanted April" (1992), "Stalin" (HBO, 1992), "Widow's Peak" (1995) and "Tea With Mussolini" (1999). In 2004, she reached her late husband's vaunted status in the U.K. when she was awarded the title of Dame Joan Plowright by Queen Elizabeth II. Continuing to appear in such films as "The Spiderwick Chronicles" (2008), Plowright remained as vibrant on screen as she had 50 years earlier.

Relationships

Daisy Margaret Plowright

Mother

Tamsin Agnes Margaret Olivier

Daughter
Father, Laurence Olivier

Roger Gage Actor

Husband
Married 1953 Divorced 1960

Laurence Olivier Actor

Husband
Married from March 17, 1961 until Olivier's death from cancer July 11, 1989

Julie-Kate Olivier

Daughter
Father, Laurence Olivier

Richard Olivier

Son
Father, Laurence Olivier

William Plowright

Father

David Plowright

Brother
Executive at Granada Television forced to resign in February 1992 as head of programming he was responsible for "Brideshead Revisited" and "The Jewel in the Crown"

EDUCATION

Studied acting with Michel St Denis, Glen Byram Shaw and George Devine

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

1950 - 1952
Attended on scholarship

Laban Art of Movement Studio

1949 - 1950

Milestones

2008

Cast as Aunt Lucinda in the fantasy film "The Spiderwick Chronicles"

2006

Voiced Miss Plushbottom in "Curious George" a big screen version of the popular children's books

2005

Cast as Aunt Clara in the big screen adaptation of "Bewitched"

2003

Played Steve Martin's billionaire client in "Bringing Down The House"

2001

Starred as the maid Martha Sowerby in the Showtime movie "Back to the Secret Garden"

2000

Provided one of the creature voices for the animated film "Dinosaur"

2000

Had lead role in the TV-movie "Frankie and Hazel" (Showtime)

1999

Reteamed with Zeffirelli for the feature "Tea with Mussolini"

1996

Played the housekeeper in Zeffirelli's remake of "Jane Eyre"

1996

Had featured role in the Disney live-action remake of "101 Dalmatians"

1992

Starred in the unsold pilot for a television series based on the hit play and film "Driving Miss Daisy"

1992

Co-starred in the HBO biopic "Stalin"

1992

Earned Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as a dowager in "Enchanted April"

1990

Co-starred as a Polish/Jewish matriarch in Barry Levinson's autobiographical feature "Avalon"

1990

Had supporting role as Tracey Ullman's Yugoslavian mother in Lawrence Kasdan's black comedy "I Love You to Death"

1983

Last screen collaboration with Olivier, "Wagner"

1980

Cast as Mrs. Frank in the NBC remake of "The Diary of Anne Frank"

1980

Reprised her role in short-lived Broadway production of "Filumena"; staged by husband Olivier

1977

Scored a stage triumph in London in title role of "Filumena"

1977

Played the mother of a troubled youth (Peter Firth) in Sidney Lumet's film version of "Equus"

1973

Co-starred with Olivier in the BBC telecast of "The Merchant of Venice" (aired in the US on ABC)

1969

Returned to features after a ten year absence in film adaptation of "Three Sisters"; co-directed by husband Olivier

1968

Directed "Evasion of Woman" at the Old Vic Theater

1961

Won Tony Award for leading performance in "A Taste of Honey"

1960

Recreated stage role opposite Olivier in film version of "The Entertainer"

1959

Starred in the BBC telecast of "The School for Scandal"

1958

Made Broadway debut in "The Entertainer"

1957

Had supporting role in the feature "Time Without Pity"; directed by Joseph Losey

1957

Co-starred as Olivier's daughter in John Osborne's "The Entertainer"

1955

Was a member of the company performing at the Nottingham Playhouse

1954

London stage debut in "The Duenna"

1948

Professional stage debut at Grand Theatre, Croydon in "If Four Walls Could Talk"

1935

Won a local drama prize at age 15, which led to a week's work playing a maid with the Harry Hanson Players

Had first major stage success as Margery Pinchwife in "The Country Wife"; first caught the attention of Laurence Olivier

Had stage success with "The House of Bernarda Alba"; recreated role for TV (aired in 1991 on PBS)

Raised in Scunthorpe, England

Cast as Nathan Lane's mother in the NBC sitcom "Encore! Encore!"

Appeared in last joint stage appearence with Olivier in "Saturday, Sunday, Monday"; directed by Franco Zeffirelli (aired on British TV in 1977)

As a child, acted in amateur plays staged by her mother

Bonus Trivia

.

In 1970, Plowright was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for her "contribution to the British theater" by Queen Elizabeth II

.

On her marriage to Olivier and her decision to put their family first, Plowright told Valerie Grove of The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 31, 1996): "If a man is to achieve, someone has to step down for a bit, as long as each of you gets a turn. He was a world-famous figure, and I sensed the responsibility I had in helping to keep his life going in an enormously important, highly stressful job. Larry didn't want us to be ships that passed in the night."

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