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Joan Plowright

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Occupation  Actress
Height  1.64 m
Role  Actress

Name  Joan Plowright
Years active  1948–2014
Books  And That's Not All
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Full Name  Joan Ann Plowright
Born  28 October 1929 (age 87) (1929-10-28) Brigg, Lincolnshire, England
Spouse  Laurence Olivier (m. 1961–1989), Roger Leonard Gage (m. 1953–1960)
Children  Tamsin Olivier, Richard Olivier, Julie Kate Olivier
Movies  Dennis the Menace, Tea with Mussolini, 101 Dalmatians, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Enchanted April
Similar People  Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Tamsin Olivier, Jill Esmond, Mason Gamble

The merchant of venice 1974 p6 14 laurence olivier joan plowright anna carteret etc

Joan Ann Plowright, Baroness Olivier, DBE (born 28 October 1929), commonly known as Dame Joan Plowright, is an English retired actress whose career has spanned over six decades. She has won two Golden Globe Awards and a Tony Award and has been nominated for an Academy Award, an Emmy and two BAFTA Awards. She is also one of only four actresses to have won two Golden Globes in the same year.


Joan Plowright Joan Plowright bows out to a standing ovation Telegraph

The merchant of venice 1974 p1 14 laurence olivier joan plowright anna carteret etc

Early life

Joan Plowright Joan Plowright Photo at AllPosterscom

Plowright was born in Brigg, Lincolnshire, the daughter of Daisy Margaret (née Burton) and William Ernest Plowright, who was a journalist and newspaper editor. She attended Scunthorpe Grammar School and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


Joan Plowright Finest nine admired quotes by joan plowright pic French

Plowright made her stage debut at Croydon in 1948 and her London debut in 1954. In 1956 she joined the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre and was cast as Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife. She appeared with George Devine in the Eugène Ionesco play, The Chairs, Shaw's Major Barbara and Saint Joan.

Joan Plowright Joan Plowright bows out to a standing ovation Telegraph

In 1957, she co-starred with Sir Laurence Olivier in the original London production of John Osborne's The Entertainer, taking over the role of Jean Rice from Dorothy Tutin when the play transferred from the Royal Court to the Palace Theatre. She continued to appear on stage and in films such as The Entertainer (1960). In 1961, she received a Tony Award for her role in A Taste of Honey on Broadway.

Joan Plowright Joan Plowright Wikipedia

Through her marriage to Laurence Olivier, she became closely associated with his work at the National Theatre from 1963 onwards. From the 1980s she began to appear more regularly in films, including Enchanted April (1992), for which she won a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination, Dennis the Menace (1993), a cameo in Last Action Hero (also 1993) and Tea With Mussolini (1999). She was also Nanny in 101 Dalmatians (1996). Among her television roles, she won another Golden Globe Award and earned an Emmy Award nomination for the HBO film Stalin in 1992 as the Soviet dictator's mother-in-law. In 1994, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award.

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In 2003, Plowright performed in the stage production Absolutely! (Perhaps) in London. She was appointed honorary president of the English Stage Company in March 2009, succeeding John Mortimer, who died in January 2009. She was previously vice-president of the company.

Plowright was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1970 Queen's New Year Honours and was promoted to Dame Commander (DBE) in the 2004 Queen's New Year Honours.

In 2014, she officially announced her retirement from acting, citing her declining eyesight due to macular degeneration.

Personal life

Plowright was first married to Roger Gage, an actor, in September 1953. She divorced him and, in 1961, married Laurence Olivier after the ending of his 20-year marriage with the actress Vivien Leigh. The couple had three children, Richard Kerr (born December 1961), Tamsin Agnes Margaret (born January 1963) and Julie-Kate (born July 1966). Both daughters are actresses. The couple remained married until Lord Olivier's death in 1989.

Joan Plowright's brother, David Plowright (1930–2006), was an executive at Granada Television.


The Plowright Theatre in Scunthorpe is named in Plowright's honour. Upon her marriage to Sir Laurence Olivier, her formal title became "Lady Olivier"; however, she never used it in her professional career. Her husband was made a life peer in 1970 and so she became Baroness Olivier.


Over the years Joan Plowright has had many titles as a result of honours awarded, and the appointment of her husband as a peer in 1970. As of 2004 her full and official title, as the widow of a peer and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, is:

  • The Right Honourable The Baroness Olivier DBE
  • References

    Joan Plowright Wikipedia