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Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), Actor, producer and director

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

Sitter in 111 portraits
Born in Dorking and educated at St Edward's School Oxford, he won a scholarship to the Central School, and in 1927 joined Birmingham Rep. Olivier established his reputation through Shakespearean stage roles and film performances including Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights (1939) and Maxim de Winter in Rebecca (1940). He directed and starred in Henry V (1943-4), and became actor-manager of the Old Vic. He was knighted in 1947. He later formed his own company, directing and co-starring with his wife Vivien Leigh, and found equal success with contemporary theatre, particularly John Osborne's The Entertainer (1957). In 1962 he became the first director of the National Theatre.