Search the Collection

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

Sitter in 109 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.

List Thumbnail

x45138

Joan Fontaine and Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Unknown photographer
modern bromide print from original negative, 1940
NPG x45138

x88682

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier in '49th Parallel'

by Fred Daniels
modern bromide print from original negative, 1941
NPG x88682

x180373

Vivien Leigh; Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Paul Tanqueray
half-plate glass negative, 1942
NPG x180373

x14174

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print on white card mount, February 1947
NPG x14174

x137987

Laurence Olivier as Hamlet and Jean Simmons as Ophelia in 'Hamlet'

by Wilfrid Newton
postcard print, 1948
NPG x137987

x137988

Jean Simmons as Ophelia and Laurence Olivier as Hamlet in 'Hamlet'

by Wilfrid Newton
postcard print, 1948
NPG x137988

x137998

Vivien Leigh; Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Larry Burrows
modern bromide print, 31 May 1949
NPG x137998

x21956

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print on card mount, March 1950
NPG x21956

x87129

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Walter Stoneman
half-plate glass negative, March 1950
NPG x87129

x87132

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

by Walter Stoneman
half-plate glass negative, March 1950
NPG x87132

x136461

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier; Vivien Leigh; Sir Terence Rattigan

by D.H. White, for Daily Herald
vintage press print, 27 September 1953
NPG x136461

x184247

Claire Bloom; Laurence Olivier

by P.A. Reuter Photos Ltd
bromide press print, 13 December 1955
NPG x184247

x137340

Marilyn Monroe; Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier (Press Conference at The Savoy Hotel)

by Larry Burrows
bromide fibre print, 15 July 1956
NPG x137340

x194152

Joan Plowright as Jean Rice and Laurence Olivier as Archie Rice in 'The Entertainer'

by Keystone Press Agency Ltd
vintage print, 1957
NPG x194152

x76239

Joan Plowright; Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier; Hon. Richard Olivier

by Anthony Buckley
modern bromide print from original negative, 1961
NPG x76239