Joan Plowright

Joan Ann Olivier, Baroness Olivier, DBE[1] (née Plowright; born 28 October 1929), commonly known as Dame Joan Plowright, is a retired English actress whose career has spanned over seven 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.


The Lady Olivier

Joan Plowright 1960 (cropped).jpg
Born
Joan Ann Plowright

(1929-10-28) 28 October 1929 (age 90)
OccupationActress
Years active1948–2014
Spouse(s)
Roger Gage
(m. 1953; div. 1960)

(m. 1961; died 1989)
Children3

Early lifeEdit

Plowright was born in Brigg, Lincolnshire, the daughter of Daisy Margaret (née Burton) and William Ernest Plowright, who was a journalist and newspaper editor.[2][3] She attended Scunthorpe Grammar School[4] and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in London.[5]

CareerEdit

Plowright made her stage debut at Croydon in 1948[6] 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.

 
Plowright as Jo with Angela Lansbury as Helen in the Broadway production of A Taste of Honey

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.

Through her marriage to Laurence Olivier, she became closely associated with his work at the National Theatre from 1963 onwards. In the 1990s 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 the 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.[7]

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.[8]

Plowright was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1970 New Year Honours[9] and was promoted to Dame Commander (DBE) in the 2004 New Year Honours.[10]

Plowright's eyesight declined steadily during the late 2000s and early 2010s due to macular degeneration. In 2014, she officially announced her retirement from acting because she had become completely blind.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

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, one son and two daughters. Both daughters are actresses.[12] The couple remained married until Lord Olivier's death in 1989.

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

LegacyEdit

The Plowright Theatre in Scunthorpe is named in Plowright's honour.

StylesEdit

Upon her marriage to Sir Laurence Olivier in 1961, 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 from that point she became Baroness Olivier. As with the title of Lady Olivier, she did not use the title of Baroness Olivier professionally.

As of 2004, she is known professionally as Dame Joan Plowright upon being made Dame Commander (DBE).

Her full and official title, as both the widow of a peer and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, is The Right Honourable The Baroness Olivier DBE.

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1956 Moby Dick Starbuck's wife Uncredited
1957 Time Without Pity Agnes Cole
1960 The Entertainer Jean Rice
1963 Uncle Vanya Sonya
1970 Three Sisters Masha
1977 Equus Dora Strang
1982 Britannia Hospital Phyllis Grimshaw
1982 Brimstone & Treacle Norma Bates
1985 Revolution Mrs. McConnahay
1988 Drowning by Numbers Cissie Colpitts 1
The Dressmaker Nellie
1990 I Love You to Death Nadja
Avalon Eva Krichinsky
1991 Enchanted April Mrs. Fisher
1993 Dennis the Menace Mrs. Martha Wilson
Last Action Hero Teacher
1994 A Pin for the Butterfly Grandma
Widows' Peak' Mrs. Doyle-Counihan
1995 The Scarlet Letter Harriet Hibbons
A Pyromaniac's Love Story Mrs. Linzer
Hotel Sorrento Marge Morrisey
1996 101 Dalmatians Nanny
Surviving Picasso Françoise's Grandmother
Mr. Wrong Mrs. Crawford
Jane Eyre Mrs. Fairfax
1997 The Assistant Mrs. Ida Bober
1998 Dance with Me Bea Johnson
1999 Tom's Midnight Garden Mrs. Bartholomew
Tea with Mussolini Mary Wallace
2000 Dinosaur Baylene (voice)
Back to the Secret Garden Martha Sowerby
2002 Global Heresy Lady Foxley
Callas Forever Sarah Keller
2003 Bringing Down the House Virginia Arness
I am David Sophie
2004 George and the Dragon Mother Superior
2005 Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont Mrs. Palfrey
2006 Goose on the Loose Beatrice Fairfield
Curious George Ms. Plushbottom (voice)
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Aunt Lucinda Spiderwick
2009 Knife Edge Marjorie
2018 Nothing Like a Dame Herself Documentary

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1951 Sara Crewe Winnie 4 episodes
1954 BBC Sunday-Night Theatre Adriana 3 episodes
1955 Moby Dick—Rehearsed A Young Actress/Pip Uncompleted and lost Orson Welles film
Television film
1957 Sword of Freedom Lisa Giocondo Episode: "The Woman in the Picture"
1959 Theatre Night Arlette Le Boeuf Episode: Hook, Line, and Sinker
1959 World Theatre Lady Teazle Episode: The School for Scandal
1959 ITV Play of the Week Viola Episode: The Secret Agent
1959 ITV Television Playhouse Jane Maxwell Episode: Odd Man In
1967 NET Playhouse Sonya Episode: Uncle Vanya
1970 ITV Playhouse Lisa Episode: "The Plastic People"
1970 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Viola Episode: Twelfth Night
1973 The Merchant of Venice Portia Television Movie
1978 Saturday, Sunday, Monday Rosa Television Movie
Daphne Laureola Lady Pitts Television Movie
1980 The Diary of Anne Frank Mrs. Frank US Television film
1982 All for Love Edith Episode: "A Dedicated Man"
1983 Wagner Mrs. Taylor Episode: "1.2"
1986 The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell Television Movie
1987 Theatre Night Meg Bowles Episode: "The Birthday Party"
1989 And a Nightingale Sang Mam Television film
1990 Sophie Sophie Television film
1991 The House of Bernarda Alba La Poncia Television film
1992 Stalin Olga Television film
Driving Miss Daisy Daisy Werthan Television film
1993 Screen Two Mrs. Monro Episode: "The Clothes in the Wardrobe"
1994 The Return of the Native Mrs. Yeobright Television film
A Place for Annie Dorothy Television film
On Promised Land Mrs. Appletree Television film
1998-1999 Encore! Marie Pinoni 12 episodes
1998 Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within Jeanne Vertefeuille Television film
This Could Be the Last Time Rosemary Television film
2000 Frankie & Hazel Phoebe Harkness Television film
2001 Bailey's Mistake Aunt Angie Television film
Scrooge and Marley Narrator Television film

TheatreEdit

Year Title Role Venue
1948 If Four Walls Told Hope (stage debut) Croydon Repertory Theatre, England
1954 The Merry Gentlemen Allison Bristol Old Vic, England
1954 The Duenna Donna Clara Westminster Theatre, London
1955 Moby Dick Pip Duke of York's Theatre, London
1956 The Crucible Mary Warren Royal Court Theatre, London
1956 Dom Juan Baptista Royal Court Theatre, London
1956 The Death of Satan Receptionist Royal Court Theatre, London
1956 Cards of Identity Miss Tray Royal Court Theatre, London
1956 The Good Woman of Setzuan Mrs. Shin Royal Court Theatre, London
1956
1957
The Country Wife Margery Pinchwife Royal Court Theatre
Adelphi Theatre, London
1957 The Making of Moo Elizabeth Compton Royal Court Theatre, London
1958 The Entertainer Jean Rice Palace Theatre, London
1958 Major Barbara Major Barbara Royal Court Theatre, London
1958 Hook, Line and Sinker Arlette Piccadilly Theatre, London
1958 The Lesson The Student Phoenix Theatre, Off-Broadway
The Chairs Old Woman
The Entertainer Jean Rice Royale Theatre, Broadway
1959 Roots Beatie Bryant Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Royal Court Theatre, London
Duke of York's Theatre
1960 Rhinoceros Daisy Royal Court Theatre, London
1960 A Taste of Honey Josephine Booth Theatre, Broadway
1962 The Chances Another Constatia Chichester Festival Theatre, England
1962-
1963
Uncle Vanya Sonya Chichester Festival Theatre
Old Vic Theatre, London
1963 Saint Joan Saint Joan Old Vic Theatre, London
1964 Hobson's Choice Maggie Hobson Old Vic Theatre, London
1964 The Master Builder Hilda Wangel Old Vic Theatre, London
1967-68 Much Ado about Nothing Beatrice Old Vic Theatre, London
1967-68 The Three Sisters Masha Old Vic Theatre, London
1967-68 Tartuffe Dorine Old Vic Theatre, London
1968 The Advertisement Teresa Old Vic Theatre, London
Royal Theatre, London
1968 Love's Labour's Lost Rosaline Old Vic Theatre, London
1969 Back to Methuselah, Part II Voice of Lilith Old Vic Theatre, London
1970 The Merchant of Venice Portia New Theatre, London
1971 A Woman Killed with Kindness Mistress Anne Frankford New Theatre, London
1971 The Rules of the Game Silla New Theatre, London
1972 The Doctor's Dilemma Jennifer Dubedat Chichester Festival Theatre, England
1972 The Taming of the Shrew Katharina Chichester Festival Theatre, England
1973 Rosmersholm Rebecca West Greenwich Theatre, London
1973
1974-75
Saturday, Sunday, Monday Rosa Old Vic Theatre, London
Queen's Theatre, London
1974 Eden's End Stella Kirby Old Vic Theatre, London
National Theatre, London
1975 The Seagull Irena Arkadina Lyric Theatre Company, London
1975 The Bed before Yesterday Alma Lyric Theatre Company, London
1978 Filumena Filumena Marturano Lyric Theatre, London
1980 Enjoy Mam Vaudeville Theatre, London,
1980 The Best House in Naples Filumena Marturano St. James Theatre, Broadway
1981 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Martha Royal National Theatre, London
1982 Cavell Performer Royal National Theatre, London
1983 The Cherry Orchard Madame Ranevskaya Haymarket Theatre, London
1984 The Way of the World Lady Wishfort Haymarket Theatre, London
1985 Mrs. Warren's Profession Mrs. Warren Lyttelton Theatre, London
1986-87 The House of Bernarda Alba La Poncia Lyric Theatre, London
Globe Theatre, London
1990 Time and the Conways Mrs. Conway Old Vic Theatre, London

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1961 Tony Awards Best Actress in a Play A Taste of Honey Won [13]
1961 British Academy Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer The Entertainer Nominated [14]
1977 Best Supporting Actress Equus Nominated
1993 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Enchanted April Nominated
1993 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Won
Best Supporting Actress - Television Stalin Won
1993 Primetime Emmy Awards Best Supporting Actress - Limited Series or TV Movie Nominated

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Herbert Kretzmer (28 August 2014). Snapshots: Encounters with Twentieth-Century Legends. ISBN 9781849547987. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Joan Plowright Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
  3. ^ "Joan Plowright Biography (1929-)".
  4. ^ Star Pupils Revealed at Scunthorpe Telegraph Archived 1 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 July 2016
  5. ^ MacKay, Andrew (23 April 2010). "Joan Plowright - interview transcript" (PDF). The British Library.
  6. ^ "Entertainment | Plowright steals the limelight". BBC News. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Past Recipients: Crystal Award". Women In Film. Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  8. ^ Smith, Alistair (5 March 2009). "Plowright becomes honorary president of English Stage Company". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper Limited. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Viewing Page 9 of Issue 44999". London-gazette.co.uk. 30 December 1969. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Viewing Page 7 of Issue 57155". London-gazette.co.uk. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  11. ^ Walker, Tim (13 May 2014). "Joan Plowright bows out to a standing ovation". Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Joan Plowright Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
  13. ^ http://www.playbill.com/person/joan-plowright-vault-0000113781
  14. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0687506/awards?ref_=nm_awd

External linksEdit