The Lady Olivier
Joan Plowright in 1958
Joan Ann Plowright
28 October 1929
(m. 1953; div. 1960)
(m. 1961; died 1989)
|Relatives||David Plowright (brother)|
Joan Ann Olivier, Baroness Olivier, DBE (née Plowright; born 28 October 1929), commonly known as Dame Joan Plowright, is an English retired 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 was the second of only four actresses (as of 2020) to have won two Golden Globes in the same year.
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.
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.
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. Her pair of 1992 performances (Enchanted April and Stalin) marked only the second time an actress (after Sigourney Weaver, for performances in 1988) won two Golden Globes in the same year; as of the January 2020 presentation, only Helen Mirren (for performances in 2006) and Kate Winslet (for performances in 2008) have duplicated this feat. In 1994, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award.
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's vision 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.
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 twenty-year marriage with the actress Vivien Leigh. The couple had three children, son Richard (born December 1961), daughter Tamsin Agnes Margaret (born January 1963) and daughter Julie-Kate (born July 1966). Both daughters became actresses. The couple remained married until Olivier's death in 1989.
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 The Lady 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 (D.B.E.).
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 Lady Olivier D.B.E..
|1956||Moby Dick||Starbuck's wife||Uncredited|
|1957||Time Without Pity||Agnes Cole|
|1960||The Entertainer||Jean Rice|
|1982||Britannia Hospital||Phyllis Grimshaw|
|1982||Brimstone & Treacle||Norma Bates|
|1985||Revolution||Mrs. Daisy McConnahay|
|1988||Drowning by Numbers||Cissie Colpitts 1|
|1990||I Love You to Death||Nadja|
|1991||Enchanted April||Mrs. Jand Fisher|
|1993||Dennis the Menace||Mrs. Martha Wilson|
|Last Action Hero||Teacher|
|1993||The Summer House||Mrs. Munro|
|1994||A Pin for the Butterfly||Grandma|
|Widows' Peak'||Mrs. Dawn Doyle-Counihan|
|1995||The Scarlet Letter||Harriet Hibbons|
|A Pyromaniac's Love Story||Mrs. Wendy Linzer|
|Hotel Sorrento||Marge Morrisey|
|Surviving Picasso||Françoise's Grandmother|
|Mr. Wrong||Mrs. Jessica Crawford|
|Jane Eyre||Mrs. Fairfax|
|1997||The Assistant||Mrs. Ida Bober|
|1998||Dance with Me||Bea Johnson|
|1999||Tom's Midnight Garden||Mrs. Ortensia Bartholomew|
|Tea with Mussolini||Mary Wallace|
|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. Sarah Palfrey|
|2006||Goose on the Loose||Beatrice Fairfield|
|Curious George||Ms. Plushbottom (voice)|
|2008||The Spiderwick Chronicles||Aunt Lucinda Spiderwick|
|2018||Nothing Like a Dame||Herself||Documentary|
|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 |
|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|
|1991||The House of Bernarda Alba||La Poncia||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|
|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|
|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|
|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||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|
|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 nominations
|1961||Tony Awards||Best Actress in a Play||A Taste of Honey||Won|||
|1961||British Academy Film Awards||Most Promising Newcomer||The Entertainer||Nominated|||
|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|
- Herbert Kretzmer (28 August 2014). Snapshots: Encounters with Twentieth-Century Legends. ISBN 9781849547987. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Joan Plowright Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
- "Joan Plowright Biography (1929-)". www.filmreference.com.
- Star Pupils Revealed at Scunthorpe Telegraph Archived 1 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 July 2016
- MacKay, Andrew (23 April 2010). "Joan Plowright - interview transcript" (PDF). The British Library.
- "Entertainment | Plowright steals the limelight". BBC News. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Past Recipients: Crystal Award". Women In Film. Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- Smith, Alistair (5 March 2009). "Plowright becomes honorary president of English Stage Company". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper Limited. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
- "Viewing Page 9 of Issue 44999". London-gazette.co.uk. 30 December 1969. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Viewing Page 7 of Issue 57155". London-gazette.co.uk. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- Walker, Tim (13 May 2014). "Joan Plowright bows out to a standing ovation". Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Munn, Michael (2007). Lord Larry: The Secret Life of Laurence Olivier: a Personal and Intimate Portrait. London: Robson Books. pp. 205, 209 and 218. ISBN 978-1-86105-977-2. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
- "Joan Plowright Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
- "Joan Plowright". Playbill.
- "Joan Plowright". IMDb.