Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ophelia Has Died. RIP Jean Simmons

When you think of Ophelia, chances are you picture Ophelia in Olivier’s Hamlet.  I think it was one of my commenters who originally said “It takes years to get that version out of your head.”  I had no idea that she’d won an Academy Award for Best Support Actress for that.

Jean Simmons, Olivier’s Ophelia, has died of lung cancer at the age of 80.

The article is a fascinating one, painting the long life of an outstanding actress.  She was surrounded by greatness, playing multiple times opposite both Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando. Who knew that Howard Hughes kept her from starring in Roman Holiday? 

Those who knew her said she was generous, modest and unassuming. According to Mr. Granger, Ms. Simmons called Audrey Hepburn after she saw her in “Roman Holiday” — in a role Ms. Simmons might have had — to say, “I wanted to hate you, but I have to tell you I wouldn’t have been half as good.”

From her fair and unpolluted flesh may violets spring, a ministering angel shall she be.  May flights of angels sing her to her reset.

1 comment:

JM said...

I think it was me who mentioned how long her image as Ophelia lived with me. Though I think differently about the character now, the vision of Jean as Ophelia lives on still.
I fell head over heels in love with her when I was a young boy, watching her in Kirk Douglas' "Spartacus". She truly was the picture of such a kind, loving, sweetness in that film and in many others. If she brought any of herself to the screen (which is most likely the case) the reports about her off-screen character are probably accurate. Alas, alas, alas.

Make dust [my] Paper, and with Raynie eyes/Write Sorrow on the Bosome of the Earth. RII.3.2 Bye Jean.