Joan Plowright Biography

Joan Plowright is an English actress whose career has spanned over six decades. Check out this biography to know about her birthday, childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about her.

Quick Facts

Birthday: October 28, 1929

Nationality: British

Famous: Actresses British Men

Age: 90 Years, 90 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Also Known As: Joan Ann Olivier, Joan Ann Plowright

Born in: Brigg, Lincolnshire, England

Famous as: Actress

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Spouse/Ex-: Laurence Olivier (m. 1961 – died. 1989), Roger Leonard Gage (m. 1953 – div. 1960)

children: Julie Kate Olivier, Richard Olivier, Tamsin Olivier

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Joan Ann Olivier, Baroness Olivier, DBE, popularly known as Dame Joan Plowright, is an English actress with a career spanning over six decades. Regarded as one of the most distinguished actresses of her generation, she is also recognized as the third wife and widow of one of the greatest Anglophone actors of the 20th Century, Laurence Olivier. She has had a distinguished career of her own both on the big screen and the stage. Plowright is known for appearing in a number of movies including ‘The Entertainer,’ ‘Equus,’ ‘Avalon,’ and ‘Enchanted April,’ the last of which earned her an Academy Award nomination. She is also known for her contribution to numerous television films, most notably to ‘Stalin,’ which garnered her a Golden Globe Award as well as an Emmy nomination. Born in Brigg, Lincolnshire, to a journalist and newspaper editor, Plowright is the elder sister of David Plowright, the former chairman of Granada TV Ltd.

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  • Joan Plowright made her stage debut in 1948. In 1956, she became a member of English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. There she appeared in the plays ‘The Country Wife’ and ‘The Chairs’. Four years later, she played Jean Rice in the drama film ‘The Entertainer’ and earned a BAFTA award nomination for her performance. The actress was next featured in the Broadway production of ‘A Taste of Honey’ for which she received a Tony Award. In the year 1977, she played Dora Strang in the drama film ‘Equus’, a story about a psychiatrist treating a teenage boy who blinds six horses in a stable. The following year, Plowright appeared in the UK Videotaped TV dramas ‘Daphne Laureola’ and ‘Saturday, Sunday, Monday.’
  • In 1985, she was cast in the historical drama movie ‘Revolution’. A year later, she had a role in the UK videotaped TV drama ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. In 1990, the actress played Eva Krichinsky in ‘Avalon’, the third film in Levinson's tetralogy of "Baltimore films". Two years later, she featured as Olga in HBO’s television movie ‘Stalin,’ which starred Robert Duvall as the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Plowright’s performance in the movie earned her a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actress along with a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. Also in 1992, she played Mrs. Fisher in the flick ‘Enchanted April’ alongside Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker and Josie Lawrence.
  • Joan did the television films ‘The Return of the Native’, ‘A Place for Annie’ and ‘On Promised Land’ in the ensuing years. In 1996, she played Nanny in the adventure film ‘101 Dalmatians’. In1998 and 1999, she featured as Marie Pinoni in the drama series ‘Encore! Encore!' and as Bea Johnson in the romance film ‘Dance with Me’. Plowright performed in the play ‘Absolutely! (Perhaps)’ in London in 2003. She played the titular role in the 2005 drama film ‘Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont’. In March 2009, she was chosen as the honorary president of English Stage Company. In 2018, the actress appeared as herself in the documentary ‘Nothing Like a Dame’.
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Family & Personal Life
  • Joan Plowright was born on 28 October 1929 in Brigg, Lincolnshire, to Ernest Plowright, a journalist, and Daisy Margaret. She had a brother named David who was an executive at the Granada Television. She studied at Scunthorpe Grammar School and later attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
  • Plowright married actor Roger Gage in 1953. After divorcing him in 1960, she married actor Laurence Olivier in 1961. Olivier had just ended his 20-year marriage with actress Vivien Leigh at that time. Plowright and Oliver raised three kids: son Richard Kerr and daughters Tamsin Agnes Margaret and Julie-Kate, both of whom are actresses. They remained married until Olivier's death in 1989.


Golden Globe Awards
1993 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Enchanted April (1991)
1993 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Stalin (1992)

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Article Title
- Joan Plowright Biography
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Last Updated
- February 28, 2019
Joan Plowright

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