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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 26 January 1908London, England, UK
Date of Death 28 July 1990Wimbledon, London, England, UK
Birth NameJill Esmond-Moore

Mini Bio (2)

Jill Esmond was born on January 26, 1908 in London, England, UK. She was 23-years-old when she first came to prominence when she first appeared in The Skin Game (1931) in 1931. Once Jill got in the groove, she kept up a steady pace. Three more films followed in 1931 and five more came her way the following year. One of the films of note was State's Attorney (1932), where Jill played "Lillian Ulrich". She had married Laurence Olivier in 1930 and that might have explained her absence from the silver screen between 1934 and 1941, due to her marital obligations. After her divorce from Olivier in 1940, Jill returned to filming with Random Harvest (1942) in 1942. Five films followed that year, but it wasn't quite the same as the schedule she kept in the early 30s. Jill's final film came in 1955 in A Man Called Peter (1955). She was 82-years-old when she died on July 28, 1990 in London.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

An accomplished British actress with an air of reserve and elegance, Jill Esmond was born into show business. She was the daughter of actor H.V. Esmond and actress Eva Moore, both of whom were acclaimed stage performers. She spent time in boarding school when they were on the road performing. In her mid teens, she decided to follow in their footsteps. She reconsidered her decision when her father suddenly died in 1922, but decided to follow through. Her big break in 1927, when she won great praise for her performance in the play "Outward Bound."

Her life changed forever in 1928, when she starred in the play "Bird in the Hand," and she caught the eye of a highly talented but then little-known actor named Laurence Olivier. He quickly became smitten with her. At first she didn't feel any attraction towards him, although she was impressed with his talent. In the play, she won greater acclaim and was cast to play the role on Broadway. To her surprise, Olivier followed her there made a point of being around her whenever he could. Gradually, her high regard for him became love, and after some hesitation, she accepted his marriage proposal, and they were married in 1930. Although it's not remembered now, at the time, Esmond was better known and her career more established than Olivier's.

Shortly after-wards, she began to get film offers, which she accepted although Olivier was scornful of the film industry. Her first major role was in The Skin Game (1931), a film about a feud between two wealthy families which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Again, she received favorable notice, and followed up with memorable performances in State's Attorney (1932) and Thirteen Women (1932). However, in the mid-1930s, Olivier's career began to take off. He won rave reviews for his performances in the plays "Private Lives" in 1933 (which Esmond co-starred in) and "Romeo and Juliet" in 1935. As a result, Esmond began to cut back on her work, particularly after she became a mother in 1936. In 1937, her husband won even more acclaim in the classic film Fire Over England (1937), but in doing so, he had an affair with his co-star, actress Vivien Leigh. Rumors began to spread after the pair co-starred in That Hamilton Woman (1941). Esmond was shocked when she found out, as their marriage had appeared to be a happy one, and she initially refused his request for a divorce. However, in 1940, feeling betrayed and humiliated, she filed for divorce on grounds of adultery and named Leigh in the complaint. They split up, and Esmond sought solace in renewing her career, although she was now hopelessly overshadowed by her former husband and his new wife. She turned in well-received performances, particularly in the classic films Random Harvest (1942) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944).

As the 1940s came to a close, her film appearances became less frequent, and motherhood and family life took up more of her time. Her final film appearance was in A Man Called Peter (1955). She did win a recurring role in the TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955), playing Eleanor of Aquitaine. By 1960 she stopped performing and went into private life. That same year, history repeated itself as Vivien Leigh divorced Olivier, who had left her to marry Joan Plowright, but Esmond never made any public statements. Her last public appearance was in a 1982 interview about her famous late ex-husband. In it, she revealed how hurt she was by how Olivier became famous with her help, but then abandoned her for a more famous actress. Other than that, she stayed out of the limelight until her death at the age of 82.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

Spouse (1)

Laurence Olivier (25 July 1930 - 29 January 1940) (divorced) (1 son)

Trivia (4)

Daughter of actress Eva Moore and H.V. Esmond.
sister of race car driver Jack Esmond
Niece of Brigadier-General Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, and actress Decima Moore.
mother of producer Tarquin Olivier

Personal Quotes (1)

[Letter to her son, Tarquin Olivier about her ex-husband, Laurence Olivier] It's funny after all that time how I can still love him so much.

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