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Jill Esmond

Jill Esmond

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Also Known As: Jill Esmond-Moore Died: July 28, 1990
Born: January 26, 1908 Cause of Death: breast cancer
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Elegant, sophisticated British lead and supporting actress who fluctuated between stage and screen on both sides of the Atlantic. First wife of Laurence Olivier (1930-40), with whom she went to Hollywood for a screen test in 1931; both secured contracts with RKO, but Esmond was judged the more desirable film property and made several Hollywood films, often playing socialites, before returning to the London stage with Olivier in the early 1930s. She became a supporting player during the 1940s. Mother of Olivier's first son, (Simon) Tarquin Olivier.

Elegant, sophisticated British lead and supporting actress who fluctuated between stage and screen on both sides of the Atlantic. First wife of Laurence Olivier (1930-40), with whom she went to Hollywood for a screen test in 1931; both secured contracts with RKO, but Esmond was judged the more desirable film property and made several Hollywood films, often playing socialites, before returning to the London stage with Olivier in the early 1930s. She became a supporting player during the 1940s. Mother of Olivier's first son, (Simon) Tarquin Olivier.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 A Man Called Peter (1955) Mrs. Findlay
2.
 Night People (1954) Frau Schindler, also known as Rachel Cameron
3.
 Escape (1948) Grace Winton
4.
 The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946) Queen Mother
5.
 My Pal Wolf (1944) Miss Elizabeth Munn
6.
 Casanova Brown (1944) Dr. Martha Zernerke
7.
 The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) Rosamund
8.
 The Pied Piper (1942) Mrs. Cavanaugh
9.
 Her Cardboard Lover (1942) Lizzie Hartwell
10.
 On the Sunny Side (1942) Mrs. Aylesworth
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1922:
First role on London stage as Nibs in "Peter Pan", starring Gladys Cooper
1924:
Returned to stage in "Eternal Spring"
1925:
Acted with mother Eva Moore in stage play "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary"
1925:
Appeared in Noel Coward's "Hay Fever"
1927:
Breakthrough theatrical role, a suicide in "Outward Bound"
1928:
Met Laurence Olivier when they appeared together on stage in London in "Bird in Hand"
1928:
Starred in Broadway production of "Bird in Hand"; Olivier was not invited to reprise his role in NYC
1930:
Returned to London
1930:
Film acting debut in the British "The Chinese Bungalow"; billed as Jill Esmond-Moore
1930:
Returned to USA to co-star with Olivier on Broadway in Coward's "Private Lives"
:
Put under contract by RKO
1931:
Appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Skin Game"
1931:
Hollywood debut, "Once a Lady"
:
Was a strong candidate for female lead in George Cukor's "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932); lost part to Katharine Hepburn
1933:
Returned to London
1939:
Made early TV appearance in the BBC presentation "Prison Without Bars"
1940:
Moved to the USA (New York City) to avoid the repeated bombings in London during WWII; lived with Jessica Tandy
1941:
Relocated to Los Angeles; shared a house with Ella Donat and her children
1942:
Acted in "Eagle Squadron"; son Tarquin made film debut
1942:
Had featured role in "Random Harvest"
1942:
Co-starred with Gregory Peck and Gladys Cooper in the short-lived Broadway production "Morning Star"
1945:
Returned to London
1946:
Appeared as the Queen in "The Bandit of Sherwood Forrest"; mother Eva Moore had small role in film
1946:
Appeared in the West End and on tour in "The Eagle Has Two Heads"
1955:
Final feature, "A Man Called Peter"; played the title character's Scottish mother
1955:
Had recurring role as Queen Eleanor on "The Adventures of Robin Hood"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: -
Bedales School: - 1913 - 1923

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Laurence Olivier. Actor, director. Married on July 25, 1930 in Marlybone; separated c. 1937 when Esmond learned of his affair with Vivien Leigh; divorced on January 29, 1940.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Henry Vernon Esmond. Actor. Born c. 1869; died of pneumonia at age 52 on April 27, 1922 in Paris, France.
mother:
Eva Moore. Actor. Born in 1870; died on April 27, 1955.
brother:
Jack Esmond. Born in 1899.
son:
Simon Tarquin Olivier. Director, producer, writer. Born on August 21, 1936; married on January 8, 1965; has three children.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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