Photo of Jean Simmons Jean Simmons

A luminous leading lady, London native Jean Simmons was born Jan. 31, 1929. She began to make her cinematic mark in the mid-1940s in such notable British films as Great Expectations (1946) and earned an Oscar nod two years later for her nuanced supporting turn as the ill-fated Ophelia in Hamlet.

In demand throughout the 1950s and early '60s, Simmons appeared in a wide range of genres that included everything from film noir (Angel Face, 1952) to Westerns (The Big Country, 1958). During this time, she was memorably paired with Marlon Brando (Guys and Dolls, 1955) and Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, 1960). Simmons netted her second Oscar nomination playing an alcoholic wife in 1969's The Happy Ending.

The actress later turned her talents to the small screen with roles in miniseries such as "The Thorn Birds," for which she won an Emmy in 1983. After a battle with lung cancer, she died Jan. 22, 2010.

Jean Simmons in Spartacus

Spartacus

1960 PG-13

Stanley Kubrick directed this epic saga based on ancient events, chronicling the birth of a vagabond slave-army led by an ex-gladiator named Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) that threatens the sovereignty of all-mighty Rome. This film has everything, including a wonderfully funny (and Oscar-winning) performance from Peter Ustinov as the cowardly owner of a gladiator school. Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Jean Simmons and Tony Curtis co-star.

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  • Jean Simmons in Hamlet Hamlet
  • Jean Simmons in Elmer Gantry Elmer Gantry
  • Jean Simmons in Great Expectations Great Expectations
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  • Jean Simmons in The Robe The Robe
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  • Jean Simmons in The Big Country The Big Country
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  • Jean Simmons in Heidi Heidi
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  • Jean Simmons in North and South: The Complete Collection North and South: The Complete Collection
  • Jean Simmons in The Dawning The Dawning
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  • Jean Simmons in Mysteries of the Bible: Greatest Stories Mysteries of the Bible: Greatest Stories