Jean Simmons died at 80 in California, Friday. She was an Emmy Award winner whose career included roles in “Hamlet” and “Spartacus.” She also earned two Oscar nominations during a long career that spanned seven decades. She reported died at her home in Santa Monica after losing a battle to lung cancer. Jean Simmons who gained fame in the 1950s and 1960s after starring in several hit films. Her performance as the doomed Ophelia opposite Laurence Olivier in the legendary actor’s 1948 production of “Hamlet” earned her the first of two Academy Award nominations.
In “Great Expectations”, David Lean’s classic 1946, she was playing the young Estella. Later films included “Guys and Dolls,” “Spartacus” and 1969’s “The Happy Ending,” which earned her a second Oscar nod for her portrayal of an alcoholic wife. Jean Simmons married twice to actor Stewart Granger from 1950 to 1960 and to director Richard Brooks from 1960 to 1977. Her marriages ended in divorce.
Jean Merilyn Simmons was born Jan. 31, 1929, in London to Charles and Winifred Ada Simmons. Her father competed as a British gymnast in the 1912 Olympics and later coached the sport. He died when she was 16.For years, she lived in a Santa Monica home that she decorated in a style she once described as “early mishmash.”
She is survived by her two daughters, Tracy Granger and Kate Brooks.