Jean Merilyn Simmons, the demure British beauty who still has legions of fans around the globe, has been a bright star in Hollywood for more than fifty years.
She was born January 31, 1929 in Crouch End, North London. She made her film debut in 1944's Give Us the Moon after being discovered in a talent search by producer Val Guest. She went on to appear in major British productions such as Caesar and Cleopatra , Great Expectations  as Estella, Black Narcissus  as a seductive native girl, Hamlet  as Ophelia, The Blue Lagoon , So Long at the Fair , and others.
Ophelia was her breakthrough role and she appeared on the cover of Time magazine, was Oscar-nominated and won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival. The Blue Lagoon, horribly remade in 1980, is often listed as out of print. It's available by e-mailing Bob.
She married Stewart Granger in December of 1950 and they went to Hollywood. Their daughter Tracy Granger was born in 1956. Despite the fact that she was married, Howard Hughes wanted her in more ways than one and bought her contract from J. Arthur Rank. When Hughes wanted her to sign a new contract when her old one expired, she refused. Hughes tried to blackball her with other studios threatening lawsuits if they attempted to hire her. Simmons and Granger sued Hughes. It was settled out of court and they accepted only legal expenses. Jean Simmons worked independently after that episode.
She was a headline performer in major films such as Androcles and the Lion , 1953's Angel Face opposite Robert Mitchum, Affair With a Stranger, The Actress, Young Bess with Granger, The Robe as Diana, 1954's The Egyptian, Demetrius and the Gladiators, Desiree, 1955's Guys and Dolls as Sarah Brown, Hilda Crane  as the title character, Until They Sail , The Big Country  with Gregory Peck, and This Earth is Mine  with Rock Hudson.
Ms. Simmons divorced Granger in 1960 and married writer-director Richard Brooks who cast her opposite Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry . Their daughter Kate was born in 1961. She made two other memorable films in 1960, most notably Spartacus as Varinia opposite Kirk Douglas and The Grass Is Greener.
She was off the screen for a few years and then starred in All the Way Home , Life at the Top , Mister Buddwing , 1967's Divorce American Style and Rough Night in Jericho, and The Happy Ending .
She continued to be active in a few films and on TV in the 1970s and appeared in the London production of A Little Night Music in 1975 and toured with the play for two years. In the 1980s and 1990s she was active in television and won an Emmy Award for her role as Fiona Cleary in The Thorn Birds miniseries. She made a return to the screen in How to Make an American Quilt . She received successful treatment for alcoholism at the Betty Ford Clinic in 1983. Jean divorced Richard Brooks in 1977 and he passed away in 1992. She resides in Santa Monica, California.
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