Actress Jean Simmons dies in California

Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:10am EST
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British actress Jean Simmons, who starred opposite Laurence Olivier in "Hamlet" during a career spanning 60 years, has died in California, Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday.

Simmons, who was 80 and had lung cancer, died at her home in Santa Monica on Friday night, it quoted her agent Judy Page as saying.

Born in London, Simmons started acting in films as a teenager and later moved to the United States to star in movies such as the 1955 musical "Guys and Dolls" with Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, and Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus" with Kirk Douglas in 1960.

Simmons won a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for playing Ophelia in "Hamlet" in 1948 and a best actress nomination for her role in "The Happy Ending" -- a 1969 film directed by her second husband Richard Brooks.

Her marriage to Brooks ended in divorce in 1977. She married Brooks in 1960, months after divorcing actor Stewart Granger.

"As a 14-year-old dance student she was plucked from her school to play Margaret Lockwood's precocious sister in 'Give Us the Moon' (1944)," according to a biography of the actress on IMDb.COM movies website.

By the 1980s, she mainly appeared in TV mini-series and won an Emmy for her role in "The Thorn Birds" in 1983.

Simmons "made a comeback to films in 1995 in 'How to Make an American Quilt' co-starring Winona Ryder and Anne Bancroft, and most recently played the elderly Sophie in the English version of Hayao Miyazaki's 'Hauru no ugoku shiro'," a 2004 animated film, according to IMDb.COM.

Simmons is survived by her two daughters, Tracy Granger and Kate Brooks, Los Angeles Times said. She lived in Santa Monica with her pets, a dog and two cats, according to IMDb.COM.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

 
<p>British actress Jean Simmons, who starred in the 1960 film "Spartacus", arrives as a guest for the opening of the play "You Can't Take It With You" in Los Angeles in this April 20, 2005 file photo. Simmons, aged 80, died at her home on January 22, 2010, local media reported. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files</p>