Joan Plowright


Joan Plowright is a legendary actress who has made a significant impact on the world of cinema and theater. Over the years, she has worked with some of the most renowned actors and directors, including Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. In this blog post, we will delve into her life, career, and her relationships with Olivier and Leigh.

Early Life and Career

Joan Plowright

Joan Plowright was born in Brigg, Lincolnshire, England, on October 28, 1929. She was the third child of Daisy Margaret and William Ernest Plowright. She grew up in a working-class family and attended Scunthorpe Grammar School. After completing her education, she joined the Old Vic Theatre School in London, where she trained to become an actress.

Plowright made her stage debut in 1951 in the play ‘The Apple Cart’ by George Bernard Shaw. She went on to perform in several plays and received critical acclaim for her performances. In 1956, she made her film debut in the movie ‘Moby Dick’ and went on to appear in several other movies, including ‘Three Sisters’ and ‘Enchanted April.’

Relationship with Laurence Olivier

Joan Plowright met Laurence Olivier in 1957 when they were both performing in the play ‘The Entertainer.’ They fell in love and got married in 1961. The couple went on to have three children together. Plowright and Olivier worked together in several plays and movies, including ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘Richard III.’

However, their marriage was not without its challenges. Olivier was known for his infidelities, and their relationship was often strained. Despite this, Plowright remained devoted to Olivier until his death in 1989. She later wrote a memoir about their life together, titled ‘And That’s Not All.’

Relationship with Vivien Leigh

Joan Plowright also had a close relationship with Vivien Leigh, who was Olivier’s first wife. Leigh and Olivier divorced in 1960, and Olivier went on to marry Plowright the following year. Despite this, Plowright and Leigh remained friends, and Plowright even appeared in the movie ‘A Delicate Balance,’ which was directed by Leigh.

Leigh suffered from bipolar disorder and had several breakdowns throughout her life. Plowright was a source of support for her during these times and helped her through her struggles. Leigh passed away in 1967, and Plowright later wrote a tribute to her in the book ‘Vivien Leigh: A Tribute.’

Later Life and Legacy

Joan Plowright continued to act in movies and plays throughout her career. She received several awards and nominations for her performances, including an Academy Award nomination for her role in the movie ‘Enchanted April.’

Plowright retired from acting in 2014 due to her failing eyesight. She has since become an advocate for people with visual impairments and has worked with several organizations to raise awareness about the issue.

Joan Plowright’s legacy as an actress and a humanitarian continues to inspire people around the world. Her contributions to the world of cinema and theater will be remembered for generations to come.

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