Skip to main content

Olivier, Sir Laurence

Olivier, Sir Laurence (1907–89). Actor and director. Praised by Ellen Terry in a school play, Olivier became one of his generation's leading actors. Commencing in repertory, he established a reputation with Shakespearian roles and joined the Old Vic; after starring in film versions of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca in America, he returned to England to serve in the Fleet Air Arm, before helping rebuild the Old Vic after the Second World War. Handsome, charismatic, often generating a sense of risk, then youngest stage knight (1947), he directed and acted under his own management from 1950, revolutionized the art of filming Shakespeare (Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III), became director of the newly formed National Theatre Company (1962–73), and was the first actor to receive a life peerage. The outstanding success of Olivier's later career, before ill-health supervened, was as Archie Rice in John Osborne's The Entertainer (1957). One of the Royal National Theatre's stages is named in his honour.

A. S. Hargreaves

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Olivier, Sir Laurence." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Olivier, Sir Laurence." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/olivier-sir-laurence

"Olivier, Sir Laurence." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/olivier-sir-laurence

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.