In 'The Robe'
Great Names Dot Jean's Career
The Simmons roster of roles and pictures so far discloses names like Shakespeare, Shaw, Dickens, Maugham and Lloyd C. Douglas, and other names like Gabtiel Pascal, Laurence Olivier, Stewart Granger and now Richard Burton.
Gabriel Pascal, the only film producer authorized by Bernard Shaw to film his works, first noticed Jean in a movie bit when she was in here mid-teens.
He furthered both her career and her private life by casting her in a small role in Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra," starring Vivien Leigh and Stewart Granger. Several years laters, in 1950, Miss Simmons and Granger were married.
The producers of the screen version of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" took note of Miss Simmons in "Caesar and Cleopatra" and promptly gave her the plum role of the girl who grows into a woman.
Next, with "Black Narcissus," as a seductive, speechless native girl, came stardom and fame and, more than that, the attention of Laurence Olivier, then casting "Hamlet."
As Shakespeare's Ophelia, Miss Simmons won from Time magazine the observation, "she is the only person in the picture who gives one of her lines the bloom of poetry and the immediacy of life."
Before departing England to accept a tempting Hollywood contract, Miss Simmons appeared with Michael Rennis in the "Sanitorium" sequence in W. Somerset Maugham's film, "Trio," to complete her cycle of employment which takes in all the great British writers.
In England she would up playing opposite Michael Rennie, and in Hollywood she began by appearing with Victor Mature in another work of Shaw's "Androcles and the Lion."
In "The Robe," which is coming to the Villa and Lyric she is co-starred with both these gentlemen and Richard Burton.