Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jean Simmons, 1929-2010

By now, you've probably heard about the death of actress Jean Simmons at the age of 80. Her career started in the UK when she was a teenager, playing in an acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Before coming to Hollywood, she also made the excellent So Long at the Fair, about a woman who goes to the Paris Exposition with her brother, only to find the next morning that he's disappeared, and nobody seems to have any trace of him. As for her best Hollywood role, it might well be as the lady evangelist who falls for Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry, from which the picture at left is taken.

As of this writing, TCM hasn't announced a change in its programming to honor Simmons. The tribute is going to be a bit tough to do, since TCM would have to get the programming change done this week, before the annual 31 Days of Oscar salute starts next Monday. That, combined with having started in Britain and the fact that some of her better-known Hollywood movies were made at Fox, such as The Robe (the picture on the right is from The Robe and I used it last year on Simmons' 80th birthday), could also cause TCM to have a few problems getting rights to suitable Jean Simmons movies at short notice.

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