Olivier, Laurence Kerr, Baron Olivier of Brighton

Olivier, Laurence Kerr, Baron Olivier of Brighton

Olivier, Laurence Kerr, Baron Olivier of Brighton, 1907-89, English actor, director, and producer. He made his stage debut at Stratford-on-Avon in 1922 and soon achieved renown through his work with the Old Vic company. Noted for his remarkable versatility and striking features, he enjoyed universal admiration for his work in the classics, in modern realistic plays, and in comedy. His films include Wuthering Heights (1939), Rebecca (1940), Pride and Prejudice (1940), Henry V (1944), Richard III (1956), The Entertainer (1960), Othello (1965), and Three Sisters (1970). In 1948 he won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Hamlet in the film that he also produced and directed. In 1962, Olivier was appointed director of the National Theatre of England, which became one of the finest repertory companies in the world. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was a highly prized character actor, appearing in such roles as the Nazi villain in The Marathon Man (1976). Olivier was knighted in 1947 and in 1970 was made a life peer, the first actor to be so honored.

Olivier often costarred on stage and screen with his second wife, Vivien Leigh, 1913-67, a delicate brunette who made a spectacular American film debut in Gone with the Wind (1939), winning the Academy Award. She followed this with Waterloo Bridge (1940), Lady Hamilton (with Olivier as Nelson, 1941), and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), for which she won a second Academy Award.

See F. Barker, The Oliviers (1953); L. Gourlay, ed., Olivier, a collection of memoirs by his friends (1973); Olivier's own disquisition on acting (1986); biographies by A. Holden (1988), H. Vickers (1989), A. Walker (1989), D. Spoto (1992, repr. 2001), and T. Coleman (2005).

(John) Steven Bassam, Baron Bassam of Brighton (born 11 June 1953) is a British Labour and Co-operative politician and member of the House of Lords.

Having studied at the University of Sussex and University of Kent, where he received a Masters in social work, Bassam began his career as a social worker at Camden Borough council. He moved on to other roles in local government, serving as Head of Environmental Health and Consumer Affairs at the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, later Local Government Association 1988-97.

Infamously he was also a squatter during his early years in Brighton, where upon he founded the Squatters Union which campaigned for the rights of squatters to accommodate empty properties and improving the conditions of the squats for the purpose of living.

In the meantime, Bassam had become involved in local politics and became a Brighton councillor, rising to become Leader of Brighton, then Brighton & Hove Council from 1987 until 1999. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in Brighton Kemptown at the 1987 general election against the Conservative MP Andrew Bowden. He was made a life peer as Baron Bassam of Brighton, of Brighton in the County of East Sussex, and acts as a government whip and spokesperson for the Cabinet Office and Home Office.

Bassam and his partner, Jill Whittaker, had two daughters Lauren Bassam and Ellen Bassam and two sons Tom Bassam and Gregory who died in infancy. Bassam is a keen Brighton & Hove Albion fan and competitive if not slightly ageing club cricketer for Preston Village C.C. and Brighton Beamers C.C. a passion he also shares with his son Tom.

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