British actress Jean Simmons dead at 80

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The Independent Culture

British actress Jean Simmons, an Emmy Award winner whose career included roles in "Hamlet" and "Spartacus," died in California Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

She was 80.

The Times said Simmons, who earned two Oscar nominations during a long career that spanned seven decades, died at her home in Santa Monica after losing a battle to lung cancer.

The movie star's manager could not immediately be reached for comment.

Although she worked mostly in television in her later years, appearing in the hit 1983 mini-series "The Thorn Birds," for which she obtained an Emmy Award, Simmons gained fame in the 1950s and 1960s after starring in several hit films.

Her career took off after she appeared as the doomed Ophelia opposite Laurence Olivier in the legendary actor's 1948 production of "Hamlet." Simmons's performance earned her the first of two Academy Award nominations.

Among her notable early roles were playing the young Estella in David Lean's classic 1946 adaptation of "Great Expectations."

Later films included "Guys and Dolls," "Spartacus" and 1969's "The Happy Ending," which earned her a second Oscar nod for her portrayal of an alcoholic wife.

Simmons married twice - to actor Stewart Granger from 1950 to 1960 and to director Richard Brooks from 1960 to 1977. Both marriages ended in divorce.

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