Jean Simmons

A luminous leading lady, London native Jean Simmons was born Jan. 31, 1929. She began to make her cinematic mark in the mid-1940s in such notable British films as Great Expectations (1946) and earned an Oscar nod two years later for her nuanced supporting turn as the ill-fated Ophelia in Hamlet.

In demand throughout the 1950s and early '60s, Simmons appeared in a wide range of genres that included everything from film noir (Angel Face, 1952) to Westerns (The Big Country, 1958). During this time, she was memorably paired with Marlon Brando (Guys and Dolls, 1955) and Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, 1960). Simmons netted her second Oscar nomination playing an alcoholic wife in 1969's The Happy Ending.

The actress later turned her talents to the small screen with roles in miniseries such as "The Thorn Birds," for which she won an Emmy in 1983. After a battle with lung cancer, she died Jan. 22, 2010.