A woman whose poise and elegance captured attention and garnered respect on and off screen, Jean Simmons surprised audiences with her raw and powerful performances. Like many British actors of the time, Simmons began her career with the classics, appearing and later starring in adaptations of Shakespeare, Dickens, and in period pieces. She would continue to portray powerful women from history while also contributing new characters – frustrated, rebellious lovers and mothers. As her work in film declined, her profile in TV rose, adding star power to memorable miniseries like 1983’s The Thorn Birds and 1985’s North and South, as well as its sequel series a year later. Simmons would never retire – instead she would work steadily up until her passing.