August 11 ~  Larger Than Life In Search of Excellence

"If I wasn't an actor, I think I'd have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life - it's an exhalation of life and I think I you probably need a little touch of madness." ~ Laurence Olivier

laurence olivier On this day in 1962, English actor, producer, and director Lord Laurence Kerr Olivier (1907-1989) founded the Royal National Theater in London as its first artistic director.

"The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand," he once said.

A legendary thespian known for excellence in many Shakespearean roles, including Hamlet (1948; Academy Award), he was immensely versatile...

Whether MacBeth (1955), Richard III (1944), the brooding Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939), or evil Dr. Christian Szell in Marathon Man (1976, with Dustin Hoffman), Olivier was extraordinary.

"Acting is illusion, as much illusion as magic is, and not so much a matter of being real," said the man who many considered the greatest actor of the 20th century. "I have to act to live."

His marriage to actress Vivien Leigh, "the cat who hypnotized the king," was tortuous. "Use your weaknesses; aspire to the strength," he believed. At the end of his life, he suffered from poor health, battling cancer.

In a 1978 LA Times interview he said poignantly, "Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word."

Laurence OlivierBe passionate about your craft. Live larger than life.