Laurence Olivier as Richard III and Ralph Richardson as Richmond

Laurence Olivier as Richard III and Ralph Richardson as Richmond

Laurence Olivier is a towering figure of the British stage and screen. He was the first member of his profession to be elevated to a life peerage, as Baron Olivier of Brighton. Upon his death, he became only the third actor after David Garrick and Henry Irving to be interred in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey.

This photograph shows Olivier in the role of Richard III in the 1944 Old Vic production, with Ralph Richardson as Richmond. He was a triumph. His interpretation of the role was committed to film in 1956, but although he was also an outstanding screen actor, it is impossible to record the effect of a live performance.