The first actor to receive the Best Actor Oscar for the film he directed himself was Laurence Olivier. He accomplished the honor with his performance in "Hamlet", a 1948 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name. The film was adapted, directed, and starred Olivier. "Hamlet" was Olivier's second film as director, and Olivier is the only actor to date who has won the Oscar for Best Actor for a Shakespearean role.

Laurence Olivier, (Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier of Brighton) as born in May 1907 in Dorking, Surrey, England. He died on July 11, 1989, near London, England. He was a towering figure of the British stage and screen and acclaimed in his lifetime as the greatest English-speaking actor of the 20th century. From 1947– 1970, he was called Sir Laurence Olivier. He then became the first member of his profession to be elevated to a life peerage in the UK.

He is best known for performances in Shakespearean roles on stage and in astute motion pictures. He made some modern film classics: "Wuthering Heights" (1939), "Rebecca" (1940), "Henry V" (1944), "Hamlet" (1948), "Richard III" (1955), "The Shoes of the Fisherman" (1968), "Sleuth" (1972), "Marathon Man" (1976), and "The Boys from Brazil" (1978). Olivier was knighted by King George VI and later made Baron Olivier of Brighton by Queen Elizabeth II. Outside of his great acting career, Olivier is remembered for his love affair and tempestuous marriage to actress Vivien Leigh.

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