Saturday, January 23, 2010

What Jean Simmons Meant to Me...

I am currently curled up on the couch eating Redvines licorice and watching Guys and Dolls.

The news that Jean Simmons had died hit me rather hard. I adore Jean. I think she is gorgeous and a brilliant actress. But, she means so much more than that to me. She was one of those rare actresses that I actually connected to, that I felt like I knew. For instance, I love Rita Hayworth but, I don't feel like I know her. Jean to me was like Ingy, Audrey, and Carole are to me.

In fact, I loved her before I even knew who she was.

It was a few years ago, I was 11 or 12, I was on some classic movie site searching for some photos, and I stumbled upon these two:

I didn't even know who she was, but I was struck by her beauty, especially her eyes. Her eyes were not normal - there was something beyond her eyes.

I was like, "Who is this Jean Simmons? I need to watch something with her in it!"

Then a couple months later I checked out Guys and Dolls from the library. I didn't know that Jean was in it. The credits came up, and I vaguely recalled the name, but I couldn't place a face to it.

Then, I saw her, I saw Sgt. Sarah Brown! Then, I immediately remembered. It was HER!

Jean took a character like Sarah and just made so much out of it. I felt I knew her, I knew Sarah, and I knew Jean. I connected in a very personal way both to the character...and especially to the actress.

Every role I've seen of Jean (and I still have many more to see), has been so completely Jean. I can't really explain it, but I automatically love any character she plays, because "she's my old friend"; because she and I "know" each other.

And, that is why I am so heartbroken this night - heartbroken, because I've lost an old friend.

And, besides that, I recently wrote her a gushing letter telling her just how amazing she was and how much I loved her...but I hadn't mailed it yet. That kinda makes a person feel even more rotten.

I made Jean a tribute video. Not very well-made, but just a little something to express some of my grief at her death. I chose the song, "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" by The Lovin' Spoonful for a very specific reason. Besides the obvious lyrics, there is an entire line that is just SO Jean:

You came upon a quiet day
You simply seemed to take your place
I knew that it would be that way
The minute that I saw your face

That's pretty much how Jean and I "met". I instantly "knew" her, even though I didn't even know her name. She was just there one day.

I'm gonna miss her, but thank goodness we have her 60 years of film and television work, so we don't have to really say goodbye.

So, rest in peace lovely will not be forgotten!



Jennifer said...

Aww I think that's great that you connected so much to Jean. Jean to you is Audrey to me. I connect to Audrey the most so that is why I love her so much. I will definitely watch some Jean Simmons movies now. :)

David Blakeslee said...

Very nice tribute you've made, Millie. I admire Jean's work too and your thoughts & video moved me!

Raquel Stecher said...

This is an incredibly sweet post. I loved the tribute video. It's so sad that she died. :-(

DKoren said...

Sad news. Thanks for the tribute video. She was a very beautiful lady. The first thing I ever saw her in was "The Robe," and that is how I always tend to picture her.

Jan said...

I am sad to see another great actress pass away. I grew up watching Jean Simmons movies. She was so beautiful - in a totally naturally way. She wasn't enhanced and "improved" like, unfortunately, so many actresses who are considered "beauties" are these days. Thankfully we have Jean Simmons' movies, and she will continue to touch new audiences through the coming years.

Anonymous said...

She was one of the greats,she will always be remembered...Lovely post...

Sarah Mann said...

Legit tearing up :( This is such a great post. I bet she would have absolutely loved your letter! Fantastic video too.

Millie said...

Jennifer: Yeah, that's the same with me and Audrey. There are a select few that just are such a part of me! Yay, you will not be disappointed!

Dave: Thank you so much, Dave! That means a lot!

Raquelle: Thank you, really.

DKoren: Thank you. She was very beautiful. You know, I've never seen that. I will most definitely have to now!

Jan: That's is so incredibly true. She was naturally beautiful and naturally talented. That's a definite comfort. We will always have her work.

Gingeyginge: She was, and she will be! Thank you!

Sarah: Awwww! Thank you! I hope she would have! Thanks ever so. Now, your comment makes me want to cry....

Anonymous said...

This was so beautiful. Now you almost have me crying. I think that was part of the reason why I felt so sad; because I knew how much you loved her. And the fact that you felt a connection to her, is so rare and so special.

She truly will not be forgotten. Thanks so much Millie, you're amazing.

Millie said...

Harley, aww, you're so sweet. You really are. To feel sad, just because I was feeling sad.


Miss McCrocodile said...

Thanks, it was a lovely video tribute.

Richard Hourula said...

I think of her first and foremost for Spartacus, a great film that I used to show my students. She's fantastic in it (as she is in everything). Also loved her in Elmer Gantry and Great Expectations. She'll be missed.

Merriam said...

What a lovely tribute. Her death was such a shock.

Trippy Trellis said...

Ages ago, when I was a boy, I read in Photoplay: Jean Simmons- almost as beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor but oh, so much more bewitching.
With the exception of Audrey Hepburn in "War and Peace", no other actress ever looked as breathtakingly beautiful in Empire finery as Jean in "Desiree".
May she rest in peace.

Millie said...

Mo: Thank you!

Richard: I still haven't seen Spartacus, I really need to though! She is great in everything! Thank you for your comment!

Merriam: Thank you! ...It really was!

Trippy: "Bewitching"...that's a good word to describe Jean! "Breathtakingly beautiful" is also excellent! Thanks for your comment!

GabrielaG said...

It's the same as Genevieve Bujold is for me. I saw her in Anne of the thousand days and I was only 8 but I felt like I know her very good. I'm 14 now but I love her and still feel the same.
I adore Jean's movie Young Bess especially the scene when Tom slapped her face 'cause she was laughing d*mn funny and everytime when I remember that I started laughing.

Unknown said...

What a totally beautiful post. Been reading your blog and am loving it more and more and more - you are so insightful, I adore your perspective on the classics. And Jean was truely stunning with a warmth few actresses could carry...this is a darling tribute.


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