(written from a Production point of view)
Jean Merilyn Simmons (31 January 1929 – 22 January 2010; age 80) was the British actress who played the retired Rear Admiral Norah Satie in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fourth season episode "The Drumhead". She had been acting in films since 1944 and appearing in television programs since the 1950s. Over the course of her career, she received two Academy Award nominations, two Emmy Award nominations (winning one), two Golden Globes, five Golden Globe nominations, and two BAFTA Award nominations, among several other accolades.
Simmons had her wardrobe fitting for her appearance in "The Drumhead" on Friday 15 February 1991 at 8:00 am and filmed this episode between Tuesday 19 February 1991 and Wednesday 27 February 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9. All call sheets feature notes for the transportation department to pick Simmons up at home prior to her shootings.
Simmons was born on Crouch Hill, a street in the northern part of London, England. She was married to British actor Stewart Granger from 1950 through 1960. Their daughter, Tracy, was born in 1956 and is now a film editor.
In 1956, Simmons became a citizen of the United States. In 1960, shortly after divorcing Granger, she married director and screenwriter Richard Brooks. They had one child together, a daughter named Kate, before divorcing in 1977.
Simmons began acting in 1944, appearing in British films such as Give Us the Moon (1944), Caesar and Cleopatra (1945, with Eve Smith), and David Lean's Academy Award-winning 1946 adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, in which she played the young Estella. She then played the supporting role of Kanchi in the acclaimed 1947 British drama Black Narcissus.
She earned her first Academy Award nomination for her role as Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's classic 1948 rendition of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. In 1949, she starred in the original British version of the romance adventure The Blue Lagoon and co-starred with her then-husband, Stewart Granger, in the romantic comedy Adam and Evelyne.
Simmons' first American production was Otto Preminger's 1952 film-noir Angel Face with Robert Mitchum. Her other co-stars in this film included Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actor Kenneth Tobey and two-time Star Trek: The Original Series guest performer Morgan Farley.
In 1953, Simmons was selected as Best Actress by the National Board of Review for her performances in three films released that year. One was Young Bess, in which she played the title role (aka Queen Elizabeth I) opposite her husband. Another was George Cukor's The Actress, which co-starred Ian Wolfe. The third was the Biblical drama The Robe, in which she played Diane opposite Jay Robinson's Caligula. Michael Ansara and Torin Thatcher also had roles in this latter film.
In addition, Simmons starred in the comedy Androcles and the Lion, which was also released in 1953. This film was narrated by frequent TOS voice actor Vic Perrin and co-starred John Hoyt. She again acted with Hoyt in the 1954 film Desirée, in which she played the title role opposite Marlon Brando.
Simmons and Brando again co-starred together in the Academy Award-nominated 1955 musical Guys and Dolls. Simmons won her first Golden Globe and received her first BAFTA Award nomination for her performance in this film. TNG and DS9 guest actor Kay E. Kuter had a role in Guys and Dolls, as well. In 1957, Simmons starred in two films directed by Star Trek: The Motion Picture director Robert Wise: This Could Be the Night and Until They Sail. The former earned Simmons her second Golden Globe nomination while the latter also featured Tige Andrews.
In 1958, Simmons won a Special Award from the Golden Globes for being "the most versatile actress." She then received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the film Home Before Dark. She also starred in William Wyler's 1958 western drama The Big Country, which featured stuntman Jim Burk.
1960s and 1970s
Simmons received nominations from the BAFTA Awards and the Golden Globes for her performance as Sister Sharon Falconer in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry. This film was written and directed by Richard Brooks, whom Simmons married soon after. Elmer Gantry also featured uncredited performances by Star Trek alumni Peter Brocco and Barbara Luna. She earned a second Academy Award nomination and a fifth Golden Globe nominations for her leading role in the 1969 drama The Happy Ending. TOS guest actor William O'Connell also had a role in this film.
Simmons has become well known for her role as Varinia in the acclaimed, Academy Award-winning epic Spartacus. Aforementioned Trek alumni John Hoyt and Peter Brocco had supporting roles in this film. Her other film credits during the 1960s included the 1966 drama Mister Buddwing, which featured an appearance by TOS actress Nichelle Nichols. She also starred in her first TV movie, NBC's infamous 1968 adaptation of Heidi (with Jennifer Edwards in the title role). This productions is best remembered for cutting off the end of an important AFL football game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders, which has since become known as the Heidi Game.
Simmons' feature film credits during the 1970s included the 1975 comedy Mr. Sycamore, which co-starred Robert Easton and Ian Wolfe. In 1977, Simmons guest-starred on the CBS television series Hawaii Five-O, in an episode with Henry Darrow. Simmons then starred in the 1978 mini-series The Dain Curse, which co-starred TNG regular Brent Spiner. In 1979, Simmons starred in the NBC TV movie Beggarman, Thief, in which Norman Lloyd also appeared.
In the 1980s, Simmons appeared primarily in television productions. She won an Emmy Award and received a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Fiona "Fee" Cleary in ABC's acclaimed mini-series The Thorn Birds. Richard Kiley played her character's husband in this production, and Brett Cullen played one of their sons. Simmons previously worked with Kiley in the 1981 TV movie Golden Gate, which also featured Mary Crosby, Jason Evers, Don Keefer, Warren Munson, and Robert Picardo. Simmons' other co-stars on The Thorn Birds included Philip Anglim, John de Lancie, and Christopher Plummer.
Simmons later guest-starred as Clarissa Main in the mini-series North and South in 1985 and North and South, Book II the following year. Jonathan Frakes, Kirstie Alley, James Read and David Ogden Stiers were also present in both parts, while Mitchell Ryan was only present during the first season and Anthony Zerbe, Kurtwood Smith and Leon Rippy participated in the second one. In 1989, Simmons starred with John Rhys-Davies in Disney's miniseries adaptation of Great Expectations, marking Simmons' second time acting in a version of the classic Dickens story. John Savage also appeared in this production.
Simmons' TV movie credits during the 1980s included Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls (with Catherine Hicks, Janet MacLachlan, and Tricia O'Neil), A Small Killing (with Andrew Prine), Midas Valley (with Phillip Richard Allen, Brett Cullen, France Nuyen, James Read, Albert Hall, and David Andrews), Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love (with Jonathan Banks, Robert Mandan, and David Ogden Stiers), Inherit the Wind (with Michael Ensign and Richard Lineback). Her only two feature films in this decade were released in 1988: The Dawning and Going Undercover.
In 1983 and again in 1985, Simmons guest-starred on the series Hotel; her first episode also featured Elinor Donahue. In 1989, Simmons guest-starred in a two-episode arc on the mystery series Murder, She Wrote, for which she received her second Emmy Award nomination. William Windom was among the actors she worked with on this series.
1990s and 2000s
In 1991, Simmons starred in the short-lived MGM/NBC re-imagining of the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. She played two characters on this show, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Naomi Collins. The latter character was the mother of Barnabas Collins, who was played by Ben Cross, and the wife of Joshua Collins, played by Stefan Gierasch.
In 1993, Simmons, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country actress Kim Cattrall, and Star Trek: Enterprise guest star Robert Rusler were all regular cast members on the short-lived CBS drama Angel Falls. Simmons' other TV movie credits this decade include the movies People Like Us (1990, with Michael Cavanaugh, Thomas Kopache, Brenda Strong, George D. Wallace, and Paul Williams) and One More Mountain (1994, with Larry Drake and Robert Duncan McNeill).
Simmons' sole feature film credit during the 1990s was the 1995 drama How to Make an American Quilt, in which she worked with Winona Ryder and Alfre Woodard. Simmons, Ryder, Woodard, and several of their co-stars were all nominated by the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
In the last years of her career, Simmons lent her voice to foreign animated films, including the English version of the acclaimed 2005 Japanese film Howl's Moving Castle. In addition, she and Dwight Schultz had voice-over roles in the 2001 Japanese-animated Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Simmons later lent her voice to the Chinese film Thru the Moebius Strip, which also featured the voices of Michael Dorn and Daniel Davis.