Simmons, who won an Emmy award for her role in the 1980's mini-series 'The Thorn Birds', died on Friday evening at her home in Santa Monica of lung cancer, her agent Judy Page told the Los Angeles Times.
Simmons, who rose to stardom after portraying the role of Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet' (1948) for which she received an Academy award nomination for Best Supporting actress, was picked from a dance class by a talent scout at the tender age of 14. She caught the eye of the Hollywood heavyweights after her portrayal of the young Estella in David Lean's film adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel 'Great Expectations'.
In a career that spanned more than six decades, she appeared in about 55 feature films and nearly as many television productions co-starring with stars like Richard Burton in 'The Robe', Gregory Peck in 'The Big Country', Marlon Brando in 'Desiree' and 'Guys and Dolls'.
"Jean Simmons jaw-dropping beauty often obscured a formidable acting talent," Alan K Rode, a writer and film historian said. Simmons was married twice to men older than her, in 1950 to actor Stewart Granger whom she divorced in 1960 and in 1960 to director Richard Brooks, divorcing him in 1977.