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Olivia Hussey

Olivia Hussey

Olivia Hussey (born Olivia Osuna; 17 April 1951) is an English actress. After appearing in theatre in London, Hussey was chosen to play the role of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's film version of Romeo and Juliet (1968). She won a Golden Globe and the David di Donatello Award for her performance, and gained international recognition.

In 1974, she appeared as the lead character, Jess Bradford, in the cult slasher film Black Christmas.[1] She reunited with Zeffirelli in the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977), as Mary, mother of Jesus, and appeared in John Guillermin's Agatha Christie adaptation Death on the Nile (1978). She appeared in several international productions throughout the 1980s, including the Japanese production Virus (1980), and the Australian horror film Turkey Shoot (1982). She appeared in two made-for-television horror productions: Psycho IV: The Beginning and Stephen King's It, both first screened in 1990.

In addition to screen acting, Hussey has worked as a voice actress, providing voice roles in multiple Star Wars video games, including Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Star Wars: Force Commander, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Olivia Hussey
Olivia Osuna

(1951-04-17)17 April 1951
Buenos Aires, Argentina
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1965–present
Dean Paul Martin
(m. 1971;div. 1978)

Akira Fuse
(m. 1980;div. 1989)

David Glen Eisley
(m. 1991)
Children3, including India Eisley
Websiteoliviahussey.com [33]

Early life

Hussey was born Olivia Osuna in Buenos Aires, Argentina,[2] the first child of Andrés Osuna, an Argentine opera singer, and Joy Hussey, a secretary originally from England.[3] Her parents divorced when she was 2 years old. At age of seven, Hussey moved with her mother and younger brother to London where she spent the remainder of her early life.[3] Her parents were Catholic, and she was raised as a Roman Catholic.[4]

In London, she attended the Italia Conti Academy drama school for five years.[5] At 13, she began acting professionally on the stage.[3]


1968–69: Romeo and Juliet and career beginnings

Assuming her mother's maiden name as her stage name, Hussey appeared on the London stage as Jenny in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, opposite Vanessa Redgrave.[6] During the run of this play, Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli first spotted her because of her beauty and theatrical skill. At 15,[7] she was chosen out of 500 actresses to star as Juliet in Zeffirelli's film version of Romeo and Juliet (1968), opposite Leonard Whiting's Romeo.[8] Prior to her role in Romeo and Juliet, she had appeared in minor roles in two films: The Battle of the Villa Fiorita and Cup Fever (both 1965), and an episode of the television series Drama 61–67 (1964).[9] In 1969, she won a special David di Donatello Award and the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actress for her performance in Romeo and Juliet.[10]

After the success of Romeo and Juliet, Hollywood producer, Hal B. Wallis, offered her the title role in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), and to co-star with John Wayne in True Grit (1969).[11] In her 2018 memoir Hussey stated that she had “mumbled something about being interested in Anne of the Thousand Days” but added that she “couldn’t see herself with Wayne”. She claims that this “adolescent and opinionated” remark inevitably ended her professional relationship with Wallis and he immediately withdrew his offer from her. “It had taken me less than a minute to talk my way out of it” Hussey stated.[12]

1970–2000: Black Christmas and continued acting

In 1971, she appeared in the British drama All the Right Noises, followed by the crime film The Summertime Killer (1972),[9] and the musical Lost Horizon (1973), opposite Liv Ullmann, John Gielgud, and Sally Kellerman.[13] In 1974, she played the leading role of Jess Bradford in the Canadian horror film, Black Christmas (1974), which became influential as a forerunner of the slasher film genre of horror films. She played Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the 1977 television production of Jesus of Nazareth (her second work for director Zeffirelli).[14] In 1978 she played Rosalie Otterbourne in Death on the Nile with Peter Ustinov,[2] and appeared in The Cat and the Canary (1979).[15] She also starred as Marit in the Japanese film Virus (1980),[16] and played Rebecca of York in the 1982 remake of Ivanhoe (1982); the same year, she had a lead role in the Australian horror film Turkey Shoot (1982).[17]

In 1987, Hussey appeared in a clip for the Michael Jackson video Liberian Girl, among others, who also included Steven Spielberg, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Whoopi Goldberg, Lou Ferrigno, and Billy Dee Williams.[18] In 1990, Hussey appeared in two horror projects, playing Norma Bates, the mother of Norman Bates, in Psycho IV: The Beginning, a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960),[19][20] and in the miniseries It, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel.[21]

Post-2000 and voice work

Hussey at the 2008 Cinema City Film Festival

Hussey at the 2008 Cinema City Film Festival

Hussey played the lead in Mother Teresa of Calcutta (2003), a biographical film about Mother Teresa, for which she was presented with a Character & Morality in Entertainment Award on 12 May 2007 in Hollywood.[2] She stated in an interview that it had been her dream and wish to portray the role of Mother Teresa of Calcutta since she finished her role as the Virgin Mary in Jesus of Nazareth.[22] Hussey and Leonard Whiting reunited as on-screen partners in the film Social Suicide (2015), the only film that they both appeared in since Romeo and Juliet (1968).[23]

Hussey has also worked as a voice actress, and was nominated for "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production" at the Annie Awards for her work in the DC animated universe, as Talia al Ghul. She voiced the character of Kasan Moor in the PC/Nintendo 64 game, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998)[24] and was also in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) as Jedi Master Yuon Par.[25] She also lent her voice to Star Wars: Force Commander in 2000.

Personal life

Hussey quit acting for two years following the success of Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, due to an ongoing struggle with agoraphobia.[3] In 1971, Hussey married actor Dean Paul Martin, the son of the singer Dean Martin. They had a son, Alexander Gunther Martin (who became an actor), in 1973, before divorcing in 1978.[26] Dean Paul Martin died in 1987, when his National Guard F-4 Phantom jet fighter crashed in California's San Bernardino Mountains during a snowstorm.[27]

In 1980, Hussey married the Japanese singer Akira Fuse, in two ceremonies: one at home in Los Angeles, and a second, an Indian wedding, in Miami. She gave birth to their son Max in 1983 and divorced Fuse in 1989.

In 1991, Hussey married the American rock musician David Glen Eisley, a son of the late actor Anthony Eisley. In October 1993, she gave birth to their daughter, India Eisley. India, also an actress, played her first major role in the American teen drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008).

Hussey's memoir, The Girl on the Balcony: Olivia Hussey Finds Life After Romeo and Juliet, was released on 31 July 2018.[28]



1965The Battle of the Villa FioritaDonna
1965Cup FeverJinny
1968Romeo and JulietJulietGolden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nominated— Laurel Award
1971All the Right NoisesVal
1972The Summertime KillerTania Scarlotti
1973Lost HorizonMaria
1974Black ChristmasJess Bradford
1978Death on the NileRosalie Otterbourne
1978The PirateLeilaTelevision film
1979The Cat and the CanaryCicily Young
1979The Thirteenth Day: The Story of EstherEstherTelevision film
1980The Man with Bogart's FaceElsa
1982Turkey ShootChris Walters
1982IvanhoeRebeccaTelevision film
1985The Corsican BrothersAnnamarie de GuidiceTelevision film
1987DistortionsAmy Marks
1989The Jeweller's ShopThérèse
1990Undeclared WarRebecca Eche
1990Psycho IV: The BeginningNorma BatesTelevision film
1993Quest of the Delta KnightsThe Mannerjay
1994Save MeGail
1995Ice Cream ManNurse Wharton
1995Bad English I: Tales of a Son of a Brit
1996The Dark MistVoice of the Ancients (Voice)
1996Dead Man's IslandRosie, the housemaidTelevision film
1998The GardenerMrs. Carter
1998Shame, Shame, ShameTherapist
2000Bloody ProofLaura
2001Island PreyCatherine Gaits
2003Mother Teresa of CalcuttaMother TeresaTelevision film
2005HeadspaceDr. Karen Murphy
2006Seven Days of GraceJewel
2007Tortilla HeavenPetra
2008Three PriestsRachel
2008I Am Somebody: No Chance in HellMrs. Duncan
2015Social SuicideJulia's Mother


1964Drama 60–67Mrs. Ken's daughterEpisode: "Studio '64 – The Crunch"
1977Jesus of NazarethMary, mother of JesusMiniseries
1978The BastardAliciaMiniseries
1984The Last Days of PompeiiIoneMiniseries
1984Murder, She WroteKitty TrumbullEpisode: "Sing a Song of Murder"
1990ItAudra Phillips DenbroughMiniseries
1994Lonesome Dove: The SeriesOlivia JessupEpisodes: "Where the Heart Is"
"Law and Order"
1997Boy Meets WorldAunt Prudence CurtisEpisode: "A Long Walk To Pittsburgh (Part 2)"
1998Pinky and the BrainQueen (Voice)"The Megalomaniacal Adventures of Brainie the Poo", "Melancholy Brain"
1999Superman: The Animated SeriesTalia (Voice)Episode: "The Demon Reborn"
2000Batman Beyond"Talia" (Voice)Episode: "Out of the Past"

Video games

1998Star Wars: Rogue SquadronKasan Moor
2000Star Wars: Force CommanderAT-AA Driver, Abridon Refugee 2
2011Star Wars: The Old RepublicJedi Master Yuon Par

Awards and nominations

Annie Awards

  • 2001: Nominated, "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production" – Batman Beyond

David di Donatello Awards

  • 1969: Won, "Best Actress" – Romeo and Juliet

Golden Globe Awards

  • 1969: Won, "Most Promising Female Newcomer" – Romeo and Juliet

Laurel Awards

  • 1970: Nominated, "Female New Face" – Romeo and Juliet


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