- Made her London stage debut in the comic opera The Duenna in 1954.
- Starred alongside husband Sir Laurence Olivier in the 1960 screen adaptation of The Entertainer and the 1970 drama Three Sisters.
- Earned the honorary title Commander of the British Empire for her contributions to British theater in 1970.
- Has a theater named for her (The Plowright Theatre) in her hometown of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, England.
- 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Winner
- 1993, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Winner
- 1993, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Winner
- 1978, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Nominee
- 1961, BAFTA Film Awards — Most Promising Newcomer to Film: Nominee
- 1992, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 1961, Tony — Actress (Dramatic): Winner
- Daisy Margaret Plowright — Mother
- Tamsin Agnes Margaret Olivier — Daughter
- Ernest Plowright — Brother
- Laurence Olivier — Husband (deceased)
- Richard Kerr Olivier — Son
- David Plowright — Brother
- Roger Gage — Ex-husband
- Julie-Kate Olivier — Daughter
- William Ernest Plowright — Father
- Attended Art of Movement Studio, Manchester, England; attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Bristol, England
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