From Hamlet to Archie Rice, from Heathcliffe to Der Weisse Engel, something in those eyes... something in those dead eyes seemed to come alive when he took on a role. People talk about actors 'inhabiting a character', but it seems that - in Olivier's case - the character inhabited him.
It is said that he utterly destroyed his ego for the sake of his art. Having emptied himself so many times and so thoroughly, in order to take on a persona so large that there was not room enough in one body to accommodate both him and the spirit he was contractually obliged to vacate for, that - sometime during his early career - he hid himself in a place so safe, that he was never found again.
I have only just forgiven Kenneth Branagh for allowing his agent to put him forward as the successor to Olivier, following his (Olivier's) death, and I daresay that Branagh has only just forgiven the agent too. At least Branagh had the good sense to take on a role which took the personal piss out of him in a Harry Potter film, and he took it on with good grace.
We all like to be considered committed to our jobs, but very few of us civilians actually die for them, which Laurence Oliver did every time he went back to the dressing room or hotel.
Break a leg.