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Lynn Redgrave

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Basic Information

Lynn Redgrave

Date of Birth: 8 March 1943
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Birth Name: Lynn Rachel Redgrave
Height: 5' 10" (1.78 m)


Lynn Rachel Redgrave, OBE (8 March 1943 – 2 May 2010) was an English actress.

A member of the well-known British family of actors, Redgrave trained in London before making her theatrical debut in 1962. By the mid-1960s she had appeared in several films, including Tom Jones (1963), and Georgy Girl (1966) which won her a New York Film Critics Award and nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

In 1967, she made her Broadway debut, and performed in several stage productions in New York while making frequent returns to London's West End. She performed with her sister Vanessa in Three Sisters in London, and in the title role in a television production of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? in 1991. She made a return to films in the late 1990s in films such as Shine (1996) and Gods and Monsters (1998), for which she received another Academy Award nomination.

Early life and theatrical family

Redgrave was born in Marylebone, London, to actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Her sister is actress Vanessa Redgrave; her brother was actor and political activist Corin Redgrave. She was the aunt of actor Carlo Gabriel Nero and actresses Joely Richardson, Jemma Redgrave and Natasha Richardson.


After training in London's Central School of Speech and Drama, Redgrave made her professional debut in a 1962 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Court Theatre. Following a tour of Billy Liar and repertory work in Dundee, she made her West End debut at the Haymarket, in N.C. Hunter's The Tulip Tree with Celia Johnson and John Clements.

She was invited to join The National Theatre for its inaugural season at the Old Vic, working with such directors as Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, and Noel Coward in roles such as Rose in The Recruiting Officer, Barblin in Andorra, Jackie in Hay Fever, Kattrin in Mother Courage, Miss Prue in Love for Love, and Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing which kept her busy for the next three years.

During that time she appeared in films such as Tom Jones (1963), Girl with Green Eyes (1964), The Deadly Affair (1966) and the title role in Georgy Girl (also 1966). For the last of these roles she gained the New York Film Critics Award, the Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.

In 1967 she made her Broadway debut in Black Comedy with Michael Crawford and Geraldine Page. London appearances included Michael Frayn's The Two of Us with Richard Briers at the Garrick, David Hare's Slag at the Royal Court, and Born Yesterday, directed by Tom Stoppard at Greenwich in 1973.

In 1974, she returned to Broadway in My Fat Friend. There soon followed Knock Knock with Charles Durning, Mrs Warren's Profession (for a Tony nomination) with Ruth Gordon, and Saint Joan. In the 1985/86 season she appeared with Rex Harrison, Claudette Colbert, and Jeremy Brett in Aren't We All? and with Mary Tyler Moore in A. R. Gurney's Sweet Sue.

In 1983, she played Cleopatra in an American television version of Antony and Cleopatra opposite Timothy Dalton. She was in Misalliance in Chicago with Irene Worth, (earning the Sarah Siddons and Joseph Jefferson awards), Twelfth Night at the American Shakespeare Festival, California Suite, The King and I, Hellzapoppin', Les Dames du Jeudi, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and The Cherry Orchard. In 1988 she narrated a dramatised television documentary, Silent Mouse, which told the story of the creation of the Christmas carol Silent Night. In the early winter of 1991 she starred with Stewart Granger and Ricardo Montalban in a Hollywood production of Don Juan in Hell.

With her sister Vanessa as Olga, she returned to the London stage playing Masha in Three Sisters in 1991 at the Queen's Theatre, London, and later played the title role in a television production of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, again with her sister. Highlights of her early film career also include The National Health, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, The Happy Hooker and Getting It Right. In the United States she was seen on such television series as Teachers Only, House Calls, Centennial and Chicken Soup.

She also starred in BBC productions such as The Faint-Hearted Feminist, A Woman Alone, Death of a Son, Calling the Shots and Fighting Back. She played Broadway again in Moon Over Buffalo (1996) with co-star Robert Goulet, and starred in the world premier of Tennessee Williams' The Notebook of Trigorin, based on Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. She won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in Talking Heads.

Redgrave became well known in the United States after appearing in the television series House Calls, for which she received an Emmy nomination. She was fired from the show after she insisted on bringing her child to rehearsals so as to continue a breast-feeding schedule. A lawsuit ensued but was dismissed a few years after. Following that, she appeared in a long-running series of television commercials for H. J. Heinz Company, then the manufacturer of the weight loss foods for Weight Watchers, a Heinz subsidiary. Her signature line for the ads was "This Is Living". She wrote a book of her life experiences with the same title, which included a selection of Weight Watcher recipes. The autobiographical section later became the basis of her one-woman play Shakespeare For My Father.

In 1993 she was elected President of The Players, the famous theatrical club and historic bastion of American theatre history. In 1989 she appeared on Broadway in Love Letters with her husband John Clark, and thereafter they performed the play around the country, and on one occasion for the jury in the O. J. Simpson case. In 1993 she appeared on Broadway in the one-woman play Shakespeare for My Father, which Clark produced and directed. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

In 2005, Redgrave appeared at Quinnipiac University and Connecticut College in the play Sisters of the Garden, about the sisters Fanny and Rebekka Mendelssohn and Nadia and Lili Boulanger. She was also reported to be writing a one-woman play about her battle with breast cancer and her 2003 mastectomy, based on her book Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer with photos by her daughter Annabel and text by Redgrave herself.

In September 2006, she appeared in Nightingale, the U.S. premiere of her new one-woman play based upon her maternal grandmother Beatrice, at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. She also performed the play in May 2007 at Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut. On both occasions she earned excellent reviews but was forced to perform seated at a table rather than standing on stage due to unspecified health problems, which critics found distracting. In 2007, she appeared in an episode of Desperate Housewives as Dahlia Hainsworth.

She most recently appeared on an episode of ABC's Ugly Betty.

Voice work

Redgrave narrated the audiobook Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis for Harper Audio, and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke for Listening Library.

Personal life and death

On 2 April 1967, Lynn Redgrave married the English actor John Clark. Together they had three children, airline pilot Benjamin Clark (born 1968), singer-songwriter Pema (originally Kelly) Clark (born 1970), and author and photographer Annabel Lucy Clark (born 1981). The marriage ended in 2000 after Clark revealed to Redgrave that he had fathered a child with her personal assistant, who later married (and subsequently divorced) their son Benjamin. The divorce proceedings were acrimonious and became front page news, with Clark alleging that Redgrave had also been unfaithful.

Lynn Redgrave was appointed OBE in 2001. She was a naturalised citizen of the United States.

She discussed her health problems associated with bulimia and breast cancer. She was diagnosed with the latter in December 2002, had a mastectomy in January 2003, and chemotherapy. She died from breast cancer in her Kent, Connecticut home on 2 May 2010, aged 67. Her brother, actor Corin Redgrave, also a cancer patient, had died on 6 April 2010, aged 70.

Redgrave's funeral was held on 8 May at First Congregational Church in Kent, Connecticut. She was buried at Saint Peter's Episcopal Cemetery in Lithgow, New York; her mother Rachel Kempson and niece Natasha Richardson are also buried there.


Year Film Role Notes
1963 Tom Jones Susan
1964 Girl with Green Eyes Baba Brennan Nominated — BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
1966 Georgy Girl Georgy Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyKansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best ActressNew York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female

The Deadly Affair Virgin (in "Edward II")
1967 Smashing Time Yvonne
1969 The Virgin Soldiers Phillipa Raskin
1970 Last of the Mobile Hot Shots Myrtle
1971 ¡Viva la muerte... tua! Mary O'Donnell
1972 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) The Queen
Every Little Crook and Nanny Nanny
1973 The National Health Nurse Sweet/Nurse Betty Martin
1975 The Happy Hooker Xaviera Hollander
1976 The Big Bus Camille Levy
1978 Centennial Charlotte Buckland Seccombe (later Charlotte Lloyd) Television miniseries
1979 House Calls Ann Anderson Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy

1980 Sunday Lovers Lady Davina (segment "An Englishman's Home")
1985 The Bad Seed Monica Breedlove
1986 Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra
1987 Morgan Stewart's Coming Home Nancy Stewart
1989 Midnight Midnight
Getting It Right Joan
1996 Shine Gillian Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

1997 Toothless Rogers
1998 Gods and Monsters Hanna Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion PictureIndependent Spirit Award for Best Supporting FemaleLondon Critics Circle Film Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year

Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

White Lies Nominated — Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series
Strike! Miss McVane
1999 Touched Carrie
The Annihilation of Fish Poinsettia
2000 Lion of Oz The Wicked Witch of the East (voice)
The Simian Line Katharine
The Next Best Thing Helen Whittaker
Deeply Celia
How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog Edna
2001 Venus and Mars Emily Vogel
My Kingdom Mandy
2002 Spider Mrs. Wilkinson
Unconditional Love Nola Fox
The Wild Thornberrys Movie Cordelia Thornberry (voice)
Hansel & Gretel Woman/Witch
Anita and Me Mrs. Ormerod
2003 Charlie's War Grandma Lewis
Peter Pan Aunt Millicent
2004 Kinsey Final Interview Subject
2005 The White Countess Olga Belinskya
2007 The Jane Austen Book Club Mama Sky
2009 Confessions of a Shopaholic Drunken Lady at Ball
My Dog Tulip Nancy (voice)


  • Granddaughter of Roy Redgrave
  • Children, with John Clark: Ben, Kelly Clark, Annabel Clark.
  • Daughter of Michael Redgrave & Rachel Kempson,
  • Younger sister of Corin Redgrave & Vanessa Redgrave.
  • Aunt of Natasha Richardson, Joely Richardson, Carlo Gabriel Nero, Luke Redgrave and Jemma Redgrave.
  • Became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
  • She was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of British Empire) in the 2002 Queen's New Years Honours List for her services to drama.
  • Both she and her sister, Vanessa Redgrave, were nominated for the 1966 Best Actress Academy Award. Lynn was nominated for Georgy Girl (1966), and Vanessa was nominated for Morgan! (1966). They both lost out to Elizabeth Taylor, who won for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
  • Was one of the judges in the 1972 Miss Universe pageant.
  • Has twice been nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actress (Play): in 1976 for George Bernard Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession;" and seventeen years later, in 1993, for "Shakespeare for My Father," her one-woman show about her relationship with her father, Michael Redgrave.
  • Won the 2004 Barrymore Award (honoring Philadelphia theater) for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for "Collected Stories."
  • Played "Final Interview Subject" in Kinsey (2004) as well as "The Queen" in Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), which was inspired by the sex manual by Dr. David Reuben, "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)" (1969), three years after the Masters & Johnson study Human Sexual Response.
  • Played Queen Elizabeth I in The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama in Summer of 2006 in Manteo, NC.
  • After her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment she wrote "Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer" with her daughter, Annabel Clark, and Barron Lerner.
  • Sister-in-law of Franco Nero.
  • She was awarded the 1976 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Guest Artist for her performance in the play, "Misalliance" at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Nominated for the 2005 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Drama for "The Constant Wife".
  • Suffered from bulimia in the 70s.
  • Was laid to rest at St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, New York, the same place her mother Rachel Kempson and her niece Natasha Richardson were buried. Present at Lynn's funeral were her sister Vanessa Redgrave, her niece Joely Richardson, Brendan Fraser and Liam Neeson. [April 9th, 2010]
  • Appeared as an illustration on the cover of Time magazine (March 17, 1967) with sister Vanessa Redgrave. Both sisters had just been respectively Oscar-nominated for Georgy Girl (1966) and Morgan! (1966).