Lynn Redgrave

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Lynn Redgrave (2009)

Lynn Rachel Redgrave OBE (born March 8, 1943 in London , England - † May 2, 2010 in Kent , Connecticut ) was a British - American actress . In addition to a five-decade long stage career, which includes appearances in comedies as well as dramas, she appeared in over 90 film and television roles. She was nominated for an Oscar for the feature films Georgy Girl (1966) and Gods and Monsters (1998) . As a member of a well-known family of actors, she processed her own biographical facts as well as those of family members into several successful stage plays in her later years.


childhood and education

Lynn Redgrave came from the Redgrave actor dynasty. She was the youngest daughter of the actors Michael Redgrave (1908–1985) and Rachel Kempson (1910–2003). Her older siblings were the politically active actors Vanessa Redgrave (* 1937) and Corin Redgrave (1939-2010). She was the aunt of Natasha Richardson , Joely Richardson and Jemma Redgrave . For a long time she felt inadequate towards her siblings. "Vanessa was the one who was expected to be the great actress," Redgrave said in a 1999 interview. "It was always 'Corin is the brain, Vanessa is the shining star, oh, and then there's Lynn'." These doubts were favored by her father, who could never make friends with his daughter's acting ambitions ( “That strange, shy pudding from a child” ). Likewise, she was less politically active than her two siblings.

She spent her childhood with educators. She rarely saw her parents and described herself as a sickly and withdrawn child. “I really didn't know him. I lived in his house. I was in awe of him and I worshiped him and I hated him and I loved him all in one go, " said Redgrave of her father. Like her sister Vanessa before her, she attended Queen's Gate School in Kensington . In her youth she was enthusiastic about equestrian sports, but soon realized that a successful sporting career would be closed to her. After toying with the profession of cook, Redgrave decided to pursue an acting career at the age of 15.

Theater career

After attending the Central School of Speech and Drama , she made her debut at the Royal Court Theater in 1962 in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by her brother-in-law, Tony Richardson . She became one of the twelve contract actors at Laurence Olivier's renowned National Theater , was entrusted with supporting roles in plays by Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht and showed a talent for light comedy. On Broadway in New York , she played her first role in Peter Shaffer's comedy Black Comedy (1967) and one of her favorite roles was Billie Dawn in the London revival of Born Yesterday (1973).

In 1976 Redgrave was nominated for a Tony Award for her part as Vivie Warren in George Bernard Shaw's wife Warren's profession . For the self-written one-person play Shakespeare for My Father (1993-1994), which was inspired by her relationship with her father, and for the revival The Constant Wife (2005) Redgrave received two other nominations for the most important US theater award . She saw her debut as a playwright as a kind of self-therapy. In 1990 she appeared in Robert Sturua's London production of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters as Mascha alongside her sister Vanessa (Olga) and her niece Jemma (Irina). At the same time, Vanessa Redgrave condemned the US intervention in the Second Gulf War , whereupon Lynn Redgrave publicly opposed her sister's opinion. The two would not reconcile until years later. With the play The Mandrake Root , she dedicated herself to her mother in 2001. In 2003, Redgrave won an American Drama Desk Award for her appearance as Miss Fozzard in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads Monologue .

Work in film and television

In her film career, Redgrave has played roles in over 90 film and television productions, both in comedies and dramas. Her film debut was in 1963 with a small part as a barmaid in Tony Richardson's Oscar winner Tom Jones - between bed and gallows beside George Devine , Susannah York and David Warner , which it recommended for Laurence Olivier's National Theater. After British critics became aware of Redgrave through the drama The First Night (1964), the international breakthrough followed with her third film Georgy Girl (1966), which is set in London during the swinging sixties . The title role of the likable but unattractive Georgy, who vacillates between a married bon vivant (played by James Mason ) and her young boyfriend ( Alan Bates ), earned her a Golden Globe Award . At the 1967 Academy Awards , she competed with her sister for the Best Actress Award , but lost out to Elizabeth Taylor (for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ).

Through Georgy Girl , Redgrave was for a long time subscribed to the part of the "happy girl with the broken heart" , but could not build on the surprise success of the film. In 2003 she described her early breakthrough as a film actress as a "double-edged sword" . “You end up paying a price for it [...] You're too young to have judgment to decide what to do with your career, so other people start telling you what you should do and you think that they know better, ” said Redgrave. With Woody Allen's satire Everything you always wanted to know about sex, but never dared to ask , the British actress made her debut in US cinema in 1972. After moving to the United States, she became an excellent comedy actress with an intrepid, cheeky sense of humor.

She gained fame in the United States through various roles in television series. The lead role of an administrative clerk in the US hospital series House Calls (1979-1981), an offshoot of the cinema production of the same name (1978, German title: Hausbesuche ) with Glenda Jackson , brought Redgrave an Emmy nomination for best comedy actress. In Teachers Only (1982-1983) she was an English teacher at a high school in Los Angeles . She also appeared as a guest in various talk and game shows. In 1991 she starred in a television adaptation of What Really Happened To Baby Jane? the title role, in which her sister Vanessa played the part of Blanche.

After years of abstinence from the cinema, Redgrave drew attention again in the early 1990s with character roles. In 1996 she played the wife of pianist David Helfgott ( Geoffrey Rush ) in the Oscar-winning artist biography Shine - Der Weg ins Licht . In 1998, she won another Golden Globe and received her second Oscar nomination for the role of the loyal Hungarian housekeeper to horror film director James Whale ( Ian McKellen ) in Gods and Monsters . In 2002 she starred in David Cronenberg's award-winning mystery drama Spider . In 2005 she starred alongside Natasha Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave in James Ivory's historical drama The White Countess . She had her last cinema appearance as a drunk in the US comedy Shopaholic - Die Schnäppchenjägerin (2009). In the same year, Redgrave made her final guest roles on the television series Criminal Intent and Everything Betty! .

Private life and death

Lynn Redgrave lived in the United States for several decades from 1974 and received American citizenship in 1998. She was married to former child actor John Clark from 1967 to 2000, who became her manager. The marriage resulted in a son and two daughters. A $ 10 million lawsuit filed in 1981 against the alleged ban on breastfeeding her daughter on the set of the US television series House Calls (1979-1981) cost her the role and led to years of legal battle.

The lost lawsuit brought her to the brink of financial ruin and, according to her own statements, had a negative effect on her career. "It wasn't exactly that I was blacklisted, but Hollywood is the smallest city in the world and Universal is the most powerful studio in the world and it was just a lot more comfortable not to get involved," Redgrave said in 1994 .

Her relationship with Clark broke up after his previous affair with Redgrave's future daughter-in-law, who was an alleged grandson, came to light in 1998. From 1983 to 1991 Redgrave promoted Weight Watchers and in 1991 presented her autobiography This is Living , in which she dealt with her bulimia disease, among other things . In 2001 she was named Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services as an actress .

In 2010, Lynn Redgrave died at her home in Kent , Connecticut, aged 67 . Her death was preceded by years of breast cancer , about which she and her daughter Annabel Clark published the book Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer (2004). The diagnosis helped her reconcile with her sister Vanessa, whose radical political views had split for years. She also came to terms with her illness in her award-winning one-woman show Nightingale (2006), which she was also inspired to write by the life of her grandmother Beatrice Kempson and the end of her 32-year marriage to Clark. Her last theater work was the self-written play Rachel and Juliet (2009/2010), which was about her mother's fascination with William Shakespeare's Julia .

Theater roles (selection)

year Play role stage
1962 A Midsummer Night's Dream Helena Royal Court Theater (London)
1962 The tulip tree Sarah Elliot Haymarket Theater (London)
1963 The recruiting officer rose Royal National Theater (London)
1964 Andorra Barblin National Theater
1964 Hay Fever Jackie Coryton Royal National Theater
1965 Mother Courage and Her Children Kattrin National Theater
1965 Love for love Miss Prue National Theater
1967 Black Comedy Carol Melkett Ethel Barrymore Theater (New York)
1969 Zoo, zoo, Widdershins zoo Lyceum Theater (Edinburgh)
1970/1971 The Two of Us various Arts Theater (Cambridge)
Garrick Theater (London)
1971 Slag Royal Court Theater
1973 Born Yesterday Billie Dawn Greenwich Theater (London)
1974 My fat friend Vicky Brooks Atkinson Theater (New York)
1976 Mrs. Warren's Profession Vivie Warren Vivian Beaumont Theater (New York)
1977/1978 Saint Joan Joan Circle in the Square Theater (New York)
1985 Aren't we all? Mrs. W. Tatham Brooks Atkinson Theater (New York)
1987 Sweet Sue Susan Too Music Box Theater (New York)
Royale Theater (New York)
1990 Three sisters Masha Queen's Theater (London)
1992 A Little Hotel on the Side Angelique Pinglet Belasco Theater (New York)
1992 The Master Builder Aline Solness Belasco Theater (New York)
1993/1994 Shakespeare for My Father (One Woman Show) Helen Hayes Theater (New York)
2001 Noises Off Dotty Otley Piccadilly Theater (London)
2003 Talking heads Miss Fozzard Minetta Lane Theater (New York)
2005 The Constant Wife Mrs. Culver American Airlines Theater (New York)
2006 Nightingale (One Woman Show) Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles)
2008 Grace Grace Lucille Lortel Theater (New York)
2009 Nightingale (One Woman Show) Manhattan Theater Club Stage I (New York)
2009/2010 Rachel and Juliet (One Woman Show) Folger Theater (Washington DC)
Invisible Theater (Tucson)

Plays (as a writer)

  • 1993: Shakespeare for My Father
  • 2001: The Mandrake Root
  • 2006: Nightingale
  • 2009: Rachel and Juliet

Filmography (selection)



Tony Award

  • 1976: Nominated for Best Actress in a Play for Mrs. Warren's Profession
  • 1993: Nominated for Best Actress in a Play for Shakespeare for My Father
  • 2006: Nominated for Best Actress in a Play for The Constant Wife

Drama Desk Award

  • 1985: Nominated for Best Actress in a Play for Aren't We All?
  • 1993: Nominated for Best One-Person Show for Shakespeare for My Father
  • 2003: Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Talking Heads
  • 2006: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for The Constant Wife

Movie and TV


British Academy Film Award

  • 1965: Nominated for Best Young Actress for The First Night
  • 1967: Nominated for Best British Actress for Georgy Girl
  • 1997: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Shine
  • 1999: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Gods and Monsters


  • 1981: Nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for House Calls

Golden Globe Award

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award

Laurel Award

  • 1967: 2nd place in the category of best young actress for Georgy Girl

London Critics' Circle Film Award

New York Film Critics Circle Award

  • 1966: Best Actress for Georgy Girl (together with Elizabeth Taylor for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? )

Palm Springs International Film Festival

  • 2003: Career Achievement Award

Satellite Awards

  • 1999: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Drama) for Gods and Monsters

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • 1997: nominated in the category of Best Acting Ensemble for Shine
  • 1999: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Gods and Monsters


Web links

Commons : Lynn Redgrave  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. a b entry at
  2. a b cf. Wolf, Matt ( AP ): Star Watch . 4th March 1999, Entertainment News, London
  3. cf. Obituary: Lynn Redgrave at, May 3, 2010 (accessed May 3, 2010)
  4. a b c d e cf. Coveney, Michael: Lynn Redgrave obituary at, May 3, 2010 (accessed May 3, 2010)
  5. a b c d e f g h i cf. Bernstein, Adam: 'Georgy Girl' star, versatile character actress . In: The Washington Post, May 4, 2010, p. B05
  6. a b cf. Vallance, Tom: Lynn Redgrave . In: Independent Extra, May 5, 2010, p. 8
  7. a b cf. McLellan, Dennis: Obituaries: Lynn Redgrave, 1943-2010 . In: Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2010, LATEXTRA, Part AA, p. 1
  8. cf. Too Much Gabbling And Shouting Royal Court Theater: A Midsummer Night's Dream . In: The Times , Jan 25, 1962, No. 55298, p. 5
  9. cf. Lynn Redgrave . In: The Times, May 4, 2010, p. 55
  10. a b cf. Weber, Bruce: Lynn Redgrave, Actress and Playwright in a Theatrical Dynasty, Dies at 67 . In: The New York Times, May 4, 2010, p. 29
  11. cf. Profile in the All Movie Guide (English; accessed May 4, 2010)
  12. cf. News in letter . In: The Times, Sep 1, 1981, No. 61021, p. 5
  13. cf. Brown, Joe: For Lynn Redgrave, Child's Play . In: The Washington Post, February 6, 1994, p. G4
  14. a b cf. Davies, Caroline. Lynn Redgrave - Georgy Girl of the 60s - dies of cancer at, May 3, 2010 (accessed May 3, 2010)
  15. cf. Actress Lynn Redgrave dies at 67 on, May 3, 2010 (accessed May 3, 2010)
  16. cf. Itzkoff, Dave: Lynn Redgrave, 67, Is Dead at, May 3, 2010 (accessed May 4, 2010)
  17. cf. Kuchware, Michael; Italie, Hillel (AP): Actress Lynn Redgrave has died at age 67 . May 3, 2010 at 4:56 PM GMT, New York