Lynn Redgrave

Lynn Redgrave had a very tough act to follow

Lynn Redgrave was born in London, March 1943, to Rachel Kempson and Sir Michael Redgrave. She was the youngest of three siblings, the fifth generation of a family of thespians, and her eldest sister was the indomitable Vanessa Redgrave.

Redgrave studied at the Central School of Music and Drama and made her professional debut in the Royal Court Theatre's 1962 production of ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’. The following year she was invited to join the brand new Britain's National Theatre (now the Royal National Theatre) where she worked with the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward and Franco Zeffirelli.

Redgrave's first feature film was ‘Tom Jones’ (1963) with Albert Finney and she went on to star in ‘Georgy Girl’ in 1966 (which also featured her mother) the film that would make her an international star. 

She made her Broadway debut in ‘Black Comedy’ (1967) with Michael Crawford, Geraldine Page, and soon-to-be husband John Clark, the same year she received her first Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for ‘Georgy Girl’.

By now a star in her own right, Redgrave didn't stop performing, or winning. Among her many notable roles are, The Queen in Woody Allen's ‘Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex’ (1972), the title role in ‘The Happy Hooker’ (1975), ‘Mrs. Warren's Profession’ for which she won a 1976 Tony, Ann Anderson in ‘House Calls’ (1981) for which she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, the 1989 BBC Best Television Actress award went to her for ‘Death of a Son’ and she won multiple awards for her one-woman show ‘Shakespeare for My Father’.

In 1996 she was nominated for a SAG and a BAFTA playing Gillian Helfgott in ‘Shine’ and in 1998’s as Hanna in ‘Gods and Monsters’, winning her a Golden Globe in 1999 and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

As actress, director, author, teacher, and role model for almost four decades, Redgrave made significant contributions to the arts. Her lifelong dedication was rewarded with various honorary doctorates and the 1997 American Express Tribute for Achievement in the Arts.  She showcased her talents across the board, at the end of the 90’s she was co-starring in two American television shows, the late-night comedy series ‘Rude Awakening’ and the mini-series, ‘Different’.

In 2000 her marriage collapsed after her husband informed his wife he’d fathered a child with her personal assistant. Said assistant went on to marry and divorced Redgrave’s son, Benjamin, the oldest of her three children. 

In 2001 she was appointed OBE for her huge contribution to her profession but this was a light in bleak period of her life. The following year Redgrave was diagnosed with breast cancer, she documented her experiences in the book ‘Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer’.

In late 2006, still battling cancer, she performed solo in the play that she had written, ‘Nightingale’. Based upon her grandmother. The following year she appeared in an Episode of ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘Law and Order’. In 2009 she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of fame after having lived in the US for most of her adult life.

In May 2010, a month after her brother, Corin, Redgrave lost her battle with cancer and was laid to rest in Lithgow, New York, where her mother Rachel Kempson and niece, Natasha Richardson also rest.