Vanessa Redgrave Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (77)  | Personal Quotes (23)  | Salary (7)

Overview (2)

Born in Blackheath, London, England, UK
Height 5' 11" (1.81 m)

Mini Bio (1)

On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave.

Vanessa was born in Greenwich, London, to Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, both thespians. Three quarters of a century after her birth (despite numerous ups and down) this rather forward expectation has definitely been lived up to with an acclaimed actress that has won (among many others) an Academy Award, two Emmys, two Golden Globes, two Cannes Best Actress awards, a Tony, a Screen Actors Guild award, a Laurence Olivier theatre award and a BAFTA fellowship.

Growing up with such celebrated theatrical parents, great expectations were put on both herself, her brother Corin Redgrave and sister Lynn Redgrave at an early age. Shooting up early and finally reaching a height just short of 6 foot, Redgrave initially had plans to dance and perform ballet as a profession. However she settled on acting and entered the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1954 and four years later made her West End debut. In the decade of the 1960s she developed and progressed to become one of the most noted young stars of the English stage and then film. Performances on the London stage included the classics: 'A Touch of Sun', 'Coriolanus', 'A Midsummer's Night Dream', 'All's Well that Ends Well', 'As You Like It', 'The Lady from the Sea', 'The Seagull' and many others. By the mid 1960s, she had booked various film roles and matured into a striking beauty with a slim, tall frame and attractive face. In 1966 she made her big screen debut as the beautiful ex-wife of a madman in an Oscar nominated performance in the oddball comedy Morgan! (1966), as well as the enigmatic woman in a public park in desperate need of a photographer's negatives in the iconic Blow-Up (1966) and briefly appeared in an unspoken part of Anne Boleyn in the Best Picture winner of the year A Man for All Seasons (1966).

She managed to originate the title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" the same year on the London stage (which was then adapted for the big screen a few years later, but Maggie Smith was cast instead and managed to win an Oscar for her performance). Her follow up work saw her play the lead in the box office hit adaptation Camelot (1967), a film popular with audiences but dismissed by critics, and her second Academy Award nominated performance as Isadora Duncan in the critically praised Isadora (1968).

Her rise in popularity on film also coincided with her public political involvement, she was one of the lead faces in protesting against the Vietnam war and lead a famous march on the US embassy, was arrested during a Ban-the-Bomb demonstration, publicly supported Yasar Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and fought for various other human rights and particularly left wing causes. Despite her admirably independent qualities, most of her political beliefs weren't largely supported by the public. In 1971 after 3 films back to back, Redgrave suffered a miscarriage (it would have been her fourth, after Natasha Richardson, Joely Richardson and Carlo Gabriel Nero) and a break up with her then partner and father of her son, Franco Nero. This was around the same time her equally political brother Corin introduced her to the Workers Revolutionary Party, a group who aimed to destroy capitalism and abolish the monarchy. Her film career began to suffer and take the back seat as she became more involved with the party, twice unsuccessfully attempting to run as a party member for parliament, only obtaining a very small percentage of votes.

In terms of her film career at the time, she was given probably the smallest part in the huge ensemble who-dunnit hit, Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and given another thankless small part as Lola Deveraux in the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976).

After a celebrated Broadway debut, she created further controversy in 1977 with her involvement in two films, firstly in Julia (1977) where she acted opposite Jane Fonda as a woman fighting Nazi oppression and narrated and featured in the documentary The Palestinian (1977) where she famously danced holding a Kalashnikov rifle. She publicly stated her condemnation of what she termed "Zionist hudlums", which outraged Jewish groups and as a result a screening of her documentary was bombed and Redgrave was personally threatened by the Jewish Defense League (JDL). Julia (1977) happened to be a huge critical success and Redgrave herself was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but Jewish support groups demanded her nomination to be dropped and at the event of the Academy Awards burned effigies of Redgrave and protested and picketed. Redgrave was forced to enter the event via a rear entrance to avoid harm and when she won the award she famously remarked on the frenzy causes as "Zionist hoodlums" which caused the audience to audibly gasp and boo. The speech reached newspapers the next morning and her reputation was further damaged.

It came as a surprise when CBS hired her for the part of real life Nazi camp survivor Fania Fenelon in Playing for Time (1980), despite more controversy and protesting (Fenelon herself didn't even want Redgrave to portray her) she won an Emmy for the part and the film was one of the highest rating programs of the year. Her follow up film work to her Oscar had been mostly low key but successful, performances in films such as Yanks (1979), Agatha (1979), The Bostonians (1984), Wetherby (1985) and Prick Up Your Ears (1987) further cemented her reputation as a fine actress and she received various accolades and nominations.

However mainly in the 1980s, she focused on TV films and high budget mini-series as well as theatre in both London and New York. She made headlines in 1984 when she sued the Boston Symphony Orchestra for $5 million for wrongful cancellation of her contract because of her politics (she also stated her salary was significantly reduced in Agatha (1979) for the same reason). She became more mainstream in the 1990s where she appeared in a string of high profile films but the parts often underused Redgrave's abilities or they were small cameos/5-minute parts. Highlights included Howards End (1992), Little Odessa (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996) and Cradle Will Rock (1999), as well as her leading lady parts in A Month by the Lake (1995) and Mrs Dalloway (1997).

In 2003 she finally won the coveted Tony award for her performance in 'The Long Day's Journey Into Night' and followed up with another two Tony nominated performances on Broadway, her one woman show 'The Year of Magical Thinking' in 2007 and 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 2010 which not only was extended due to high demand, but was also transferred to the West End for an additional three months in 2011.

Vanessa continues to lend her name to causes and has been notable for donating huge amounts of her own money for her various beliefs. She has publicly opposed the war in Iraq, campaigned for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, supported the rights of gays and lesbians as well as AIDs research and many other issues. She released her autobiography in 1993 and a few years later she was elected to serve as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She also famously declined the invitation to be made a Dame for her services as an actress. Many have wondered the possible heights her career could have reached if it wasn't for her outspoken views, but being a celebrity and the artificial lifestyle usually attached doesn't seem to interest Redgrave in the slightest.

Vanessa has worked with all three of her children professionally on numerous occasions (her eldest daughter, Natasha Richardson tragically died at the age of 45 due to a skiing accident) and in her mid 70s she still works regularly on television, film and theatre, delivering time and time again great performances.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dale O'Connor <daleoc@worldnet.att.net> and BradKM

Family (4)

Spouse Franco Nero (31 December 2006 - present)  (1 child)
Tony Richardson (29 April 1962 - 28 April 1967)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Natasha Richardson
Joely Richardson
Carlo Gabriel Nero
Parents Rachel Kempson
Michael Redgrave
Relatives Micheál Richardson (grandchild)
Jemma Redgrave (aunt or uncle)
Daisy Bevan (grandchild)
Jemma Redgrave (niece or nephew)
Roy Redgrave (grandparent)
Kelly Clark (niece or nephew)
Luke Redgrave (niece or nephew)
Lynn Redgrave (sibling)
Corin Redgrave (sibling)
Annabel Clark (niece or nephew)
Margaret Scudamore (grandparent)

Trade Mark (1)

Often chooses roles that are difficult or controversial, not roles that will bring her more money or a higher status.

Trivia (77)

Claims to be on hit-list of neo-Nazi group Combat 18. [February 1997]
She was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1967 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to drama.
(1971-1986) Was in a long relationship with former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.
Both she and sister Lynn Redgrave were nominated for the 1967 Best Actress Academy Award. Vanessa was nominated for Morgan! (1966) and Lynn for Georgy Girl (1966). They both lost to Elizabeth Taylor, who won for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
Won Broadway's 2003 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night."
She allegedly refused the British honour of Dame of the order of the British Empire in 1999.
She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1985 (1984 season) for Best Actress in a Revival for "The Aspern Papers".
She was nominated for a 1997 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Play of 1996 for her performance in "John Gabriel Borkman".
She was awarded the 1985 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actor in The Seagull.
She was awarded the 1991 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in When She Danced.
She was awarded the 1985 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for her performance in The Seagull.
She was awarded the 1988 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in A Touch of the Poet.
In 1962, she became one of the first celebrities to visit communist Cuba.
A longtime member of Britain's Workers Revolutionary Party
Appeared on "BBC News 24" Breakfast and stated that the massacre of Russian school children by Chechen guerrillas was not an act of terrorism. (4 September 2004).
In 2003, she became the sixteenth performer to win the Triple Crown of acting. Oscar: Best Supporting Actress, Julia (1977), Tony: Best Actress-Play, "Long Day's Journey into Night" (2003), and Emmys: Best Actress-Limited Series/Special, Playing for Time (1980) & Best Supporting Actress-Miniseries/Movie, If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000).
Was set to star in Dario Argento's Opera (1987), but dropped out shortly before production was scheduled to commence.
First performer to win two individual Acting Awards at the Cannes Festival. (Dean Stockwell won twice at the festival before, but he had to share both of his awards with his co-stars)
On a June 2005 appearance on Larry King Live (1985), she expressed her fondness for the movie Meet the Fockers (2004) and said that the film should have won an Academy Award.
Trained for the stage at the Central School for Speech and Drama in London, and in 1959 became a member of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Theatre Company.
Received The Helen Hayes award nomination for her work in Hecuba. This play was a major success. It was so well received that the BAM theater in New York scheduled it for two weeks and it went on to being performed in Delphi.
Plays mother to real-lifer daughter Joely Richardson in a few episodes of Nip/Tuck (2003).
Spoke at the Scottish Parliment in the summer of 2005.
Voted by People magazine (May 8th 2006) as one of the 100 most beautiful people.
Voted by Entertainment Weekly as one of the 25 greatest Actresses
Is mentioned, along with Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy, in the song "Jammin' Me" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
When director David Hare and producers of "The Year of Magical Thinking" were thinking of an actress to cast in their one-woman show, they could only think of one name, and that was Redgrave. They said that only she could tackle the range of emotion created by the character.
After filming Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), The Devils (1971) and The Trojan Women (1971), she suffered a miscarriage in 1971. It was a boy and would have been her and Franco Nero's second child.
After filming The Trojan Women (1971), Katharine Hepburn favored Vanessa Redgrave over all actresses and later remarked that she was, "A thrill to look at and to listen to.".
Received rave reviews for originating the role of Jean Brodie in, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" winning the London Evening Standard award for her work.
Along with Claude Rains ( for Mr. Skeffington (1944)), Kate Winslet (for Iris (2001)), Mare Winningham (for Georgia (1995)) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (for The Master (2012)), she is one of the few performers to be nominated for an Supporting Oscar (for Julia (1977)) for playing the title role in a movie. As of 2013, Redgrave is the only one to win.
She was the first of the only four actresses to win the Best Actress award twice at Cannes Film Festival. She won for Morgan! (1966) in 1966 and Isadora (1968) in 1968. The others are: Isabelle Huppert for Violette (1978) in 1978 and The Piano Teacher (2001) in 2001; Helen Mirren for Cal (1984) in 1984 and The Madness of King George (1994) in 1995; Barbara Hershey for Shy People (1987) in 1987 and A World Apart (1988) in 1988.
Won the Drama Desk award in 2007 for Best Actor in a Solo performance for "The Year of Magical Thinking". She also received her second Tony award nomination for Best Actress for the same play.
Former mother-in-law of Working Title films co-producer Tim Bevan and Robert Fox.
She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
Both she and her daughter Joely Richardson have played an historical queen who was executed by beheading. Redgrave played the title character in Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) while her daughter played Marie Antoinette in The Affair of the Necklace (2001).
Named Jeanne Moreau as co-respondent in her 1967 divorce from Tony Richardson on grounds of adultery.
Lost her daughter, Natasha Richardson, on March 18, 2009 as the result of a skiing accident at Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
Nominated for the 2007 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Drama for "The Year of Magical Thinking".
Refused to accept any money for her role as Anne Boleyn in A Man for All Seasons (1966).
Was offered the role of Margaret More in A Man for All Seasons (1966) but she turned it down due her commitments to the theatre and opted for the cameo role of Anne Boleyn instead. Susannah York was cast as Margaret More instead.
After the death of her daughter, she subsequently dropped out of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood (2010) in which she had a supporting role. Eileen Atkins replaced her.
She and her brother, the late Corin Redgrave, both appeared in films based on the legend of "King Arthur". Vanessa played "Queen Guinevere" in Camelot (1967) while Corin played "Lord Cornwall" in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981).
(March 2009 - May 2010) Lost her daughter Natasha Richardson, her younger brother and sister, Corin Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave, in the space of just 14 months. Corin and Lynn died within a month of one another.
Appeared as an illustration on the cover of Time magazine (March 17, 1967) with sister Lynn Redgrave. Both sisters had just been respectively Oscar-nominated for Morgan! (1966) and Georgy Girl (1966).
Is one of 17 actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Bancroft, Maggie Smith, Ellen Burstyn, Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand, Jessica Lange, Viola Davis and Glenda Jackson.
Picked by Walt Disney to become a Live Reference Model for 'Alice' in Alice in Wonderland (1951). Before leaving London for shooting, Vanessa started to sleepwalk. Due to this, her parents refused to send her. Kathryn Beaumont got the gig instead.
Didn't attend the Academy Awards ceremony, the year her performance in The Bostonians (1984) was nominated because her father had died a few days prior. She was in Los Angeles at the time of his death attending Academy functions and conferences and flew back to the UK.
First met long time partner Timothy Dalton on the set of Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) in 1970. Their relationship reportedly blossomed after a heated 6 hour argument regarding the true meaning of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech.
She speaks Italian and French fluently.
Her appearance with husband-to-be Franco Nero in Uninvited (1999), marked the only time the couple were directed by their only son Carlo Gabriel Nero.
She dropped out of the film The Magdalene Sisters (2002) due to her mother Rachel Kempson's ill health and was replaced by Geraldine McEwan.
Appeared on Broadway in "Long Day's Journey Into Night".
Started own political party in the UK to be focused on human rights violations. It is called Peace and Progress Party, it will field candidates in the next British general election.
Fought to stop an open air gold mine in Romania. She was met with protest, but ignores it all.
Was the 80th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Julia (1977) at The 50th Annual Academy Awards (1978) on April 3, 1978.
She and her daughter Joely Richardson played Queen Elizabeth I in Anonymous (2011).
She was considered for the role of Tsarina Alexandra in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) before Janet Suzman was cast. Her father Michael Redgrave played Sergey Sazonov in the film.
Is one of 9 actresses who have received an Academy Award nomination for portraying a real-life queen. The others in chronological order are Norma Shearer for Marie Antoinette (1938), Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter (1968), Geneviève Bujold for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Janet Suzman for Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Helen Mirren for The Madness of King George (1994) and The Queen (2006), Judi Dench for Mrs. Brown (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech (2010).
She, her mother Rachel Kempson and her two younger siblings Corin Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave all appeared in films that won the Academy Award for Best Picture: Rachel appeared in Tom Jones (1963) and Out of Africa (1985), Lynn also appeared in Tom Jones (1963) and Vanessa and Corin both appeared in A Man for All Seasons (1966).
She played Anne Boleyn in A Man for All Seasons (1966) and her daughter Queen Elizabeth I in Anonymous (2011). Her real life daughter Joely Richardson also played the younger Queen Elizabeth in the latter film.
She worked with her mother Rachel Kempson in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) and Déjà Vu (1997) and her father Michael Redgrave in Oh! What a Lovely War (1969).
She played the daughter of her mother Rachel Kempson in both The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) and Déjà Vu (1997).
She has three roles in common with her daughter Joely Richardson: (1) they both played Jean Travers in Wetherby (1985), (2) they both the unnamed protagonist in The Fever (2004) and (3) they both played Queen Elizabeth in Anonymous (2011).
She suffered a near-fatal heart attack in April 2015 and gave up smoking after being diagnosed with emphysema. She revealed her lungs are only working at 30% capacity.
As of 2016 she is the 10th earliest surviving recipient of a Best Actress Oscar nomination, tied with Anouk Aimée and behind only Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Caron, Carroll Baker, Joanne Woodward, Shirley MacLaine, Doris Day, a tied Piper Laurie and Sophia Loren, Julie Andrews, and a tied Julie Christie and Samantha Eggar.
She played the mother of her real life niece Jemma Redgrave in Howards End (1992).
Has five grandchildren.
She, her father Michael Redgrave and her siblings Corin Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave all appeared in films directed by Sidney Lumet: Michael in The Hill (1965), Corin in The Deadly Affair (1967), Lynn in The Deadly Affair (1967) and The Last of the Mobile Hot Shots (1970) and Vanessa in The Sea Gull (1968) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
Susan Sarandon's favorite actress.
Delivered her daughter Natasha Richardson via emergency Caesarean section and breastfed her until she was 9 months old.
Despite enduring long and difficult labours, was able to deliver her children Joely Richardson and Carlo Gabriel Nero naturally.
Is one of 19 actresses to have received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for a performance where they acted out a labor and/or birth; hers being for Isadora (1968). The others in chronological order are Luise Rainer for The Good Earth (1937), Jane Wyman for Johnny Belinda (1948), Eleanor Parker for Caged (1950), Elizabeth Taylor for Raintree County (1957), Leslie Caron for The L-Shaped Room (1962), Shirley MacLaine for Irma la Douce (1963), Geneviève Bujold for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Marsha Mason for Cinderella Liberty (1973), Ann-Margret for Tommy (1975), Ellen Burstyn for Same Time, Next Year (1978), Jessica Lange for Sweet Dreams (1985), Meryl Streep for A Cry in the Dark (1988), Samantha Morton for In America (2002), Elliot Page for Juno (2007), Gabourey Sidibe for Precious (2009), Ruth Negga for Loving (2016), Yalitza Aparicio for Roma (2018) and Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman (2020).
As of 2018, has been in four Oscar Best Picture nominees: A Man for All Seasons (1966), Julia (1977), Howards End (1992) and Atonement (2007), with A Man for All Seasons winning in 1966.
Her favorite stage part was Rosalind in 'As You Like It'.
At the age of ten, she was assessed for the role of Emmeline as a child in The Blue Lagoon (1949) but was rejected. Her father Michael Redgrave was considered for the male lead as an adult in a production for Gainsborough that was never made because of World War II.
She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2022 Queen's New Years Honours List for services to drama.

Personal Quotes (23)

[accepting her Oscar for Julia (1977)] My dear colleagues, I thank you very, very much for this tribute to my work. I think that Jane Fonda and I have done the best work of our lives, and I salute you and I pay tribute to you, and I think you should be very proud that in the last few weeks you have stood firm and you have refused to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums [interrupted by boos] whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and to their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression. And I pledge to you that I will continue to fight against anti-Semitism and fascism. Thank you.
I choose all my roles very carefully so that when my career is finished I will have covered all our recent history of oppression.
I've opened my mouth on a lot of subjects. And I thought the more prestige you get, I'd have the power to do what I like. It's not true.
I don't think I ever felt beautiful until I was pregnant and when I gave birth to my children. I had terrible acne when I was a teenager and I was very tall, so tall I couldn't see myself in my mother's long mirror.
I don't consider myself beautiful at all, I'm usually running around like a scruff.
Of course, I am misrepresented very often, but so is everybody who has got something to say.
I would have liked to have more children. I had always wanted five children when I was younger. That was my dream, I wanted five and I don't think I would have been bothered if it had turned out to be six. In the end, I had four, but I lost one of them, the fourth one. I had a miscarriage.
Anybody can lose their job and have nothing. And people mind having nothing.
Ask the right questions if you're to find the right answers.
How can we help the people in the audience--and ourselves--remove the cobwebs that prevents us all from being able to reach and touch things?
Analyzing the problem is vital. It's the only way you're going to arrive at the right thing to do.
A theater is being given over to market forces, which means that a whole generation that should be able to do theater as well as see it is being completely deprived.
I have a tremendous use for passionate statement.
It's a kinky part of my nature -- to meddle.
I give myself to my parts as to a lover.
America is gangsterism for the private profit of the few.
We all come to the theatre with baggage. The baggage of our daily lives, the baggage of our problems, the baggage of our tragedies, the baggage of being tired. It doesn't matter what age you are. But if our hearts get opened and released - well that is what theatre can do, and does sometimes, and everyone is thankful when that happens.
[Speaking of her parents (Michael & Rachel), sister Lynn, and brother Corin] We are the sprigs of a great and beautiful tree.
I always loved singing because we used to sing around the piano. My father [Michael Redgrave] was a brilliant pianist. He loved American musicals. He would bring back loads of song sheets when he went to America to work. And we'd group round the piano on Sunday and sing our hearts out.
One must never comment as an actor, never show that a character is shallow or vindictive, but let that be conveyed. I mean, none of us thinks of ourselves as being vindictive or shallow - perhaps we should.
I discovered a long time ago that the camera does lie, and thank God it does.
I'm happy to tell you about it, though I'm irritated to be shown to be so stupid. But there you are, it's the smoking that did it. My lungs are shattered, about 30 per cent capacity if I don't smoke. Which of course I don't anymore, though I was horrified to learn from my doctor that there are people with this diagnosis who still do.
[on being made a Dame] Surprised and grateful to join this wondrous group of British artists whose work has inspired me and audiences the world over. My generation fought for freedom of expression. Long may this remain.

Salary (7)

Camelot (1967) $200,000
The Devils (1971) $100,000
Murder on the Orient Express (1974) $100,000
Julia (1977) $150,000
Agatha (1979) $50,000
The Bostonians (1984) $60,000
Steaming (1985) $100,000

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