LYNN REDGRAVE PASSES AWAY AT 67
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
I find this sad news so devastating that I can barely articulate it in words.
I worship the Redgraves. They’re all so beautiful and immensely gifted.
LYNN was always a particular favourite of mine. I can’t believe that she’s gone at 67. It’s an absolute tragedy.
But Ms. Redgrave did have a brilliant career and she left a wondrous legacy.
She will be greatly missed.
LYNN REDGRAVE, an introspective and independent player in her family’s acting dynasty, who became a 1960s sensation as the iconoclastic title character of GEORGY GIRL and later dramatized her troubled past in such one person stage performances as Shakespeare For My Father and Nightingale, has died.
She was 67.
Her publicist Rick Miramontez said that Ms. Redgrave died peacefully Sunday night at her home in Connecticut. Children BEN, PEMA and ANNABEL were with her, as were close friends.
“Our beloved mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven year journey with breast cancer,” her children said in a statement today.
“She lived, loved and worked harder than ever before. The endless memories she created as a mother, grandmother, writer, actor and friend will sustain us for the rest of our lives. Our entire family asks for privacy through this difficult time.”
Her death comes a year after her niece NATASHA RICHARDSON died from head injuries sustained in a skiing accident in Canada and just a month after the death of her older brother CORIN REDGRAVE.
The youngest child of MICHAEL REDGRAVE and RACHEL KEMPSON, LYNN REDGRAVE never quite managed the notoriety of elder sibling VANESSA REDGRAVE.
But she was a wonderful accomplished performer. She received ACADEMY AWARD nominations for GEORGY GIRL and GODS & MONSTERS as well as TONY nods for Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Shakespeare For My Father and The Constant Wife.
In recent years, she also made appearances in the television shows Ugly Betty, Law & Order and Desperate Housewives.
“Vanessa was the one expected to be the great actress,” LYNN REDGRAVE told The Associated Press in 1999.
“It was always, ‘Corin’s the brain, Vanessa’s the shining star…oh and then there’s Lynn.“‘
In the theatre, LYNN REDGRAVE, with her striking dark red hair, often displayed a sunny, sweet temperament, much like her ebullient off stage personality. It worked well in such shows as Black Comedy, her Broadway debut in 1972 and again two years later in My Fat Friend, a comedy about an overweight young woman who sheds pounds to find romance.
Statuesque and vibrantly blue eyed like her sister, LYNN was as unguarded about her personal life as VANESSA has been about politics. In plays and in interviews, LYNN confided openly about her family, her marriage and her health. She acknowledged that she suffered from bulimia and served as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers. With daughter ANNABEL CLARK, she released a 2004 book about her fight with cancer, JOURNAL: A MOTHER & DAUGHTER’S RECOVERY FROM BREAST CANCER.
LYNN REDGRAVE was born in London in 1943 and despite self doubts pursued the family trade. She studied at London’s CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH & DRAMA and was not yet 20 when she debuted professionally on stage in a London production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.
Like her siblings, she appeared in plays and in films, working under NOEL COWARD and LAURENCE OLIVIER as a member of the prestigious NATIONAL THEATRE and for director/brother in law TONY RICHARDSON in the 1963 BEST PICTURE winner TOM JONES.
“Before I was born, my father was a movie star and a stage star,” the actor told the AP in 1993.
“I was raised in a household where we didn’t see our parents in the morning. We lived in the nursery. Our nanny made our breakfast and I was dressed up to go downstairs to have tea with my parents, if they were there.”
True fame caught her with GEORGY GIRL, billed as “the wildest thing to hit the world since the miniskirt.” The 1966 film starred LYNN as the exuberant childlike Londoner pursued by her father’s middleaged boss, played by JAMES MASON.
Dismissed by critic PAULINE KAEL as a false testament to free thinking, the film was branded authentically cool by moviegoers on both side of the Atlantic and received several OSCAR nominations, including one for LYNN and one for the popular title song, performed by the Australian group The Seekers.
“All the films I’ve been in – and I haven’t been in that many attention getting films – no one expected anything of that one, least of all me,” LYNN commented in an AP interview in 1999.
But GEORGY GIRL didn’t necessarily lead to endless success. As she wrote in the foreword to Shakespeare For My Father, LYNN was out of work and set off on a “journey that began almost as an act of desperation,” writing a play out of her “passionately emotional desire” to better understand her dad, who had died in 1985.
In the 1993 interview, LYNN REDGRAVE remembered her father as a fearless stage performer but also a shy, tormented man who had great difficulty talking to his youngest daughter.
“I didn’t really know him. I lived in his house. I was in awe of him and I adored him…and I was terrified of him and I hated him and I loved him, all in one go.”
She looked at her mother’s side of the family in The Mandrake Root and Rachel & Juliet. In 2009, her play Nightingale touched upon her health, the life of her grandmother (BEATRICE KEMPSON) and the end of her 32 year marriage to actor/director John Clark, who had disclosed that he had fathered a child with the future wife of their son BENJAMIN.
“Lynn Redgrave, a cancer survivor, sits at a desk…and works from a script because of what has been described as an unspecified medical ailment – but not a recurrence of cancer – requiring immediate treatment. It doesn’t affect her touching, beautifully realized performance,” the AP wrote last year.
“And reading gives the evening an almost storybook quality in which it seems as if the actress, buoyed by a radiant smile, has gathered a few good friends to hear her reminisce about this formidable woman – mother of Rachel, mother in law of Michael and grandmother to Lynn, Vanessa and Corin.”
LYNN REDGRAVE is survived by six grandchildren, her sister VANESSA and four nieces and nephews.
A private funeral will be held later this week.