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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30 January 1937) is an Academy Award-winning English actress of stage, screen and television, as well as a political activist.
She rose to prominence in 1961 playing Rosalind in As You Like It with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has since made more than 35 appearances on London's West End and Broadway, winning both the Tony and Olivier Awards. On screen, she has starred in more than 80 films; including Mary, Queen of Scots, Isadora, Mission: Impossible and Mrs Dalloway. Redgrave was proclaimed by Tennessee Williams to be "the greatest living actress of our times" and she remains the only British actress to ever have won the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild awards. She was also the recipient of the 2010 Bafta Fellowship for "Outstanding Contribution to Film".
A member of the Redgrave family of actors, she is the daughter of Sir Michael Redgrave, sister of the late Lynn Redgrave and Corin Redgrave, and the mother of Hollywood actresses Joely Richardson and the late Natasha Richardson.

Ancestry and family

Redgrave was born in Greenwich, London, the daughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Laurence Olivier announced her birth to the audience for a performance of Hamlet at the Old Vic, when he told them that Laertes played by Sir Michael had a daughter. She was educated at The Alice Ottley School, Worcester & Queen's Gate School, London before "coming out" as a debutante. Her late siblings, Lynn Redgrave and the equally outspoken Corin Redgrave, were also acclaimed actors.
Redgrave's daughters, Natasha Richardson (1963–2009) and Joely Richardson (b. 1965) from her 1962–67 marriage to film director Tony Richardson, also built respected acting careers. Redgrave's son Carlo Gabriel Nero (né Carlo Sparanero), by her relationship with Italian actor Franco Nero (né Francesco Sparanero), is a writer and film director. She met Nero while filming Camelot in 1967, the year in which she divorced her husband Tony Richardson, who left her for the French actress Jeanne Moreau.
In 1967, Redgrave was made a Commander (CBE) of the Order of the British Empire. It is understood that she declined a damehood in 1999.
From 1971 to 1986, she had a long-term relationship with actor Timothy Dalton, with whom she had starred in the film Mary, Queen of Scots. On 31 December 2006, Redgrave married Franco Nero. Her daughter, Tony Award-winning actress Natasha Richardson, died on 18 March 2009, following a skiing-related traumatic brain injury.[6][7] On 6 April 2010, her brother Corin Redgrave died at age 70, in a South London hospital after suffering from an undisclosed illness; he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. On 2 May 2010, her younger sister Lynn died of breast cancer.


Vanessa Redgrave entered the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1954. She first appeared in the West End, playing opposite her brother, in 1958.
In 1960, Redgrave had her first starring role in Robert Bolt's The Tiger and the Horse, in which she co-starred with her father. In 1962 she played Imogen in William Gaskill's production of Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1966 Redgrave created the role of Jean Brodie in the Donald Albery production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, adapted for the stage by Jay Presson Allen from the novel by Muriel Spark. She won four Evening Standard Awards Best Actress Evening Standards Awards for Best Actress in four decades. She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Actress of the Year in a Revival in 1984 for The Aspern Papers
In the nineties, her theatre work included Prospero in The Tempest at Shakespeare's Globe in London. In 2003 she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. In January 2006, Redgrave was presented the Ibsen Centennial Award for her "outstanding work in interpreting many of Henrik Ibsen's works over the last decades." Previous recipients of the award include Liv Ullmann, Glenda Jackson, and Claire Bloom.
In 2007, Redgrave played Joan Didion in her Broadway stage adaptation of her 2005 book, The Year of Magical Thinking, which played 144 regular performances in a 24-week limited engagement at the Booth Theatre. For this, she won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. She reprised the role at the Lyttelton Theatre at The Royal National Theatre in London to mixed reviews. She also spent a week performing the work at the Theatre Royal in Bath in September 2008. She once again performed the role of Joan Didion for a special benefit at New York's Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on 26 October 2009. The performance was originally slated to debut on the 27th of April, but was pushed due to the death of Redgrave's daughter Natasha. The proceeds for the benefit were donated to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Both charities work to provide help for the children of Gaza.

Film career
Highlights of Vanessa Redgrave's early film career include her first starring role in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (for which she earned an Oscar nomination, a Cannes award, a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA Film Award nomination); her portrayal of the cool London swinger, Jane, in 1966's Blowup; her spirited portrayal of dancer Isadora Duncan in Isadora (for which she won a National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress, a second Prize for the Best Female Performance at the Cannes film festival, along with a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination in 1969); and various portrayals of historical figures – ranging from Andromache in The Trojan Women, to Mary, Queen of Scots in the film of the same name. She also played the role of Guinevere in the film Camelot with Richard Harris and Franco Nero

Julia and related controversy
In 1977, Redgrave funded and narrated a documentary film on the Palestinian people and the activities of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. That same year she starred in the film Julia, about a woman murdered by the Nazi regime in the years prior to World War II for her anti-Fascist activism. Her co-star in the film was Jane Fonda,( playing narrator Lillian Hellman) who, in her 2005 autobiography, noted that:
there is a quality about Vanessa that makes me feel as if she resides in a netherworld of mystery that eludes the rest of us mortals. Her voice seems to come from some deep place that knows all suffering and all secrets. Watching her work is like seeing through layers of glass, each layer painted in mythic watercolor images, layer after layer, until it becomes dark – but even then you know you haven't come to the bottom of it ... The only other time I had experienced this with an actor was with Marlon Brando ... Like Vanessa, he always seemed to be in another reality, working off some secret, magnetic, inner rhythm.
When Redgrave was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Julia, members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), led by Rabbi Meir Kahane, burned effigies of Redgrave and picketed the Academy Awards ceremony in the spring of 1978 to protest against both Redgrave and her support of the Palestinian cause.
Redgrave's performance in Julia garnered an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In her acceptance speech, Redgrave announced that neither she nor the Academy would be intimidated by "a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums — 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."
Later in the broadcast veteran screenwriter and Oscar presenter Paddy Chayefsky told the audience members that
“ there's a little matter I'd like to tidy up...at least if I expect to live with myself tomorrow morning. I would like to say that I'm sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal propaganda. I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation, and a simple "Thank you" would have sufficed. ”
In 1978, Rabbi Meir Kahane published a book entitled Listen Vanessa, I am a Zionist, which was later renamed Listen World, Listen Jew, in direct response to Redgrave's comments at the Academy Awards. To this day many rightwing Jewish groups, such as the Jewish Defense League, consider Redgrave an opponent and a supporter of terrorism, citing remarks she has made such as, "Zionism is a brutal, racist ideology. And it is a brutal racist regime."
In June 2005 Redgrave was asked on Larry King Live: "Regardless of distinctions about policy, do you support Israel's right to exist?" Redgrave replied that she did.
Later film career

Vanessa Redgrave
Later film roles of note include those of suffragette Olive Chancellor in The Bostonians (1984, a fourth Best Actress Academy Award nomination), transsexual tennis player Renée Richards in Second Serve (1986); Mrs. Wilcox in Howards End (1992, her sixth Academy Award nomination, this time in a supporting role); crime boss Max in Mission: Impossible (1996, when discussing the role of Max, DePalma and Cruise thought it would be fun to cast an actor like Redgrave; they then decided to go with the real thing); Oscar Wilde’s mother in Wilde (1997); Clarissa Dalloway in Mrs. Dalloway (1997); and Dr. Sonia Wick in Girl, Interrupted (1999). Many of these roles and others, garnered her various accolades.
Her performance as a lesbian grieving the loss of her longtime partner in the HBO series If These Walls Could Talk 2 earned her a Golden Globe for “Best TV Series Supporting Actress” in 2000, as well as earning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries. This same performance also led to an “Excellence in Media Award” by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). The award honours “a member of the entertainment community who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people”. In 2004, Redgrave joined the second season cast of the hit FX series Nip/Tuck, portraying Dr. Erica Noughton, the mother of Julia McNamara, who is played by her real-life daughter Joely Richardson. She also made appearances in the third and sixth seasons. In 2006, Redgrave starred opposite Peter O'Toole in the acclaimed film Venus. A year later, Redgrave starred in Evening and the acclaimed Atonement, in which she garnered a Broadcast Film Critics Association award nomination for her performance that only took up seven minutes of screen time. In 2008, Redgrave appeared as a narrator in an Arts Alliance production, id – Identity of the Soul. The performance is due to tour worldwide, this year tens of thousands turned out to see the event as it toured the West Bank. In 2009, Redgrave starred in the BBC remake of The Day of the Triffids, with her daughter Joely. In the midst of losing her daughter, Natasha Richardson, Redgrave signed on to play Eleanor of Aquitaine in Ridley Scott's version of Robin Hood, which began filming shortly after Natasha's death. Redgrave would later withdraw from the film due to personal reasons. The part was given to her Evening co-star Eileen Atkins.
She would next be seen in Letters to Juliet opposite her husband Franco Nero, to debut in May 2010. Redgrave currently wrapped up filming The Whistleblower. She most recently signed on to appear as Volumnia in Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, and as Queen Elizabeth in Roland Emmerich's Anonymous. Both films are currently filming.

Political activism

Since the 1960s, Redgrave has supported a range of political causes, including opposition to the Vietnam War, nuclear disarmament, freedom for Soviet Jews (in 1993 she was awarded the Sakharov medal by Sakharov's widow, Yelena Bonner), and aid for Bosnian Muslims and other victims of war. She also advocates the unification of Ireland. She was a co-founding member of Artists Against Racism.
Her opposition to Stalinism led her to join the Workers' Revolutionary Party (UK) (WRP), a leftist-communist political organisation on whose ticket she twice ran for Parliament. Redgrave's Trotskyist political views, in particular her membership of the WRP, have received much criticism. She remained loyal to WRP founder Gerry Healy when he was expelled from the party in the mid-1980s. She and other Healy loyalists founded the short-lived Marxist Party in the 1990s. Since 2004, she has been a member of the Peace and Progress Party, also a leftist/socialist/communist organisation.

At the "Stars In The Alley" concert in Shubert Alley in New York City on 6 June 2007
In 1980, Redgrave made her first American TV debut as concentration camp survivor Fania Fénelon in the Arthur Miller-scripted TV movie Playing for Time, a part for which she won an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in 1981. The decision to cast Redgrave as Fénelon was, however, a source of controversy. In light of Redgrave's support for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), even Fénelon objected to her casting. Redgrave was perplexed by such hostility, stating in her 1991 autobiography her long-held belief that "the struggle against anti-Semitism and for the self-determination of the Palestinians form a single whole."
In 1984, Redgrave sued the Boston Symphony Orchestra, claiming that the orchestra had fired her from a performance due to her support of the PLO. Lillian Hellman testified in court on Redgrave's behalf.[Redgrave won on a count of breach of contract, but did not win on the claim that the Boston orchestra had violated her civil rights by firing her.
In 1995, Redgrave was elected to serve as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
In December 2002, Redgrave paid £50,000 bail for Chechen separatist Deputy Premier and special envoy Akhmed Zakayev, who had sought political asylum in the United Kingdom and was accused by the Russian government of aiding and abetting hostage-takings in the Moscow Hostage Crisis of 2002 — in which 128 hostages lost their lives to the Chechen terrorists during a Russian special forces (OMON) action — and guerrilla warfare against Russia.
At a press conference Redgrave said she feared for Zakayev's safety if he were to be extradited to Russia on terrorism charges. He would "die of a heart attack" or some other mysterious explanation which would be offered by Russia, she said. On 13 November 2003, a London court rejected the Russian government's request for Zakayev's extradition. Instead, the court accepted a plea by lawyers for Zakayev that he would not get a fair trial, and could even face torture, in Russia. "It would be unjust and oppressive to return Mr Zakayev to Russia," Judge Timothy Workman ruled.
In 2004, Vanessa Redgrave and her brother Corin Redgrave announced the launch of the Peace and Progress Party which would campaign against the Iraq War and for human rights. However, in June 2005 Redgrave left the party.
Redgrave has been an outspoken critic of the "war on terrorism". During a June 2005 interview on Larry King Live, Redgrave was challenged on this criticism and on her political views. In response she questioned if there can be true democracy if the political leadership of the United States and Britain does not "uphold the values for which my father's generation fought the Nazis, [and] millions of people gave their lives against the Soviet Union's regime. [Such sacrifice was made] because of democracy and what democracy meant: no torture, no camps, no detention forever or without trial...[Such] techniques are not just alleged [against the governments of the U.S. and Britain], they have actually been written about by the FBI. I don't think it's being 'far left'...to uphold the rule of law."
In March 2006, Redgrave remarked in an interview with US broadcast journalist Amy Goodman: “I don't know of a single government that actually abides by international human rights law, not one, including my own. In fact, [they] violate these laws in the most despicable and obscene way, I would say.”
Goodman’s interview with Redgrave took place in the actress’s West London home on the evening of 7 March, and covered a range of subjects, particularly the cancellation of the Alan Rickman production, My Name is Rachel Corrie, by the New York Theater Workshop. Such a development, said Redgrave, was an "act of catastrophic cowardice" as "the essence of life and the essence of theater is to communicate about lives, either lives that have ended or lives that are still alive, [and about] beliefs, and what is in those beliefs."
In June 2006, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Transilvania International Film Festival, one of whose sponsors is a mining company named Gabriel Resources. She dedicated the award to a community organisation from Roşia Montană, Romania, which is campaigning against a gold mine that Gabriel Resources is seeking to build near the village. Gabriel Resources placed an "open letter" in The Guardian on 23 June 2006, attacking Redgrave, arguing the case for the mine, and exhibiting support for it among the inhabitants: the open letter is signed by 77 villagers.
In December 2007, Redgrave was named as one of the possible suretors who paid the £50,000 bail for Jamil al-Banna, one of three British residents arrested after landing back in the UK following four years' captivity at Guantanamo Bay. Al-Banna is alleged to have run a terrorist cell called the Islamic Alliance which recruited people to wage jihad in Afghanistan and Indonesia. He also is accused of distributing extremist propaganda produced by Osama bin Laden. Redgrave has declined to be specific about her financial involvement but said she was "very happy" to be of "some small assistance for Jamil and his wife", adding, "It is a profound honour and I am glad to be alive to be able to do this. Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) is a concentration camp."


Year Film Role Notes
1958 Behind the Mask Pamela Gray
1966 Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment Leonie Delt Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
A Man For All Seasons Anne Boleyn
Blowup Jane
1967 Camelot Guinevere Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress tied with Lynn Redgrave for Georgy Girl
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1968 The Charge of the Light Brigade Mrs. Clarissa Morris
The Sea Gull Nina
Isadora Isadora Duncan Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1969 Oh! What a Lovely War Sylvia Pankhurst
A Quiet Place in the Country Flavia Won a Silver Bear at the 19th Berlin International Film Festival
1970 Dropout Mary
1971 Mary, Queen of Scots Mary, Queen of Scots David di Donatello Special Award
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
The Devils Sister Jeanne
Vacation Immacolata Meneghelli
The Trojan women Andromache
1974 Murder on the Orient Express Mary Debenham
1975 Out of Season Ann
1976 The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Lola Deveraux
1977 Julia Julia Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1979 Agatha Agatha Christie
Yanks Helen
Bear Island Heddi Lindguist
1981 Playing for Time Fania Fenelon Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1983 Sing Sing Queen
Wagner Cosima Wagner TV miniseries
1984 The Bostonians Olive Chancellor National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1985 Wetherby Jean Travers National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Three Sovereigns for Sarah Sarah Cloyce
1986 Comrades Mrs. Carlyle
Peter the Great Sophia Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Second Serve Richard Radley / Renee Richards Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1987 Prick Up Your Ears Peggy Ramsay New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1988 Consuming Passions Mrs. Garza
A Man for All Seasons Lady Alice More Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1990 Romeo and Juliet Mother Capulet (voice)
1991 The Ballad of the Sad Cafe Miss Amelia
Young Catherine Empress Elizabeth Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Blanche Hudson (TV)
1992 Howards End Ruth Wilcox Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1993 Un Muro de Silencio(A Wall of Silence. Argentine, Spanish spoken movie) Kate Benson
The House of The Spirits Nivea del Valle
Sparrow Sister Agata
1994 Mother's Boys Lydia Madigan
Little Odessa Irina Shapira Volpi Cup
1995 A Month by the Lake Miss Bentley Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1996 Mission: Impossible Max
1997 Smilla's Sense of Snow Elsa Lubing
Wilde Lady Speranza Wilde
Mrs. Dalloway Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway
Deja Vu Skelly
Bella Mafia Graziella Luciano Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1998 Deep Impact Robin Lerner
Lulu on the Bridge Catherine Moore
1999 Cradle Will Rock Countess Constance LaGrange
Girl, Interrupted Dr. Sonia Wick
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Edith Tress (segment "1961") Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
L.A. Outfest Screen Idol Award – Female
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
A Rumor of Angels Maddy Bennett
2001 The Pledge Annalise Hansen
Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story Countess Wilhelmina/Narrator
2002 The Gathering Storm Clementine Churchill Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Crime and Punishment Rodian's Mother
Searching for Debra Winger Herself Documentary
The Locket Esther Huish TV
2003 Byron Lady Melbourne TV
Good Boy! The Greater Dane (voice)
2004 The Fever Woman Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Nip/Tuck Dr. Erica Noughton
(2004, 2005, 2009) TV (10 episodes)
2005 The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam The Heiress
Short Order Marianne
The White Countess Vera Belinskya
2006 The Thief Lord Sister Antonia
Venus Valerie Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007 The Riddle Roberta Elliot
Evening Ann Lord
Atonement Older Briony Tallis London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
2008 How About You Georgia Platts
2009 The Day of the Triffids Durrant TV miniseries
2010 Letters to Juliet Claire Wyman
The Whistleblower Madeleine Rees post-production
2011 Coriolanus Volumnia filming
Anonymous Queen Elizabeth filming

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