“Looking at my horrible ugly bulk on a huge screen was the turning point in my life.” Lynn Redgrave
A two-time Oscar nominated and Golden Globe-winning British actress of film, television and stage noted for being the member of the celebrated acting Redgrave family, Lynn Redgrave, the daughter of actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson and sister of Vanessa Redgrave, rose to international prominence playing the title role in “Georgy Girl” (1966), from which she picked up a Golden Globe Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award and an Oscar nomination. Making her professional acting career in a 1962 stage production of “A Midsummer's Night Dream,” she went on to build a good reputation on stage with her Tony-nominated performances in “Mrs. Warren's Profession” (1976) and “Shakespeare for My Father” (1993) and on television with an Emmy-nominating portrayal of Ann Anderson in the sitcom “House Calls” (1997-1981). Redgrave made an auspicious return to the cinematic industry during the mid to late 1990s by playing the supporting roles of the wife of David Helfgott in Scott Hicks' “Shine” (1996), her first film since 1989's “Getting It Right,” and Ian McKellen's European house servant in Bill Condon's “Gods and Monsters” (1998). She took home a Screen Actors Guild nomination and a BAFTA nomination in the first movie and a Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award, a London Critics Circle Film and her next Academy Award nomination in the latter. Redgrave enjoyed a further revitalization with work in such movies as David Cronenberg's “Spider” (2002), P.J. Hogan's “Unconditional Love” (2002) and “Peter Pan” (2003), Bill Condon's “Kinsey” (2004) and James Ivory's “The White Countess” (2005). On stage, she picked up her third Tony nomination after playing Mrs. Culver in the revival of “The Constant Wife” (2005).
Redgrave was married to actor/director John Clark from 1967 to 2000. The couple share a son, Benjamin (born in 1968), and two daughters, Kelly Clark (born in 1970) and Annabelle Clark (born in 1980). One of the judges in the Miss Universe pageant in 1972, Redgrave suffered from bulimia before becoming the spokesperson for Weight Watchers.
London-born Redgrave is a naturalized U.S. Citizen. In 2001, she was awarded an OBE, or Officer of the Order of British Empire, by Queen Elizabeth II.
Childhood and Family:
Lynn Rachel Redgrave was born on March 8, 1943, in London, England. Part of the famous British acting clan the Redgraves, her parents are actors Sir Michael Redgrave (born in 1908, died in 1985) and Rachel Kempson and her siblings are actors Corin Redgrave (born in July 16, 1939) and Vanessa Redgrave (born on January 30, 1937). She is the granddaughter of Roy Redgrave, an England-born actor who died in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1922 at age 51, and the aunt of Natasha Richardson, Joely Richardson, and Jemma Redgrave, all of whom also pursue acting careers. Lynn received her acting training from the Central School of Music and Drama in London.
On April 2, 1967, Lynn married fellow Londoner actor/director John Clark. They welcomed their first child, son Benjamin Clark, in 1968, and their second and third child, daughters Kelly Clark and Annabelle Clark, in 1970 and 1980, respectively. At age 56, Lynn became the grandmother of twins Noel and Lena, who were mothered by daughter Kelly. A year later, on December 22, 2000, she divorced her husband Clark after having been together for 33 years.
Gods and Monsters
Lynn Redgrave followed in the footstep of her renowned father, Michael Redgrave, onto the English stage in 1962 by making her debut in the London production of “A Midsummer's Night Dream.” The next year, the former student of London's Central School of Music and Drama was invited by Laurence Olivier to become one of the first members in the National Theatre, with which she spent three years working with her father and Peter O'Toole in “Hamlet.” She also appeared in numerous other high-profile productions.
1963 saw Redgrave move on to the big screen when she landed a small role in the highly acclaimed adventure/comedy “Tom Jones” (1963), which was directed by the then brother-in-law Tony Richardson. Her mother, Rachel Kempson, also appeared in the movie. In her second film outing, Redgrave was cast in the more significant role of Baba Brennan in the following year's drama “The Girl With Green Eyes,” opposite Peter Finch and Rita Tushingham. The role brought her a BAFTA Film nomination for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles.
After making her TV-movie debut in ATV Network's “Sunday Out of Season” (1965), with Ian McKellen, and appearing with her father in the made-for-TV film “What's Wrong with Humpty Dumpty” (1966), Redgrave scored a massive breakthrough when director Silvio Narizzano hired her to play the dowdy title character, who shares an apartment in London with an exciting, charismatic roommate (played by Charlotte Rampling), in the comedy/drama “Georgy Girl” (1966). Delivering a captivating performance, she took home the Best Actress honors from the Golden Globes, New York Film Critics Circle and Kansas City Film Critics Circle and most notably her first Oscar nomination. Subsequently, Redgrave was catapulted to international stardom.
The actress spent the rest of the decade acting in such movies as Sidney Lumet's “The Deadly Affair” (1966), Desmond Davis' “Smashing Time” (1967, with Rita Tushingham), and John Dexter's “The Virgin Soldiers” (1969). She made her Broadway debut in Peter Shaffer's “Black Comedy” (1967) and appeared in the BBC drama series “A Touch of Venus” (1968).
Redgrave offered a memorable starring turn as Nanny in the comedy film “Every Little Crook and Nanny” and stood out as The Queen in Woody Allen's “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask” (both 1972). The same year, she could also be seen hosting her own syndicated TV talk-show called “Not For Women Only.” After giving another fine performance as Xaviera Hollander in the independent film “The Happy Hooker” (1975), she returned to Broadway in the revival of “Mrs. Warren's Profession” (1976), where her portrayal of Vivie Warren won her a Best Actress Tony nomination. Her TV credits included the miniseries “Centennial” (NBC, 1978) and several TV movies. It was also in the 1970s that Redgrave migrated to the United States (1974) and recorded her debut album, “Make Mine Manhattan” (1978).
The following decade, Redgrave continued to appear in many television projects. She was nominated for a 1981 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Musical/Comedy for her portrayal of Ann Anderson in the CBS comedy series “House Calls,” alongside Wayne Rogers as Charley Michaels. Having played the role since 1979, she decided to leave the show in 1981 after disputes with the producers and the birth of her third child, and a year later, the show was canceled. She earned subsequent praise for her participation on “CBS Afternoon Special: The Shooting” (1982), from which she netted a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming. Redgrave also acted in the short-lived NBC sitcom “Teachers Only” (1982-1983), the applauded TV remake of “The Bad Seed” (1985, as Monica Breedlove) and the disappointing comedy series “Chicken Soup” (1989-1990, as Maddie Peerce), among others. A well-liked spokesperson for the Weight Watchers diet organization, a gig she held from 1984 to 1992, Redgrave made use of her ideal body by appearing nude in “Getting It Right” (1989), a drama/comedy film directed by Randal Kleiser which marked her last feature for seven years.
Back to the stage, Redgrave found herself teaming up with sister Vanessa and niece Jemma in the London production of Chekhov's “The Three Sisters” in 1990 and three years later enjoyed stage success with her one-woman show called “Shakespeare for My Father,” which she wrote in honor of her father who died of complications from Parkinson's disease in 1985. For her effort, the talented performer was handed her second Tony nomination. Redgrave rejoined her sister for the ABC television film “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1991), appeared in the talk-show “Fighting Back” (1992) and was cast as Maggie Donnelly in “Calling the Shots” (1993), a PBS “Masterpiece Theatre” miniseries, before replacing Carol Burnett in the Broadway production of “Moon Over Buffalo” (1996).
Also in 1996, Redgrave resumed her big screen career by taking on the supporting role of Gillian, the woman who married pianist David Helfgott (played by Geoffrey Rush), in the Scott Hicks-helmed “Shine.” She nabbed a BAFTA nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast for her work in the multiple-Oscar nominee. However, it was her next scene-stealing turn as Hanna, the European housekeeper for British filmmaker James Whale (portrayed by Ian McKellen), in the biopic “Gods and Monsters” (1998) that really put the actress back in the limelight. Her performance was critically applauded and she was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, a London Critics Circle Film for British Supporting Actress of the Year and an Independent Spirit for Best Supporting Female. She also received Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Satellite nominations.
Apart from these noted film performances, Redgrave went on to act in many other projects during the second half of the 1990s. She played the role of Monica Brannigan in CBS' “Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan” (1997), supported Kirstie Alley in ABC's “Toothless” (1997), joined the ensemble cast of Sarah Kernochan's feature directing debut, “Strike!/The Hairy Bird” (1998), as well as costarred in the miniseries “Different” (1998) and in Showtime's late-night comedy series, “Rude Awakening” (1998-2001, as the affluent mother Trudy Frank). She also co-hosted PBS' “Star Crossed Lovers” (1999), with Timothy Dalton.
2000 saw Redgrave in five movies. She provided the voice of The Wicked Witch of the East for the animated “Lion of Oz,” appeared with Harry Connick Jr., Cindy Crawford and William Hurt in the festival screened “The Simian Line” and supported pop superstar Madonna and Rupert Everett in the John Schlesinger comedy “The Next Best Thing.” She also costarred with Kirsten Dunst in the Sheri Elwood-penned/directed “Deeply” and with Kenneth Branagh and Robin Wright Penn in the award-winning comedy/drama “How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog.” Redgrave next starred and wrote the stage play “The Mandrake Root” (2001), portrayed Alma Werfel-Mahler in the made-for-TV film “Varian's War” (2002), had a feature role in the David Cronenberg-directed drama/mystery “Spider” (2002) and teamed up with Kathy Bates for the comedy/musical “Unconditional Love” (2002).
In 2003, a year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Redgrave could be seen costarring with Olympia Dukadis in a David Abbott's motion picture dealing with child abuse called “Charlie's War” and playing Aunt Millicent in the live action adaptation of “Peter Pan,” directed by P.J. Hogan. She followed them up with a cameo role in 2004's “Kinsey,” which starred Liam Neeson, a costarring turn opposite niece Nathasha Richardson in James Ivory's “The White Countess” (2005) and a Tony-nominating starring turn in the revival of W. Somerset Maugham's “The Constant Wife” (2005). In 2007, she had a part in the TV series pilot “Nurses,” opposite Eliza Dushku and Ramon Rodriguez, appeared as Dahlia Hainsworth in an episode of the hit show “Desperate Housewives” and was featured as Mama Sky in the ensemble movie “The Jane Austen Book Club,” starring Maria Bello and Emily Blunt, among others.
The sixty-something performer will join Christopher Plummer and Isabella Rossellini for the new animated feature “My Dog Tulip” (2008). She also has a part in the upcoming comedy/romance “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2008), directed by P.J. Hogan and starring Joan Cusack and John Goodman.
Barrymore Award: Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play, “Collected Stories,” 2004
London Critics Circle Film: British Supporting Actress of the Year, “Gods and Monsters,” 2000
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, “Gods and Monsters,” 1999
Independent Spirit: Best Supporting Female, “Gods and Monsters,” 1999
Kansas City Film Critics Circle: Best Actress, “Georgy Girl,” 1968
Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture Actress – Musical/Comedy, “Georgy Girl,” 1967
Laurel: 2nd place, Golden Laurel, Female New Face, 1967
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress, “Georgy Girl,”1966