Monday, May 3, 2010

The Late, Great Lynn Redgrave

Lynn Redgrave, star of stage and screen, passed yesterday at the ageo of 67. She had struggled with breast cancer for the past seven years.

Lynn Redgrave was born on 8 March, 1943 in Marleybone, London. She was daughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. She was literally part of an acting dynasty. Her grandfather was silent actor Roy Redgrave.Her brother was Colin Redgrave. Her sister was Vanessa Redgrave. She attended Queensgate School, but dropped out in 1959. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

 She made her professional acting debut in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Court Theatre in 1962. She further appeared in Twelfth Night. She toured with Billy Liar and made her debut on the West End in The Tulip Tree. She made her movie debut in Tom Jones (1963). She made her television debut in a 1963 episode of Armchair Theatre.

Through her films Lynn Redgrave would become one of the faces of Swinging London. She was one of the leads in The Girl with Green Eyes (playing opposite Rita Tushingham) in 1964 before being cast as the lead in Georgy Girl (1966). In Georgy Girl Miss Redgrave played the title character, an ordinary girl who finds herself pursued by her father's middle aged boss (played by James Mason). She would appear in the film Smiashing Time (1967), once more playing opposite Rita Tushingham. She closed the Sixties by appearing in the films The Virgin Soldiers (1969) and The Last of the Mobile Hot Shots (1970). The Seventies saw her appear in such films as Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972), Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), The National Health (1973), The Happy Hooker (1975), The Big Bus (1976), and Sunday Lovers (1980). The Eighties into the Naughts would see her appear in such films as Morgan Stewart's Coming Home (1987), Getting It Right (1989), Midnight (1989), Shine (1996), Gods and Monsters (1998), Strike (1998), How to Kill Your Neighbour's Dog (2000),  Venus and Mars (2001), Peter Pan (2003), and The Jane Austen Book Club (2007).

In the Sixties Lynn Redgrave appeared on television in Armchair Theatre, Comedy Playhouse, and Love Story. The Seventies saw Miss Regrave appear on The BBC Play of the Month, Vienna 1900, Kojak, and the mini-series Centennial. She was one of the leads on the sitcom House Calls from 1979 to 1981. In 1982 she starred in the short lived series Teachers Only and Chicken Soup In the Eighties she guest starred on Hotel, Murder She Wrote, and Screen Two. Miss Redgrave also appeared in television productions of Antony and Cleopatra and The Bad Seed. In the Nineties Miss Redgrave in a television production of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and on The Hallmark Hall of Fame. She was one of the stars of Rude Awakenings. In the Naughts she starred in the series Me, Eloise.

Lynn Redgrave appeared frequently on stage.In 1963 she was invited by Sir Laurence Olivier to join the National Company. Joining in 1963, she appeared in Hamlet, Andorra, and Hay Fever.  She made her debut on Broadway in Black Comedy/White Lies in 1967. Over the years she would appear on Broadway in a revival of Saint Joan (1977), Love Letter (1989), and The Constant Wife (2005). In all she would appear on Broadway stages over ten times. She wrote and performed a one woman show, Shakespeare for My Father in 1993. It had a successful run at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket and on Broadway as well. She went onto write the play The Mandrake's Root, and Nightingale.

There can be no doubt that Lynn Redgrave was an incredibly talented actress. After all, she had a successful career on stage, on film, and in television. Much of her success was due to the fact that she was a bit of a chameleon. She gained weight to play the dumpy, plain Georgy in Georgy Girl, but slimmed down to play the somewhat more glamourous Yvonne in Smashing Time. In Gods and Monsters she was virtually unrecognisable as James Whale's housekeeper Hanna. It seemed as if Miss Redgrave could play virtually anything. She was also a talented playwright, having written three fairly successful shows. Although sometimes overshadowed in the press by her more vocal siblings, Lynn Redgrave was never outshone by them in terms of talent.

1 comment:

TIM said...

I've loved Lynn Redgrave since I
first saw her in Georgy Girl and
in the early eighties in the television series House Calls
that she starred opposite with
Wayne Rogers. From her witty
performance in Everything you
wanted to know about sex and
her oscar nominated performance
in God & Monsters. I will miss