SIR MICHAEL REDGRAVE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Michael Scudamore Redgrave                                                           
Born: 20 March 1908 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England                                     
Died: 21 March 1985 Buckinghamshire, England                                               
Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave (March 20, 1908 - March 21, 1985) was an                   
English actor.                                                                             
Redgrave was born in Bristol, England the son of the silent film actor Roy                 
Redgrave and the actress Margaret Scudamore. He never knew his father, who left           
when Michael was only six months old, to pursue a career in Australia. His                 
mother remarried Captain James Anderson, a wealthy tea planter, but he hated his           
He studied at Clifton College and graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge.             
He was briefly a schoolmaster at Cranleigh School in Surrey before becoming an             
actor in 1934. The Redgrave Room at the school was later named after him.                 
His first major film role was in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938).             
Redgrave also starred in The Stars Look Down (1939), with James Mason in the               
film of Robert Ardrey's play Thunder Rock (1943), and in the ventriloquist's               
dummy episode of the Ealing compendium film Dead of Night (1945).                         
Redgrave's first American film role was opposite Rosalind Russell in Mourning             
Becomes Electra (1947), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for               
Best Actor. In the 1950s, he starred in the films The Browning Version (1951),             
The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), The Dambusters (1954), and 1984 (1956).           
Throughout his career, he acted on the stage in Britain, often with his wife               
Rachel Kempson. One of his most notable roles was as the title character in               
Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in 1962. Harold Pinter has said of this: "I now know that           
it was one of the great performances of all time that anyone has ever given on             
the stage". He also excelled in Shakespearean roles like Hamlet, Macbeth, Mark             
Antony and Prospero. He played Claudius opposite the Hamlet of Peter O'Toole in           
1962 in the inaugural production of the Royal National Theatre.                           
His play The Aspern Papers, based on the novella by Henry James, was                       
successfully staged on Broadway in 1962, with Wendy Hiller and Maurice Evans.             
The 1984 revival in London's West End featured his daughter, Vanessa Redgrave,             
along with Christopher Reeve and Dame Wendy Hiller, this time in the role of               
Miss Bordereau.                                                                           
Redgrave was married to the actress Rachel Kempson for fifty years from 1935               
until his death. Their children Vanessa, Corin and Lynn Redgrave, and their               
grandchildren - Natasha and Joely Richardson; Jemma and Luke Redgrave; and Carlo           
Nero - are all involved in film making (all as actors except Luke Redgrave).               
Redgrave and his family lived in "Bedford House" on Chiswick Mall from 1945 to             
Redgrave was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in             
1952. He was knighted in 1959. He died in a Denham nursing home from Parkinson's           
disease in 1985, the day following his 77th birthday.                                     
He wrote four books:                                                                       
The Actor's Ways and Means                                                                 
Mask or Face                                                                               
The Mountebank Tale                                                                       
In My Mind's I                                                                             
The Redgrave Theatre in Farnham is named in honour of Sir Michael Redgrave.