VANESSA REDGRAVE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Vanessa Redgrave                                                                       
Born: 30 January 1937 London, England                                                         
Vanessa Redgrave (born 30 January 1937) is an Academy Award-winning English                   
actress and member of the Redgrave family, one of the enduring theatrical                     
dynasties. She is also a social activist for human rights.                                   
Redgrave was born in London, United Kingdom, the daughter of actors Sir Michael               
Redgrave and Rachel Kempson (Lady Redgrave). She was educated at The Alice                   
Ottley School in Worcester. Her siblings, Lynn Redgrave and the equally                       
outspoken Corin Redgrave, are also acclaimed actors. Redgrave's daughters,                   
Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson (by her 1962-1967 marriage to film                   
director Tony Richardson) have also built respected acting careers. Redgrave's               
son Carlo Nero (nee Carlo Sparanero), by her relationship with Italian actor                 
Franco Nero (ne 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.                                                                             
In 1967, Redgrave was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).             
It is understood, however, that she declined a damehood (DBE) in 1999.                       
During the late 1970s and 1980s she had a long-term relationship with actor                   
Timothy Dalton.                                                                               
In December 31st 2006, Redgrave married Franco Nero.                                         
Vanessa Redgrave entered the School of Speech and Drama in 1954. She first                   
appeared in the West End theatre, playing opposite her brother, in 1958.                     
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 "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", adapted for the                 
stage by Jay Presson Allen from the novel by Muriel Spark; she continues to work             
regularly in the theatre. In the nineties e.g., she played Prospero in The                   
Tempest in the new Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 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 Didion's Broadway stage adaptation of her             
recent book, The Year of Magical Thinking, which played 144 regular performances             
in a 24-week limited engagement at the Booth Theatre. For this, she was                       
nominated for a Tony Award in the category of Best Leading Actress in a Play. In             
2008 she will reprise the role at the National Theatre in London.                             
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 of Scotland in Mary, Queen               
of Scots.                                                                                     
In 1977, Redgrave funded and narrated a documentary film "The Palestinian",                   
which focused on the plight of the Palestinian people. 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 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."                           
Redgrave's performance in Julia garnered an Academy Award for Best Supporting                 
Actress. However, members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), led by Rabbi Meir               
Kahane, picketed the awards ceremony in the spring of 1978 to protest against                 
both Redgrave and her support of the Palestinian cause.                                       
Aware of the JDL's presence outside, Redgrave, in her acceptance speech,                     
denounced all forms of totalitarianism, noting neither she nor the Academy (who               
had received death threats if she won) 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." Her statement was greeted by both applause and boos from the                     
Later in the broadcast, veteran screenwriter and Oscar presenter Paddy Chayefsky             
announced to the audience, “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. He received                         
thunderous applause.                                                                         
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 right-wing Jewish                 
groups, such as the JDL, consider Redgrave a supporter of terrorism. The JDL                 
itself, however, has been described by the United States Federal Bureau of                   
Investigation (FBI) in Congressional testimony as a violent and extremist                     
group. In a sidebar in its Terrorism 2000/2001 report, the Bureau notes, The                 
Jewish Defense League has been deemed a right-wing terrorist group.                           
In June 2005 Redgrave was asked on Larry King Live: Regardless of distinctions               
about policy, do you support Israel's right to exist? Yes, I do, she replied.                 
Later film roles of note include those of suffragette Olive Chancellor in The                 
Bostonians (1984, a fourth Best Actress Academy Award nomination), transsexual               
Renee 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. Wick in Girl, Interrupted (1999). Many             
of these roles and others, garnered various accolades for Redgrave.                           
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. This same performance also led to an Excellence           
in Media Award by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), as                   
well as earning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Movie               
or Miniseries. 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 2005, Redgrave joined the cast of the                 
hit series Nip/Tuck, which was in its second season. Redgrave played Dr. Erica               
Noughton, the mother of Julia McNamara, who's played by her real life daughter               
Joely Richardson. She also made appearances in the third season. In 2006,                     
Redgrave starred opposite Peter O'Toole in the acclaimed film Venus. Redgrave's               
most recent work include 2007's 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.