Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave

Infobox actor
name = Vanessa Redgrave CBE

caption = Stars In The Alley concert, 2007
birthdate = birth date and age|1937|01|30
birthplace = London, England
spouse = Tony Richardson (1962–1967)
Franco Nero (2006-present)
yearsactive = 1958 - present
academyawards = Best Supporting Actress
1977 "Julia"
emmyawards = Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1981 "Playing for Time"
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
2001 "If These Walls Could Talk 2"
tonyawards = Best Actress in a Play
2003 "Long Day's Journey Into Night"
laurenceolivierawards = Best Actress in a Revival
1984 "The Aspern Papers"
goldenglobeawards = Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1978 "Julia"

2001 "If These Walls Could Talk 2"
sagawards = Best Actress - Miniseries/TV Movie
2000 "If These Walls Could Talk 2"
awards= Best Actress Award - Cannes Film Festival
1966 "Morgan!"
1968 "Isadora"
Evening Standard Award for Best Actress
1961 "The Lady from the Sea"
1979 "The Lady from the Sea"
1985 "The Seagull"
1991 "When She Danced"

Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30 January, 1937) is an English Academy Award, two-time Cannes Best Actress, Coppa Volpi, Screen Actors Guild Award, two-time Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress and member of the Redgrave family, one of the enduring theatrical dynasties. She is also a social activist for human rights. She was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1967 and has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 1995.


Ancestry and family

Redgrave was born in London, United Kingdom, the daughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson (Lady Redgrave). 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 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 ( 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.

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.

On 31 December 2006, Redgrave married Franco Nero. [cite interview |subject=Vanessa Redgrave |subjectlink= |subject2=Franco Nero |subjectlink2= |last3= |first3= |subject3= |subjectlink3= |last4= |subject4= |interviewer=Amy Goodman |cointerviewers= |title=Vanessa Redgrave Combines Lifelong Devotion to Acting and Political Involvement in New HBO Film “The Fever” | url= |format=.MP3 |program=Democracy Now! | date=13 June 2007 |accessdate=2007-05-14]



Vanessa Redgrave entered the London 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 ActressEvening Standards Awards for Best Actress in four decades. She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award fr Best Actress 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." [ [ “Vanessa Redgrave honoured at UK Ibsen Year opening”] , "Norway - the official site in the UK". accessed 17 December 2006] 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. She reprised the role at the at the Lyttelton Theatre at The National Theatre in London to positive reviews. She also spent a week performing the work at the Theatre Royal in Bath for one week only in September 2008.

In March 2008 she was the guest on the 600th edition of "Private Passions", the biographical music discussion programme hosted by Michael Berkeley on BBC Radio 3. [ [ BBC Radio 3] ]

Film career

Highlights of Vanessa Redgrave's early film career include her first starring role in "" (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 that neither she nor the Academy (who had received death threats if she wonFact|date=June 2008) 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." [cite news | url= | title=The Oscar Acceptance Speech: By and Large, It's a Lost Art | publisher=Washington Post | author=Sharon Waxman | date=21 March 1999 | accessdate=2007-04-19] Her statement was greeted by both applause and boos from the audience.

Later in the broadcast, veteran screenwriter and Oscar presenter Paddy Chayefsky, himself a Jew, 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.Fact|date=October 2007

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.” [ [ FBI Pub #0308, “Terrorism 2000/2001”] , "U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation". accessed 17 December 2006]

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. [ "CNN Larry King Live" interview with Vanessa Redgrave transcript] , (Aired 18 June 2005), "". accessed 17 December 2006]

Later film career

Later film roles of note include those of suffragette Olive Chancellor in "The Bostonians" (1984, a fourth Best Actress Academy Award nomination), transsexual 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 "" (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 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 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.

Political activism

Since the 1960s Redgrave has supported a range of human rights causes, including opposition to the Vietnam War, nuclear disarmament, freedom for Soviet Jews (she was awarded the Sakharov medal by Sakharov's widow, Yelena Bonner, in 1993 for her efforts), and aid for Bosnian Muslims and other victims of war. She also advocates the partition of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom. She was a co-founding member of Artists Against Racism.

Redgrave identifies as a socialist, and her opposition to Stalinist oppression led her, early in her career, to join the Workers' Revolutionary Party (UK) (WRP), on whose ticket she twice ran for Parliament. Redgrave's Trotskyist political views have been a cause of controversy for some, as has her membership in the WRP. She remained loyal to WRP founder Gerry Healy when he was expelled from the WRP 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.

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 for some Jewish individuals and organizations. In light of Redgrave's support for the Palestinian cause, 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." [Autobiography (1991) p. 306.]

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 during a Russian special forces (OMON) action—and guerrilla warfare against Russia.

At a press conference Redgrave said she feared for the life of Zakayev 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. [ [ “UK actress defends Chechen rebel”] , (6 December 2002), "BBC News". accessed 17 December 2006] 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 Mr 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. [ [ “Court rejects Chechen extradition”] , (13 November 2003), "BBC News". accessed 17 December 2006]

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.

Redgrave has been an outspoken critic of the "War on Terror" — the US and British governments' response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. [Redgrave, Vanessa (30 September 2001), [ “We Need Justice. Bombs Will Only Create More Martyrs”] , "". accessed 17 December 2006] [ [ “Oscar-Winning Actress, Activist Vanessa Redgrave Calls For Justice, Legal and Human Rights For Guantanamo Prisoners”] [ audio] , (9 March 2004), "Democracy Now!". accessed 17 December 2006 ] During a June 2005 interview on Larry King Live, Redgrave was challenged on this criticism and on her "far left" political views. In response she questioned if there can be true democracy if the political leadership of the United States and Britain doesn't "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' uphold the rule of law."

In March 2006, Redgrave remarked in an interview with US broadcast journalist Amy Goodman, that “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 of Redgrave took place in the actress’s West London home on the evening of 7 March, and covered a range of subjects — though in particular, 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." [ [ “Legendary Actor Vanessa Redgrave Calls Cancellation of Rachel Corrie Play an ‘Act of Catastrophic Cowardice’”] [ audio] , (8 March 2004), "Democracy Now!". accessed 17 December 2006]

In June 2006 she was awarded a "lifetime achievement" award from the International Transylvanian 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. [Vasagar, Jeevan (23 June 2006), [,,1804285,00.html “Redgrave centre stage in campaign to halt Romanian gold mine that has split village”] , "The Guardian". accessed 17 December 2006]

In December 2007, Redgrave was named as one of the possible suretors who paid the £50,000 bail for Jamil el-Banna, one of three British residents arrested after landing back in the UK following four years' captivity at Guantanamo Bay. El-Banna is alleged to have run a terrorist cell called the Islamic Alliance which recruited people to fight 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 is a concentration camp." [ [ Vanessa Redgrave bails Guantanamo suspect - Telegraph ] ]


"I've come to see through the course of my life that people understand what I've tried to do, however inadequately I do it. I've just found people have come to understand me and be glad that I tried to do what I tried to do. And I do feel very inadequate about it, but I feel I must try . . . I think that any citizen can understand that you must raise your voice and do the best you can to speak out."

"I've been to Sarajevo a few times and have got to know a lot of people there who put on plays during the siege. I wanted to share in that because I knew it was important to them . . . I began to see something of what was going on there in terms of actually keeping up people's spirit to resist - the resistance that causes change - even in the worst imaginable circumstances. And I realized that it paralleled the same spirit that existed during the Holocaust and in the gulag. Theater and poetry were what helped people stay alive and want to go on living. That experience changed me, because I realized that if, as actors or writers or directors or designers, we can keep the will to resist alive in as many people as possible, then that's what we are about, and that's what we can do. It's more and more important because of the terrible things that are happening in our cities and the political and economic agendas that various governments have." [Shawn, Wallace (April 1997), [ “Mission: possible - interview with actress Vanessa Redgrave”] , "Interview"]

"As a mother you have got to have a view for now and a view for the future." [ [ Redgrave: Actress and campaigner] , (6 December 2002), "BBC News". accessed 17 December 2006]



External links

*tcmdb name|159001
*ymovies name|1800014131
* [ Vanessa Redgrave: Actress and Campaigner]
* [ Mission Impossible: An Interview with Vanessa Redgrave]
* [,,1732336,00.html "She's Got Issues" - "The Observer", 19 March, 2006]
* [ Vanessa Redgrave's Mrs. Dalloway: Revolutionary or Recluse?]
* [ Peace and Progress Party]
* [ The Palestinian] at the Internet Movie Database
* [ Redgrave's controversial acceptance speech for Julia]

NAME= Redgrave, Vanessa
DATE OF BIRTH= 30 January, 1937
PLACE OF BIRTH= London, England

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