“Looking at my horrible ugly bulk on a huge screen was the turning point in my life.”
The above quote by Lynn Redgrave – the acclaimed English actress who passed away on Sunday night, May 2, 2010 – reflects much more of the lady’s admirable lack of hubris and droll wit than any commemorative statement that comes to my mind. Besides, I imagine she’d be pleasantly amused at the notion that I think it the best line to open this piece in honor of her highly-accomplished film career. :-)
Miss Redgrave made her on-screen debut with a bit role in the 1963 Best Picture Oscar-winner Tom Jones. However, it was her own Oscar-nominated lead role as the clever, independent Georgy in the 1966 film Georgy Girl that truly propelled her into the limelight.
Some of her other memorable – or in some cases infamous- roles include:
- The virgin queen constrained by an iron chastity belt in Woody Allen’s 1972 sex comedy Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex* But Were Afraid To Ask.
- A BAFTA-nominated supporting turn as an astrologer and love interest to the troubled pianist David Helfgott (Geoffrey Rush) in the 1996 Best Picture Oscar-nominated biographical pic Shine.
- An Oscar-nominated supporting turn as Hanna, the religiously-conservative housekeeper of iconic 1930s horror movie director James Whales (Ian McKellen) in the biopic Gods and Monsters, a film written for the screen and directed by Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn).
The Enligh actress was also a well-regarded theater player, a practice which earned her a Tony nomination in 2005 for her part in the play The Constant Wife. Most recently, she appeared as Lady Bracknell in wordsmith Oscar Wilde’s revered satirical comedy about manners, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Lynn was also a member of the esteemed Redgrave bloodline, a group that includes her nieces – actresses Natasha Richardson (who died tragically in a skiing accident last year) and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck) – as well as her sister, Vanessa Redgrave, a fellow Oscar winner who is currently working on Ralph Fienne’s directorial debut, a modernized adaptation of the Shakespearean play Coriolanus.
While Miss Redgrave had been battling breast cancer since 2003, she remained active during the last years of her life – enough so to make brief appearances in films such as the 2004 biopic Kinsey (which re-united her with director Bill Condon once more) and on such popular TV shows as Desperate Housewives, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and an episode – last year – of Ugly Betty.
For those interested in a much more expansive and personal look at Lynn Redgrave’s life – especially following her cancer diagnosis – you should check out her 2004 book Journal: A Mother and Daughter’s Recovery from Breast Cancer, a piece she completed with the assistance of her daughter, photographer Annabel Clark.
Of course, all you cinemaphiles and film-lovers alike out there should check out all of the films featuring Lynn Redgrave I’ve mentioned here, in order to appreciate the actress’s dramatic chops and impressive career – one which included performances both dramatic and dignified as well as comedic and wonderfully silly.
Farewell, Miss Redgrave. Screen Rant sends condolences out to your friends and family in their time of grief.
R.I.P. Lynn Redgrave (March 8, 1943 – May 2, 2010)
Source: People Magazine
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