According to Vanessa Redgrave, the recipe for success for a good actress is simple: she doesn’t act. She is fair. “That’s true of any good actress,” Redgrave recently told the Guardian. And with that on her.
Born in London, she has fascinated theater and film audiences for more than six decades. Ahead of his 85th birthday, things got a little calmer for Redgrave, who is famous for raising his voice on stage and in front of the camera. Probably only temporarily.
Because Redgrave, who has been heard but not seen as the narrator of the ‘Call the Midwife – Ruf des Lebens’ series since 2012, currently has several film projects underway, including the drama ‘La Méduse’, in which she starred. alongside Pierce Brosnan and Jesse Eisenberg will star. In recent years, she has also been regularly in front of the camera. Her last theatrical role was in The Inheritance at the Young Vic Theater in London in 2019.
Born to be an actress
Redgrave comes from a family of actors. His parents were Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. When little Vanessa was born on January 30, 1937, the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier announced the birth to the public at a performance of Hamlet in London, in which her father starred. “A great actress was born tonight,” said Olivier to thunderous applause. He should be right.
After completing her training, she became a member of the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s and performed mainly on the theatrical stage in the early years. In the role of Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, the young Redgrave attracts attention. The British actress, born in 1937, made her international breakthrough in cinema with “Blow Up” by Michelangelo Antonioni. The mystery thriller fitted right into the 60s and is now considered a cinematic classic.
In 1977, Redgrave received the Oscar for her supporting role in the drama ‘Julia’, in which she starred opposite Jane Fonda and Meryl Streep. She was nominated for an Oscar five more times during her career, most recently for Howard’s End (1992). In 1980, she received an Emmy for the television drama “The Girls Orchestra of Auschwitz”. As a theater actress, she received the Olivier Award in 1984 and a Tony in 2003, two of the most important stage awards.
She was also occasionally involved in blockbuster cinema, notably with Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible” (1996) – as the cool arms dealer Max – or in the disaster film “Deep Impact” (1999).
Additionally, Redgrave is a stubborn human rights activist and anti-war campaigner. In the 1970s, she protested the Vietnam War. As a member of the Revolutionary Labor Party, she ran for the British Parliament, but was unsuccessful. In 1995, she was named a Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF.
In 1999, she turned down an honor as a woman in protest at then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose government is responsible for the nomination. “I have nothing against the royal family,” she says. “But I could not accept any tribute from Mr. Blair after he led our country and so many people into war (in Iraq) on the basis of a lie.”
In 2004, Redgrave founded the Peace and Progress Party with his brother Corin, which campaigns against the war in Iraq and for human rights. She then linked activism directly to cinema and presented a documentary on Syrian refugees, “Sea Sorrow”, at Cannes in 2017, which she directed for the first time.
Reportedly, Redgrave lives relatively modestly in London, despite earning good acting salaries. She donates much of her money to political and charitable causes. She used the costs of the film “Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots”, which also earned her an Oscar nomination in 1972, to build a kindergarten near her home in London at the time.
Private strokes of fate
Redgrave’s marriage to Tony Richardson, which lasted from 1962 to 1967, produced daughters Natasha and Joely. Both also become successful actresses. Natasha, who married her colleague Liam Neeson, died in a skiing accident in 2009. It wasn’t the only twist of fate for Redgrave. In less than a year, his brother Corin and his sister Lynn died of cancer.
After splitting from Tony Richardson, she begins a romance with Italian western star Franco Nero (“Django”). After the birth of their son Carlo in 1969, who now works as a screenwriter and director, the two separate, but the affection remains. From 1971 to 1986, Redgrave was in a relationship with the last James Bond actor, Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights”). After that, she gets back together with Franco Nero. The two eventually married in 2006 and are still a couple today.
At 78, Redgrave suffered a serious health setback when she suffered a heart attack, from which she thankfully recovered. “When I was in hospital I wanted to die,” she later told the Daily Express. “It was just too exhausting.” His daughter Joely gave him new courage to face life.
Life Achievement Award
Vanessa Redgrave received the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival in 2018. Festival director Alberto Barbera hailed her as “one of the best actresses in modern cinema”. “She is endowed with a natural elegance, an innate power of seduction and an extraordinary talent.”
And recently, she can finally be called Dame Vanessa Redgrave. She was recognized for her acting services in the 2022 New Year’s Honors and this time she didn’t turn it down. “I am surprised,” said Dame Vanessa, “and grateful to be part of this wonderful group of British artists whose work has inspired me and audiences around the world.” (dpa)