Monday, May 3, 2010

Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010)

Lynn Redgrave, esteemed actress and vivacious presence in film and theatre, has died after a seven year battle with cancer. She was 67. One of the many talents in the Redgrave acting dynasty, Lynn was the younger sister of Vanessa and Corin, aunt to Natasha and Joely Richardson, daughter of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.

Of her extensive film and television credits, she is probably best remembered for her Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated star turn in Georgy Girl, as the well-educated, charming lower class working girl who finds herself facing love and parenthood (in very unusual circumstances). She also received a Golden Globe and Oscar nom for her performance in Gods and Monsters. While Georgy was tall, plump and awkward, Ms. Redgrave was lithe, gracious and striking, with piercing blue eyes and a warm disposition.

Redgrave made her Broadway debut in 1967 in the Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy/White Lies. She would receive Tony nominations for Mrs. Warren's Profession, The Constant Wife and her solo tribute to her father Shakespeare for My Father. She won a Drama Desk Award for a 2003 off-Broadway production of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads.

Her most recent credit was Nightingale for MTC, a solo show she'd written as a tribute to her late mother. Her illness became a topic of conversation, as Redgrave revealed she was at stage IV and would be on script for her performance. The actress was very open about her cancer struggle, releasing the book Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer, in which the star - with her daughter, photographer Annabel Clark, documented her experiences with diagnosis, mastectomy and recovery.

She is survived by three children from her marriage to actor John Clark, as well as her sister Vanessa. Her brother Corin died less than a month ago, also a victim of cancer. Her niece Natasha was tragically killed over a year ago in skiing accident. The lights of Broadway will be dimmed in her honor on May 4. But for now - how I'll always remember the delightful actress - here's Georgy Girl:

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