Monday, May 03, 2010

Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010)

Very sad news today. The Redgrave acting dynasty has lost another famous and beloved member. Lynn Redgrave was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 (shortly after this photo to the left was taken). She succumbed yesterday at the age of 67 after a valiant seven year battle. The New York Times featured an amazing photojournal of her treatment process awhile back, photographed intimately by her daughter Annabel Clark in 2003 which you can still see here. Beautiful work.

Our hearts go out to Redgrave family.

Vanessa Redgrave, the eldest sister of the famous family is still with us (thank God) and still churning out amazing work...But Vanessa, one of the great actors of all time, has had a wrenching couple of years losing both siblings (Corin, Lynn & Vanessa's brother died just one month ago) and her daughter who died tragically fourteen months ago.

Though they only shared the big screen once, the sisters were close. They rose to fame with near synchronicity. Lynn will forever be known for Georgy Girl (1966) for which she was Oscar-nominated. Appropriately enough, given the family name, she shared that "first nomination" experience with her elder sister who was also honored with her first nod that year for Morgan.

Lynn Redgrave in 1966

In a joint npr interview in 2005 in which the sisters display plenty of respect and affection for each other, they discussed that breakthrough year.
Reporter: Was it hard to be in competition with each other in that way?
Vanessa: Not at all.
It was lovely. I remember we kept being asked because the last set of sisters had reportedly -- which was Joan Fontaine and Olivia deHavilland -- been a little at odds with each other... Of course it makes a better press story for sisters to be jealous and hate each other. Just not true. We were -- we really couldn't believe that we were both going to the Oscars with our mum!
Young movie buffs will probably know Lynn best for her frequently indelible supporting performances in pictures like Gods & Monsters (1998, she was Oscar nominated) and Kinsey (2004). She never stopped working, even after her diagnosis. In te latter film she had just a short cameo but proved so moving in her closeup monologue that there was "nomination worthy!" rumblings at the time.

Vanessa and Lynn sisters offscreen and on for The White Countess (2005) --->

The last film I personally remember seeing Lynn in was Merchant/Ivory's The White Countess (2005) which starred three members of the family: Vanessa, Lynn and Natasha. The film is sadly becoming one of those properties that accidentally eulogizes several things at once; it's a gorgeous multiple swansong. It turned out to be both Ishmael Merchant's last film and Natasha's last leading role in a feature. It was also, as it turns out, the first and last movie collaboration between Vanessa and Lynn.

Rest in peace, Georgy Girl.


Chris Na Taraja said...

So sad, what a wonderful actress. She does some lovely work in 2 of my favorite films GODS AND MONSTERS and SHINE.

City_Of_Lights said...

I know this is a film blog but Lynn is completely part of my 80's childhood tv experience. She was spokesperson for a weight loss company and her commercials ran non stop here in the US. She was beautiful and exhuberant and I really liked her in them.

I'll have to go back and rewatch her older work. I've seen alot of it but for some reason I can't remember her in any of the roles. Maybe because she was so good I didn't recognize it was her.

RIP Lynn Redgrave

Beatrice Lukens said...

My prayers go out to the Redgrave family. I think the insurmountable level of strength and courage that Vanessa's displayed her whole life must really be coming in handy lately. Honestly, how does one handle burying a child and BOTH siblings within a years' time? I truly hope the Redgraves can look towards some happier times in the future. It seems like everyone is describing "The White Countess" as the only time the sisters acted together. Does anyone remember the lackluster TV-movie interpretation of "Whatever Happened to Bbay Jane?" Overall, the telepic sucked, but Lynn got in some good, hammy scenes in the Bette Davis role.

Steolicious said...

Thank you Nate for the Photolink, such real moments on pictures scare and fascinates me. First I cognized her in "Strike" as Miss McVane but her performance in "Gods and Monsters" made her unforgettable for me.

RIP ):

James T said...

This shouldn't have happened to anyone, let alone to a beautiful person like Vanessa. I hope she is as strong as she needs to be.

It was a lovely interview by the way. Thank you for the link.

Ian said...

How much tragedy must that family suffer through? Poor Vanessa Redgrave. I've never seen "Georgy Girl," and my impression of it prior to this was that it was a minor work in general that was aided through Redgrave's performance (though Charlotte Rampling costarted with her, which is really cool). I'll have to check it out somehow now. Loved her in "Gods & Monsters" and "Kinsey." RIP to a stellar actress.

David said...


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brandz said...

this is quite sad. i always loved that she was her own person. also, she should have won the Oscar for Gods and Monsters, one of my all time favorite films. may she rest in peace.

Jamaicafest said...

The Redgrave family has been through a very rough time. RIP, Lynn Redgrave.

Weatherman said...

We're losing all the great ones. A couple of quotes from the movie Blade Runner seems appropriate:
"It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"
"All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

Godspeed, Lynn Redgrave. You were one of the greats!

raksamuda said...

reading this news makes me sad

John said...

didn't Lynn and Vanessa star together in the Baby Jane remake?

Anonymous said...

The sisters weren't always that close. It was after she was first diagnosed with cancer that the two became very very close. This link below is a very good and informative obituary.

Panos said...

"it turns out, the first and last movie collaboration between Vanessa and Lynn" ....

I am afraid this is wrong, because they have played before in the remake of "Whatever happened to Baby Jane". Maybe it was made for TV but still they did act together !!!