FunAstrology"One of the best": Vanessa Redgrave turns 85

"One of the best": Vanessa Redgrave turns 85

She is considered to be one of the most prominent actresses of recent decades. She is also a staunch activist who gets involved. Even at 85, Vanessa Redgrave is still active.

London – According to Vanessa Redgrave, the recipe for success for a good actress is simple: she doesn’t act. She just is. “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 cinema audiences for more than six decades. Ahead of her 85th birthday, things have gone a little quieter for Redgrave, who is famous for raising her voice on stage and in front of the camera. Probably only temporarily.

Because Redgrave, who has been heard but not seen as the narrator in the series “Call the Midwife – Ruf des Lebens” since 2012, currently has several film projects in the works, including the drama “The Medusa”, in which she starred alongside Pierce Brosnan and Jesse Eisenberg will be featured. In recent years she has also been regularly in front of the camera. Her last theater role was in The Inheritance at London’s The Young Vic Theater in 2019.

Born to be an actress

Redgrave comes from a family of actors. Her 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 audience during a performance of Hamlet in London, starring her father. “A great actress was born tonight,” said Olivier to much applause. He should be right.

After completing her training, she became a member of the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s and was mainly on the theater stage in the early years. Young Redgrave is turning heads as Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The British actress, who was born in 1937, achieved her international breakthrough in cinema with Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up”. The mystery thriller fitted perfectly into the swinging sixties and is now considered a film 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 has been nominated for an Academy Award five other times during her career, most recently for Howard’s End (1992). In 1980 she received an Emmy for the TV drama The Girls Orchestra of Auschwitz. As a stage 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, including with Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible” (1996) – as the cool arms dealer Max – or in the disaster film “Deep Impact” (1999).

Political commitment

In addition, Redgrave is a stubborn human rights activist and anti-war activist. In the 1970s she protested against the Vietnam War. As a member of the Revolutionary Labor Party, she ran for the British Parliament, but without success. In 1995 she was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF.

In 1999 she declined an honor as a lady in protest against the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose government is responsible for the nomination. “I have nothing against the royal family,” she says. “But I couldn’t accept any tribute from Mr. Blair after he led our country and so many people into the (Iraq) war on a lie.”

In 2004, Redgrave founded the Peace and Progress Party with her brother Corin, which campaigns against the Iraq war and for human rights. She later links activism directly to film, presenting a documentary about Syrian refugees, Sea Sorrow, in Cannes in 2017, which she directed for the first time.

According to reports, Redgrave lives relatively modestly in London, despite good salaries as an actress. She donates a large part of her money to political and charitable causes. She used the fee for the film “Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots”, which also brought 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 marries colleague Liam Neeson, dies in a skiing accident in 2009. Not the only stroke of fate for Redgrave. Within a year, her brother Corin and sister Lynn die of cancer.

After splitting up with 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 go their separate ways, but the affection remains. From 1971 to 1986, Redgrave was in a relationship with future James Bond actor Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights”). After that, she gets back together with Franco Nero. The two finally got married in 2006 and are still a couple today.

At 78, Redgrave experienced a severe health setback when she suffered a heart attack, from which she happily recovered. “When I was in the hospital, I wanted to die,” she later told the Daily Express. “It was just too exhausting.” Her daughter Joely gave her new courage to face life.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Vanessa Redgrave was awarded the Golden Lion for her life’s work at the Venice Film Festival in 2018. Festival director Alberto Barbera praised her as “one of the best actresses in modern cinema”. “She is endowed with natural elegance, an innate power of seduction and an extraordinary talent.”

And recently she can finally call herself Dame Vanessa Redgrave. She was recognized for her services to acting at the 2022 New Year Honors and this time she didn’t turn it down. “I’m surprised,” said Dame Vanessa, “and grateful to become a part of this wondrous group of British artists whose work has inspired me and audiences around the world.”

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