Lynn Redgrave dies at 67; member of famed acting family
'Child of whom nothing was really expected' was nominated for two Academy Awards and won two Golden Globes.
Lynn Redgrave at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. (Evan Agostini/Associated Press / January 11, 2010)
Redgrave died Sunday with her children at her side at her home in Kent, Conn., said her publicist, Rick Miramontez.
"Our beloved mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven-year journey with breast cancer," her children, Ben, Pema and Annabel, said in a statement Monday. "She lived, loved and worked harder than ever before."
Redgrave's death closely follows that of her actor brother, Corin, who died after a short illness last month. Her niece Natasha Richardson died of head injuries caused by a fall on a ski slope last year.
Redgrave's last stage appearance was in January, at the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, where she performed her solo show "Rachel and Juliet."
"She talked about theater as the best doctor in the world," Susan Claassen, the Invisible Theatre's managing artistic director, told The Times on Monday. "You would never guess there was anything wrong when she was on stage."
Redgrave was no stranger to the Los Angeles stage, including performances of her one-woman show "Nightingale" at the Mark Taper Forum in 2006.
Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie told The Times on Monday that "everybody adored" Redgrave.
Redgrave, he said, "was theater royalty. But she had the most common touch."
The youngest of renowned actor Sir Michael Redgrave and actress Rachel Kempson's three children —and the sister of Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave — Redgrave often said she was "the child of whom nothing was really expected."
She made her film debut playing a barmaid named Susan in the 1963 film "Tom Jones."
Her career-making role as the overweight and unglamorous young Londoner in the British comedy "Georgy Girl" earned her an Oscar nomination for best actress in a leading role.
In 1999, she won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination for best actress in a supporting role playing the Hungarian housekeeper in "Gods and Monsters," the biopic about homosexual film director James Whale starring Ian McKellen.
Redgrave also received three Tony Award nominations over the past three decades — for her performances in "Mrs. Warren's Profession," her one-woman show "Shakespeare for My Father" and "The Constant Wife."
Her work in television included "House Calls," a 1980-82 CBS sitcom in which she played a hospital administrator opposite Wayne Rogers as a surgeon. She earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series but left the show in 1981.
In a $10.5-million lawsuit against MCA Inc. and Universal Television, Redgrave alleged that Universal fired her from the series because she planned to breast-feed her then-infant daughter Annabel during production hours. In 1987, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the dispute had been settled in an oral agreement reached by both parties.
Redgrave said the incident had a negative impact on her career.
"It wasn't exactly that I was blacklisted, but Hollywood is the smallest town in the world, and Universal is the most powerful studio in the world, and it just became more convenient not to hire me," she said in a 1994 Washington Post interview.
"It all stopped cold," she said. "What I did have was the theater, thank God, because the theater goes by its own rules."