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Summary Article: Redgrave, Vanessa
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ English actress

She was born in London, the eldest daughter of Sir Michael Redgrave and actress Rachel Kempson (1910-2003). After studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama (1954-57), she made her professional debut at the Frinton Summer Theatre (1957) and her London stage debut opposite her father in A Touch of the Sun (1958). She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s. Her first film, Behind the Mask (1958), was followed by many others, notably Morgan, a Suitable Case for Treatment and Blow-Up (both 1966). Active in several media, she has proved herself one of the most distinguished performers of her generation. A stage performer of conviction and integrity, her work in the theatre includes The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1966), The Lady from the Sea (1976-77) and Orpheus Descending (1988-89). She received Academy Award nominations for Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966), Isadora (1968), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), The Bostonians (1984) and Howards End (1992) and won the Best Supporting Actress award for Julia (1977). On television she won an Emmy for Playing for Time (1980). Other film appearances include Prick Up Your Ears (1987), Mission Impossible (1996), The Cradle Will Rock (1999) and Atonement (2007). She also appeared, alongside her daughter Joely Richardson, in the US television series Nip/Tuck (2003-04). She won a Tony award for her Broadway performance in Long Day's Journey into Night (2003) and an Ibsen Centennial award for her work as an interpreter of the Norwegian playwright's work. She is well known for her active support of left-wing and humanitarian causes.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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