Michael Redgrave


As Richard II, 1951SIR MICHAEL REDGRAVE, CBE, MA, actor/manager, author, director, teacher, was born in Bristol, March 20, 1908 and died in London March 21, 1985, a victim of Parkinson's disease. His first professional appearance was at the Playhouse, Liverpool in 1934, where he met and married actress Rachel Kempson in 1935. His first season in London was with the Old Vic in 1936 before joining John Gielgud's company at the Queen's Theatre in 1937. He entered films in 1938 with Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES, then starred in KIPPS, THE STARS LOOK DOWN, THE BROWNING VERSION, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, THE DAM BUSTERS, THE QUIET AMERICAN, THE GO-BETWEEN, DEAD OF NIGHT, and MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA, which brought him an Oscar nomination. As King LearSir Michael first appeared at The Haymarket in 1940 as Macheath in THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, and again in 1971 with John Mortimer's A VOYAGE ROUND MY FATHER. But he is perhaps best remembered for his classic róles (UNCLE VANYA) and especially his Shakespearean performances. Appearing with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, between 1951 and 1959, the parts included Richard II, Prospero, King Lear, Antony, Shylock and Hamlet. He played Claudius in the National Theatre Company's inaugural production of Hamlet in 1963, his daughter Lynn as a lady-in-waiting. His first Broadway appearance was as MACBETH in 1948, and then Hector in TIGER AT THE GATES (1955, NY Critics Award) and THE COMPLAISANT LOVER (1961). Sir Michael chose to bring his Shakespeare to the world during the years 1974 - 78 in THE HOLLOW CROWN, PLEASURE AND REPENTANCE and SHAKESPEARE'S PEOPLE. As Parkinson's took over his life so that he could no longer learn lines, he was, in 1979, seen in his final performance at the National in Simon Gray's CLOSE OF PLAY, directed by Harold Pinter. He had only one short line, but was on stage throughout. He wrote The Actor's Ways and Means, Mask or Face, The Mountebank's Tale, and a play The Aspern Papers. He was knighted for services to the theatre in 1959.