Image Credit: MPTVimages.netLike many people, when I first heard about Lynn Redgrave’s passing at age 67, I immediately thought about her older sister Vanessa, who has now lost her daughter (Natasha Richardson), brother (Corin Redgrave), and sister in the space of 14 months. I spoke to Vanessa, who appears in this month’s romantic comedy Letters to Juliet, just last Tuesday evening, and it was clear she was in a melancholy mood, telling me from London, “At the moment I’m sitting on the stoop outside my daughter-in-law’s home and looking at a very misty full moon.” I can only hope that her surviving family members will give her strength in such an unimaginably difficult time.
But we shouldn’t forget what a terrific performer Lynn was. In the 1960s she became an international sensation thanks to her titular role as a tart-tongued Londoner pursued by a wealthy older man (James Mason) in Georgy Girl, which was something of a precursor to Bridget Jones’s Diary. She earned a Best Actress nomination alongside Vanessa, who was recognized for Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment. (They both lost to Elizabeth Taylor for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) Her second Oscar nod came for her scene-stealing performance as Ian McKellen’s Hungarian housekeeper in 1998’s Gods and Monsters, where she provided comic relief in Bill Condon’s intense film. She was also a force on the stage, baring her soul in several autobiographical one-woman shows like Shakespeare for My Father and Nightingale. It’s no wonder that Broadway will dim its lights tomorrow night in her honor. Imposing, outspoken, and warm, Lynn Redgrave is gone far too soon. But, thankfully, we have so much of her wonderful work by which to remember her.