She’s one of the most respected and enduring actresses in the history of Hollywood. Vanessa Redgrave has won a series of ground-breaking awards and has even earned a reputation political activist with strong views on several controversial subjects. The Julia (1977) star grew up with two highly celebrated theatre goons as her parents so there was great expectation on her and her siblings to also join in the acting profession. She initially was interested in dance and ballet but realized early she had not just inherited the Redgrave name but the career gene that comes with it.
Date of Birth: January 30, 1937
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
In April 2015, the iconic Vanessa had a heart attack that almost cost her life but thankfully she survived by a “miracle”. Since then, the actress-turned-director has admitted that she now sees life in a whole new way. When she isn’t winning plaudits for her extraordinarily compelling screen performances or causing revolutionary happenings in the political world, Vanessa is busy being a family woman. One thing that remains unquestionable is that family is priority for every Redgrave. Come along as we take you through this interesting read about a family that has for decades been at the centre of show business.
Sir Michael Redgrave (father)
Date of Birth: March 20, 1908
Date of Death: March 21, 1985 (aged 77)
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
He is the handsome matinee idol who was known internationally as a renowned movie man. His father left the house when he was only a boy and after his death, his mother subsequently married a tea planter. He grew up to love the arts and was soon a pro at playing lead roles. The next few decades saw Michael move from renowned actor to winning awards for his roles as a filmmaker.
Kempson recalls that when she proposed to the dashing star, he explained that he was bisexual and such ought not to be married. The young actress on the other hand, stated that she understood with her then lover and ascertained that it did not matter since she loved him just the way he was. For years, this was kept a secret between him and his wife until he told his son Corin when he was about writing his biography.
Sir Michael was diagnosed with rapidly progressing Parkinson’s disease in 1976 after suffering symptoms for many years. According to the late knight, people did not understand the disease for a very long time and just assumed he was being forgetful when he failed to remember lines or even locations. His condition was so severe that the family had to apply for financial assistance from the King George’s Pension Fund. Sadly, he died in a nursing home a day after he clocked 77.
Rachel Kempson (mother)
Date of Birth: May 28, 1910
Date of Death: May 24, 2003 (aged 92)
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Kempson is the matriarch of the renowned entertainment family but life was not always lavish for her. She was born to average parents with a father who was a school headmaster. Rachel happened to fall in love with the arts as she became older and decided to be an actress. Luck and fame and everything fabulous came her way after her July 18, 1935 wedding to the Michael.
In 1959, her handsome husband was knighted but she never changed her professional name. Over the years, her role as a wife and mother has strongly overruled her career ambitions so much so that she passively took the backseat while the attention was placed on the other members of her family. The Out of Africa (1985) actress was married to Redgrave until his death in 1985 but she continued being famous even after they were no longer together. The successful actress was almost 93 when she died of a stroke in Natasha Richardson’s home.
Corin Redgrave (elder brother from same parents)
Date of Birth: July 16, 1939
Date of Death: April 6, 2010 (aged 70)
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Corin was the only male child to the Michael and Kempson. He turned out to be an actor like his parents but was also a popular political activist. He fathered Jemma (January 14, 1965) and Luke with his first wife Dierdre Deline Hamilton-Hill. After their 1981 divorce, he remarried Kika Markham and they became parents to Harvey (born 1979) and Arden (born 1983). It was confirmed in 2000 that Corin had Prostate Cancer; he battled with it until he died 10 years later.
Lynn Redgrave (older sister from same parents)
Date of Birth: March 8, 1943
Date of Death: May 2, 2010 (aged 67)
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Although she was not as politically radical as her other two siblings, The Georgy Girl (1966) actress can be said to have lived a successful career life. She is the only Redgrave to have been nominated for the ‘Big Four’ entertainment awards without getting a single win. The Anthony and Cleopatra (1983) actress married fellow actor John Clark on April 2, 1967 and their 33 year-old union produced three kids; Benjamin (born 1968), Pema (born 1970) and Annabel Lucy (born 1981).
Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2002 and had a radical mastectomy the next month. For years, she struggled with this disease until she finally died surrounded by family in her Connecticut home a month after her brother in 2010. Her death was a big shock to Vanessa as she was still mourning Corin.
Antonio “Tony” Richardson (former spouse)
Duration of Marriage: 1962 – 1967 (5 years)
Date of Birth: June 5, 1928
Date of Death: November 14, 1991 (aged 63)
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Tony is the highly celebrated director who won an Academy award for the movie Tom Jones (1963). Richardson turned out to be bisexual like Vanessa’s father and eventually left her for actress Jeanne Moreau but they did not get married. He never publicly addressed his sexual orientation until he contracted HIV and died of complications of AIDS at 67.
Before he died, he was in a relationship with Grizelda Grimond both lovers had a daughter Katherine Grimond (born January 8, 1973). Through his marriage to the Playing for Time (1981) actress, albeit short-lived, Richardson would forever be linked to the showbiz family.
Franco Nero (spouse)
Duration of Marriage: December 31, 2006 till present
Date of Birth: November 23, 1964
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
The well-built beau was born Francesco Clememte Giuseppe Sparanero but as expected, he chose a shorter version of his birth name for professional ease at least. Nero was born to a middle class family and he studied briefly at the Economic and Trade faculty in a local Italian University before moving over to pursue a career in theatre. His most respected role till date is the lead character he played in Django (1966).
The Parma Native is not only famous for being an actor but for his close ties with the renowned Redgrave family through his relationship with the Isadora (1969) star. Franco and the movie heiress began their love affair during the filming of the lavish Hollywood musical Camelot in 1966. The first time they met was nothing close to being perfect but the young ‘Nessa piqued Nero’s interest when she wrote a note to him in Italian inviting him over for dinner. An affair ensued in no time and Carlo was born a few years after they met. The relationship was on and off as they separated for many years and both lovers saw other people.
Their love was stronger apparently as at the end of the day, they ended up as man and wife on the last day of 2006. Franco has explained that when one discovers love, it is no longer physical, it becomes something deep. This is exactly the case for Redgrave and her lover as their bond has been incredibly strong through the years. With Nero by her side, the chic legend has been able to survive a miscarriage after Carlo, the death of her sibling and sad passing of her daughter Natasha.
Natasha Richardson (late daughter with Tony Richardson)
Date of Birth: May 11, 1963
Date of Death: March 18, 2009 (aged 45)
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
The Parent Trap (1998) actress was the first child to Vanessa from her first marriage with Richardson. Like the rest of her family, she continued the generational tradition of theatre and did exceptionally well. Natasha met Robert Fox in 1985 during the making of The Seagull (1896) and after dating for five years, they had a marriage that lasted two years. The pretty actress found love again when she met with equally talented actor Liam Neeson and their relationship grew fast.
Tony Richardson was dead already by the time Natasha would be getting married so her step-father Nero had the honor of walking her down the aisle on July 3, 1994 with Neeson. She had two sons for Liam, Michael (born June 22, 1995) and Daniel (born August 27, 1996). The adventurous actress went skiing in March 2009 and she sustained a head injury which made her brain dead after what was thought to be a minor fall. Her husband made the call for her to be taken off life support as they had agreed they would do that if they ever needed to.
Joely Kim Richardson (daughter with Tony Richardson)
Date of Birth: January 9, 1965
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Joely is the second daughter to the infamous Vanessa; like her parents and the rest of her family, she took on acting professionally. When she was three, she featured as an extra in The Charge of The light Brigade (1968) directed by her father. She loved tennis when she was much younger so much so that the young Richardson spent some time training at a tennis academy in Florida only to return to acting and continued from there.
The Drowning by Numbers (1988) actress acted alongside her mother in the Nip/Tuck (2003 – 2010) television drama. She is the mother to actress Daisy Bevan (born March 23, 1992) with ex-husband and film producer Tim Bevan.
Carlo Gabriel Nero (son with Franco Nero)
Date of Birth: September 16, 1969
Zodiac Sign: Virgo
He is a screenwriter and film director and has worked alongside members of his family on several occasions. Carlo is the only child born to Vanessa and her second blue-eyed Italian husband Franco. He married Jennifer Whistle and they are now parents to two children.