Monday, May 3, 2010

Lynn Redgrave — 1943-2010

Another light in theatre has gone out.

The youngest child of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, Lynn Redgrave never quite managed the acclaim — or notoriety — of elder sibling Vanessa Redgrave, but received Oscar nominations for ”Georgy Girl” and ”Gods and Monsters,” and Tony nominations for ”Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” ”Shakespeare for My Father” and ”The Constant Wife.” In recent years, she also made appearances on TV in ”Ugly Betty,” ”Law & Order” and ”Desperate Housewives.”

”Vanessa was the one expected to be the great actress,” Lynn Redgrave told The Associated Press in 1999. ”It was always, ‘Corin’s the brain, Vanessa the shining star, oh, and then there’s Lynn.”’

In theater, the ruby-haired Redgrave often displayed a sunny, sweet and open personality, much like her ebullient offstage personality. It worked well in such shows as ”Black Comedy” — her Broadway debut in 1972 — and again two years later in ”My Fat Friend,” a comedy about an overweight young woman who sheds pounds to find romance.

Redgrave’s play ”Nightingale” at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2009 was the last time she appeared on stage in New York.

”She was adored by audiences, and although she embarked on a medical treatment as previews began, she never missed a show and gave magnificent performances eight times a week,” said Lynne Meadow, artistic director of MTC.

”We admired her strength, her talent, her courage and her enormous good heart. There wasn’t a stage hand, a press rep, a box office person who didn’t worship Lynn. She was true theatre royalty.”

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.