April 7, 2010

UK: Actor Corin Redgrave dies at 70

. LONDON, England / The Telegraph / News / April 7, 2010 By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor Corin Redgrave, the actor and political activist born of Britain's foremost theatrical dynasty, has died at the age of 70. He was taken ill at his London home in the early hours of Sunday morning and died yesterday with his family at his bedside. A statement issued by his wife, the actress Kika Markham, and family said: "He died very peacefully surrounded by his family. We will miss him so very much." Corin Redgrave with his sisters Vanessa, left, and Lynn. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith The son of theatrical luminaries Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, Redgrave followed his parents into the acting business along with his sisters, Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave. He joined the Royal Court after leaving university and made his first stage appearance as Lysander in a 1961 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. His early films included A Man For All Seasons, The Charge of the Light Brigade and Oh! What A Lovely War. Theatre remained Redgrave's great love and in 1999 he earned a Tony nomination for his role as Boss Whalen in the Tennessee Williams play Not About Nightingales. In 2005, he won plaudits for his performance as King Lear at the RSC. For a time, Redgrave's career was over-shadowed by his commitment to Left-wing politics. He was a leading light in the Workers' Revolutionary Party during the 1970s and a founding member of the Marxist Party. Redgrave believed his political leanings led to him being blacklisted by the BBC for 20 years. By the 1990s, his film and television career underwent a revival. He played Andie MacDowell's husband in the hit Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sir Walter Elliot in a BBC adaptation of Persuasion and a corrupt policeman in In The Name of the Father, a film about the Guildford Four. "I wouldn't be acting as much as I do now if we were still living in the climate that existed, for example, in the 1970s, when people with outspoken views on one side or the other found it hard to get work," he acknowledged. He remained politically active, campaigning for the release of British detainees from Guantanamo Bay and co-founding the Peace and Progress Party, which fielded three candidates in the 2005 general election. In 1995, Redgrave published a biography of his father, which was praised for its honesty about family life and Sir Michael's bisexuality. The Redgrave dynasty has suffered its fair share of tragedy - last year, Redgrave's niece, Natasha Richardson, died in a skiing accident. Redgrave was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000 and suffered a serious heart attack in 2005 - he collapsed while addressing a public meeting at an Essex travellers' site in 2005, and was resuscitated by two policemen - but had recovered sufficiently by last year to take a starring role in Trumbo, a West End play about the Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Redgrave had two children, Jemma and Luke, from his first marriage to Deirdre Hamilton-Hill, and two sons, Harvey and Arden, from his marriage to Kika Markham. He said recently: "I live a very happy domestic life. I'm intensely fond and proud of my children and grandchildren, terrifically fond of my sisters and greatly attached to my wife. I'm so lucky." [rc] © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010