Sad news today: The actress Lynn Redgrave has died after a seven-year battle with breast cancer, at the age of 67. It’s been a tragic time for the Redgrave family, many of whose members are renowned actors: Corin Redgrave (Lynn and Vanessa’s brother) died earlier this month at 70, and Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter Natasha Richardson passed away last year.
Lynn Redgrave’s career, which spanned theater, movies and television, began on the London stage; her breakthrough role in film was the 1966 “Georgy Girl,” for which she received an Oscar nomination. Though never quite as revered as her sister Vanessa, she made her mark in film with memorable roles that included a tart housekeeper in “Gods and Monsters” (for which she received her second Oscar nomination), a woman hesitantly describing her own sexual revolution in “Kinsey,” a formidable landlady in “Spider,” and a Russian emigre living with her once-regal family in Shanghai in “The White Countess,” alongside Vanessa and Natasha. On television, her work ranged from game shows in the ’70s to recent guest spots on “Desperate Housewives,” “Law & Order” and “Ugly Betty.”
And her stage roles were many, both in London (where she co-starred with Vanessa in Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” in 1991) and New York, including one-woman works she wrote herself: “Shakespeare for My Father,” “Rachel and Juliet,” and, just last fall, “Nightingale.” All used her eventful life and family for inspiration. In a New York Times interview shortly before the opening of “Nightingale,” she talked about living with cancer and about her connection with her famous family.
Ms. Redgrave said that links to her relatives are important to her understanding of herself and her place in the world. “I have this thing, it’s like holding hands, even dead or alive, but holding, holding because then somehow it makes me O.K., I’m being held steady,” she said.