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Corin Redgrave and His Father

Adam Bernstein

The actor and political activist Corin Redgrave died April 6 at 70 in London. He was the scion of a powerful acting dynasty that included his father and mother (Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson) and his sisters (Vanessa Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave).

Corin Redgrave was, by most accounts, the least publicly known of the Redgrave clan. There have been suggestions over the years that Corin Redgrave, despite his talent, long lived in his father's shadow as an actor. Michael Redgrave was both a handsome matinee idol and a celebrated interpreter of the classics.

Corin Redgrave seemed to express admiration for his father more than jealousy and tried to downplay the notion he had anything to live up to more than his own innate skills. But profile writers over the years suggested that Corin focused more of his energy on his political convictions than cultivating his acting career because of his father's towering reputation on stage.

It was often written that only after his father's death in 1985 did the younger Redgrave start to emerge to greater prominence in his own right, culminating in a Tony Award nomination in Tennessee Williams drama "Not About Nightingales." Mr. Redgrave played the sadistic and lecherous prison warden in the play.

American audiences would likely recall him better for his film work as a corrupt police inspector in the IRA drama "In the Name of the Father" (1993), the snobbish Sir Walter Elliot in "Persuasion" (1995) and a pompous, kilt-wearing Scottish nobleman engaged to Andie MacDowell in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994).

In 1995, Corin Redgrave wrote a memoir that explored his father's complicated personal life. He said he initially burst into tears when his father informed him he was bisexual.
Corin Redgrave told the London Guardian the book was "helpful to me to write it and is possibly helpful to other people in a similar situation. It has to do with an apparent reversal of roles. A lot has been written of the problems which gay men have as sons telling their parents, but not a great deal has been written about the other direction."

By Adam Bernstein  |  April 7, 2010; 1:49 PM ET
Categories:  Actors, actresses , Adam Bernstein  
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