Vanessa Redgrave

Last updated on the 6 June 2024 by Evandrus

Vanessa Redgrave headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 30 January 1937, Blackheath, London, England. 

Vanessa Redgrave is a renowned British actress known for her illustrious career on stage, film and television. She hails from a family deeply entrenched in the performing arts. Her father, Sir Michael Redgrave, and mother, Rachel Kempson, were esteemed actors in their own right, providing young Vanessa with a rich cultural upbringing and early exposure to the world of theatre.

Mary, Queen of Scots, Vanessa Redgrave
Mary, Queen of Scots – Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave’s passion for acting blossomed at a young age and she pursued her love for the craft by enrolling at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After completing her studies, Redgrave made her professional stage debut in 1958, marking the beginning of a prolific and enduring career on the theatrical stage.

In addition to her stage work, Redgrave has made a significant impact in the realms of film and television. She has appeared in a wide array of films, earning critical acclaim and numerous accolades for her performances. Notable highlights from her filmography include her roles in films such as “Julia,” for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, “Atonement,” “Howards End,” and “The Gathering Storm.”

She has received several prestigious awards, including an Academy Award, a Tony Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards and an Olivier Award, establishing her as one of the select few actors to attain the Triple Crown of Acting.

The Gathering Storm - Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave
The Gathering Storm – Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave

Off-screen, Redgrave is known for her activism and staunch support of various political and social causes. She has been vocal in her advocacy for human rights, peace, and social justice, using her platform and voice to raise awareness and promote positive change in the world. Redgrave’s commitment to activism and philanthropy has earned her respect and admiration from fans and peers alike, solidifying her legacy as not only a talented actress but also a compassionate and dedicated humanitarian.

In her personal life, Redgrave has experienced both triumphs and challenges, including the loss of family members and personal struggles. Through it all, she has remained resilient and unwavering in her dedication to her craft and her causes, continuing to inspire and influence audiences around the world.

As a performer, activist, and icon of the stage and screen, Vanessa Redgrave’s enduring legacy stands as a testament to her talent, passion and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world through her art and activism.


BAFTA award


WINNER | Television: Actress in 1966


Oscar award


WINNER | Best supporting actress for Julia (1977)



Suggested viewing


Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)

Mary, Queen of Scots poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.1

Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to claim her throne, facing political intrigue and betrayal from her cousin Elizabeth I of England. Despite challenges, Mary traverses the treacherous world of court politics and power struggles, ultimately leading to her tragic downfall as she becomes entangled in a web of conspiracies and power plays.

Top cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Patrick McGoohan, Timothy Dalton, Nigel Davenport, Trevor Howard, Daniel Massey, Ian Holm.

Alternative version

Mary Queen of Scots poster


Howards End (1992)

Howards End poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.4

“Howards End (1992)” portrays the intertwining lives of three families, focusing on their social class divisions, cultural clashes and emotional entanglements in Edwardian England. Set against the backdrop of changing societal norms and values, the film beautifully captures the complexities of relationships, inheritances and the pursuit of personal connections amidst shifting landscapes.

Top cast: Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Joseph Bennett, Prunella Scales, Adrian Ross Magenty, Jo Kendall.


Morgan: A Suitable Case
for Treatment (1966)

Morgan A Suitable Case for Treatment poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.5

Morgan portrays an eccentric artist struggling to win back his ex-wife and daughter amidst a custody battle. Obsessed with Karl Marx and dreams of revolution, he blends reality with fantasy, leading to unpredictable behaviour. His antics escalate, ultimately forcing him to confront his inner turmoil and the consequences of his actions.

Top cast: David Warner, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Stephens, Irene Handl, Bernard Bresslaw, Arthur Mullard, Newton Blick.


Isadora (1968)

Isadora poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.9

“Isadora” follows the turbulent life of an iconic dancer, exploring her artistic talent, tumultuous relationships and relentless pursuit of independence. Through mesmerising dance sequences and intimate moments, the film delves into her revolutionary approach to movement, her struggles with fame and her unapologetic quest for creative expression and personal fulfillment.

Top cast: Vanessa Redgrave, James Fox, Jason Robards, John Fraser, Zvonimir Crnko, Lado Leskovar, Cynthia Harris, Bessie Love.


Blow-Up (1966)

Blow-Up poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.4

A fashion photographer inadvertently captures a murder on film in a park. As he investigates the images and develops the photos, uncertainty and paranoia take hold. The mystery deepens with conflicting evidence, blurring reality and imagination.

Top cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin, Gillian Hills, Peter Bowles, Veruschka von Lehndorff, Jeff Beck.


The Devils (1971)

The Devils poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.8

“The Devils” is a controversial historical drama set in 17th-century France, detailing the true story of a priest’s descent into madness and a sexually repressed nun’s manipulation. The film explores themes of political corruption, religious hypocrisy and mass hysteria, culminating in a violent and shocking climax that challenges societal norms and beliefs.

Top cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian, Gemma Jones, Murray Melvin, Michael Gothard, Georgina Hale, Brian Murphy, John Woodvine.


Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

Prick Up Your Ears poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.1

“Prick Up Your Ears” is a biographical drama depicting the tumultuous relationship between two men— a budding British playwright and his enigmatic, troubled lover. The film delves deep into the dynamics of their intense relationship, exploring themes of love, jealousy, betrayal and the complexities of creative collaboration in the 1960s London theatre scene.

Top cast: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Wallace Shawn, Lindsay Duncan, Julie Walters, James Grant, Frances Barber.


The Gathering Storm (2002)

The Gathering Storm poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.4

An ostracised Churchill rails against a growing threat, his warnings dismissed. As war looms, he finds solace in his wife’s unwavering support and rediscovers his voice, preparing to lead his nation into the coming storm.

Top cast: Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, Linus Roache, Lena Headey, Derek Jacobi, Ronnie Barker, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, Hugh Bonneville, Gottfried John.


Vanessa Redgrave full filmography @ Wikipedia
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments