I was in London yesterday and happened upon Chris Beetles Gallery. He has a wonderful collection of Eve Arnold's photographs and amongst them was the one above of Vanessa Redgrave with her daughters Joely and Natasha in London in 1966. When I saw the image I knew I had to write about her.
I had to think back to what I remembered about Vanessa Redgrave, the person, all those years ago. I knew her as an accomplished English actress with a bit of a 'rebel streak' in her. I remember her relationship with Timothy Dalton and I knew she was one of many in a talented acting family. Being the mother of the beautiful Natasha and Joely was one of her finest accomplishments.
Her stage and film presence is admirable having appeared in more than 35 stage appearances in both London and New York. She has both a Tony and Olivier Award to her credit. This combined with her starring role in over 80 films shows just how talented she truly is. One of the greatest living actresses of our times? Without a doubt. She has won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2010 she was the recipient of BAFTA Fellowship "in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film."
Ms. Redgrave, as she is referred to in a recent New York Times article, rarely gives interviews. She is currently appearing in "Driving Miss Daisy" on Broadway in New York with another acting 'great', James Earl Jones. She agreed to an interview if Mr. Jones was able to join her.
The interviewer, Patrick Healy, gently prodded her on a number of topics including the deaths of her daughter, sister and brother. A thought that still makes my heart break. In true Vanessa Redgrave fashion, she replied, "that's my business" and surely it is.
I will say this about Vanessa Redgrave, she is a wonderful actress and admirable woman. I am sure her close friends and family would say the same. To me, it is the warmth in her eyes and smile that draw me to her. There is a fragility to her that is endearing and a strength that is commanding. She is a pleasure to watch.
I enjoyed reading Mr. Healy's interview and even more so with the concluding sentence by Ms. Redgrave. When asked about her role in "Driving Miss Daisy" she remarked "It's about getting my arms around a character who is a stranger to me. It has taken me back to an earlier time, and that makes me happy. Now that's purely personal. What can that mean to anybody? Nothing. Only to me. But that is how I feel."
For those of us who admire her, it means everything :)
Mother and Daughters...
A woman to watch....
In my mind, this last image is the essence of Vanessa Redgrave.
A woman to admire.