Dame Vanessa Redgrave

Voice of Queen Elizabeth II

Vanessa Redgrave was born in South London on 30 January 1937.  Her mother, actress Rachel Kempson, was married to actor Michael Redgrave whose father, mother and grandfather had been actors. Michael’s mother was known on the stage as “Daisy Scudamore.” 

Vanessa trained at the Ballet Rambert before being accepted by the Central School of Speech and Drama where she worked with Litz Pisk, a superb dancer and teacher who sought refuge in England from the invasion of Austria by Hitler’s armies.  Her singing coach, Janl Strasser, the chief coach at Glyndebourne Opera House, had been a refugee with his wife from fascist Hungary at the beginning of World War II. 

On stage, she most recently played Mrs. Higgins in the Lincoln Centre Theatre's production of My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum. She completed a podcast with Trudi Styler and Mark Rylance and was recently seen in the feature film Mrs. Lowry and Son, co-starring Timothy Spall who played the famous British artist L.S. Lowry. She made her directorial debut for screen with the documentary Sea Sorrow, produced by her son, filmmaker Carlo Nero, which was specially selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 and televised by Sky Arts in Italy. Vienna 1934 – Munich 1938: A Family Album was the first play Vanessa wrote, directed, and acted in. It was workshopped by the Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames, in January 2019 who then produced it at the Ustinov Studio at Theatre Royal, Bath as part of that year’s Summer Season.

Among other honours, Vanessa has received an Academy Award, a Tony, two Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmys, two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards, a Venice Film Festival Golden Lion, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship Award. 

She is a founding member of the Ulysses Theatre Company. Vanessa played Queen Margaret in the Almeida’s production of Richard III when the company played on the Island of Mali Brijuni in 2017. 

Vanessa’s most recent feature film roles include Letters to Juliet, Coriolanus, and Foxcatcher. 

Among the film achievements Vanessa feels most proud of is HBO Films’ The Fever, televised by HBO in 2007.  The film was written by Wallace Shawn and directed by Carlo Nero.