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The Redgraves: A Family Epic
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Crown 2012
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Description
The dramatic, poignant and revealing saga of the Redgraves, one of history's greatest families of actors.

For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theater and film while captivating the public eye. Their history is a rich tapestry of singu­larly talented individuals whose influence is felt to this day, yet their story has never before been told. In The Redgraves, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto draws on his close personal relationships with the family and includes both his interviews and un­precedented personal access to them. The result is a groundbreaking account of this extraordinary clan and their circle, including such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
 
The story began in 1907 with the marriage of actress Daisy Scudamore to matinee idol Roy Red­grave and the birth in 1908 of their son, Michael, who became a famous stage actor and movie star. Michael’s family and wild social circle knew that for decades he was insistently bisexual, notwithstanding his marriage to Rachel Kempson, one of England’s most glamorous and admired actresses.
 
Their daughter Vanessa, a great and revered per­former, is the only British actress ever to win Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards—achievements that have been paralleled by a profound humanitarian commitment even as she tackled difficult and controversial roles.
 
Vanessa’s sister, Lynn Redgrave, led a triumphant and complex life in her own way, too. From her per­formance in the movie Georgy Girl to her prizewin­ning play about her father and her Oscar-nominated performance in Gods and Monsters, Lynn established herself as a very different Redgrave.
 
Corin Redgrave, their brother, was known for his acclaimed performances onstage and screen—and he was a tireless and outspoken political radical.
 
The family tradition of distinction continues with the careers of Joely Richardson and Jemma Red­grave and reached a high point in the life and career of Vanessa’s daughter, Natasha Richardson, who earned a Tony Award for her role as Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret. Natasha’s sudden death after a skiing les­son in 2009 shocked and saddened admirers of her work and graceful spirit.
 
The product of more than thirty years of research, The Redgraves recounts the epic saga of a family that has extended the possibilities for actors on stage, screen, and television in Britain, America, and around the world.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/02/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307720177
ASIN:
B007SQDRBS
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Donald Spoto. (2012). The Redgraves: A Family Epic. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Donald Spoto. 2012. The Redgraves: A Family Epic. Crown.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Donald Spoto, The Redgraves: A Family Epic. Crown, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Donald Spoto. The Redgraves: A Family Epic. Crown, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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      • bioText: DONALD SPOTO is the author of twenty-six books, including bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, and Audrey Hepburn. He earned his Ph.D. degree from Fordham University. Spoto is married to the Danish school administrator Ole Flemming Larsen. They live in Denmark.
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title
The Redgraves
fullDescription
The dramatic, poignant and revealing saga of the Redgraves, one of history's greatest families of actors.

For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theater and film while captivating the public eye. Their history is a rich tapestry of singu­larly talented individuals whose influence is felt to this day, yet their story has never before been told. In The Redgraves, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto draws on his close personal relationships with the family and includes both his interviews and un­precedented personal access to them. The result is a groundbreaking account of this extraordinary clan and their circle, including such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
 
The story began in 1907 with the marriage of actress Daisy Scudamore to matinee idol Roy Red­grave and the birth in 1908 of their son, Michael, who became a famous stage actor and movie star. Michael’s family and wild social circle knew that for decades he was insistently bisexual, notwithstanding his marriage to Rachel Kempson, one of England’s most glamorous and admired actresses.
 
Their daughter Vanessa, a great and revered per­former, is the only British actress ever to win Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards—achievements that have been paralleled by a profound humanitarian commitment even as she tackled difficult and controversial roles.
 
Vanessa’s sister, Lynn Redgrave, led a triumphant and complex life in her own way, too. From her per­formance in the movie Georgy Girl to her prizewin­ning play about her father and her Oscar-nominated performance in Gods and Monsters, Lynn established herself as a very different Redgrave.
 
Corin Redgrave, their brother, was known for his acclaimed performances onstage and screen—and he was a tireless and outspoken political radical.
 
The family tradition of distinction continues with the careers of Joely Richardson and Jemma Red­grave and reached a high point in the life and career of Vanessa’s daughter, Natasha Richardson, who earned a Tony Award for her role as Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret. Natasha’s sudden death after a skiing les­son in 2009 shocked and saddened admirers of her work and graceful spirit.
 
The product of more than thirty years of research, The Redgraves recounts the epic saga of a family that has extended the possibilities for actors on stage, screen, and television in Britain, America, and around the world.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        "Chronicling the Redgrave family from 1894 to the present, this book is as much a tribute to the crafting of family history as it is to the dynastic acting family. From the questionable beginnings of Sir Michael Redgrave to the recent, tragic death of his granddaughter, Natasha Richardson, Spoto (Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford) takes readers up close and personal with the Redgraves in this detailed history. Readers interested in the Redgraves and their work on screen and stage will also learn about the paths they took to become great actors. Spoto's more than 30 years of research successfully come to fruition in this title, which is much like his 1983 book, The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. Spoto allows readers to become completely immersed in the lives, across generations, of this remarkable family. Highly recommended for readers interested in acting, the Redgraves, or multigenerational family histories."

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 20, 2012
        Spoto (High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly) provides a competent biography of one of the most revered families in acting—a clan whose combined careers have spanned seven decades. The author devotes the better part of his attention to Michael Redgrave, born in 1908 to two actors and becoming a stalwart of British stage, film, and BBC productions. Despite his homosexual inclinations, Michael married actress Rachel Kempson, with whom he had three children. A contemporary of Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, he appeared in stage productions of nearly every Shakespeare play and in films such as The Lady Vanishes and The Browning Version. His two eldest children, Vanessa and Corin, were passionate actors as well as dedicated social activists. All three children, including youngest daughter Lynn, had successful trans-Atlantic stage and screen careers. Spoto points to intriguing parallels between Michael's marriage to Rachel and Vanessa's first marriage to director Tony Richardson, since both men were admittedly bisexual. The book contains a lengthy recitation of the 2,600-plus roles played by family members, but Redgrave gets his hour in the spotlight.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        July 1, 2012

        Chronicling the Redgrave family from 1894 to the present, this book is as much a tribute to the crafting of family history as it is to the dynastic acting family. From the questionable beginnings of Sir Michael Redgrave to the recent, tragic death of his granddaughter, Natasha Richardson, Spoto (Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford) takes readers up close and personal with the Redgraves in this detailed history. Readers interested in the Redgraves and their work on screen and stage will also learn about the paths they took to become great actors. Spoto's more than 30 years of research successfully come to fruition in this title, which is much like his 1983 book, The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. VERDICT Spoto allows readers to become completely immersed in the lives, across generations, of this remarkable family. Highly recommended for readers interested in acting, the Redgraves, or multigenerational family histories.--R. LeMaster, Medina Cty. Dist. Lib., OH

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        June 1, 2012
        The Redgraves did not consider themselves so much a theater dynasty as a theater family. The distinction was their own, and it was telling in its inaccuracy, for as a family, the Redgraves were an indistinct group. Patriarch Michael was a father figure at best, given that his marriage to respected actress Rachel Kempson was a sham to appease a public and a government that would condemn his homosexuality as both distasteful and illegal. Their three offspringdaughters Vanessa and Lynn and son Corinfollowed in their parents' theatrical footsteps, as did Vanessa's daughters, Natasha and Joely Richardson. Each, in his or her own way, would give luminescent, career-defining performances, even as personal tragedies threatened to overshadow professional triumphs. Prolific entertainment-industry biographer Spoto examines the senior Redgrave's illustrious career and unsavory peccadilloes in minute detail, though frustratingly spares the rest of the clan this same thoroughness. Still, for stage and film fans, the name Redgrave is synonymous with theatrical perfection, and Spoto's spotty biography serves up salient, if salacious, reading.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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The dramatic, poignant and revealing saga of the Redgraves, one of history's greatest families of actors.

For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theater and film while captivating the public eye. Their history is a rich tapestry of singu­larly talented individuals whose influence is felt to this day, yet their story has never before been told. In The Redgraves, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto draws on his close personal relationships with the family and includes both his interviews and un­precedented personal access to them. The result is a groundbreaking account of this extraordinary clan and their circle, including such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
 
The story began in 1907 with the marriage of actress Daisy Scudamore to matinee idol Roy Red­grave and the birth in 1908 of their son, Michael, who became a famous stage actor and movie star. Michael’s family and...
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