The Redgraves by Donald Spoto
A Family Epic

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 6 Critic Reviews



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.

About Donald Spoto

See more books from this Author
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.
Published October 2, 2012 by Crown Archetype. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Redgraves

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Spoto (High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly) provides a competent biography of one of the most revered families in acting%E2%80%94a clan whose combined careers have spanned seven decades. The author

Aug 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Redgraves: A Family Epic

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

Four generations of character actors and stars, dysfunction and tragedy.

Oct 12 2012 | Read Full Review of The Redgraves: A Family Epic

The Washington Times

See more reviews from this publication

Near the end of his comprehensive look at one of Britain's great acting clans, Donald Spoto quotes its most famous -- or notorious -- member, Vanessa Redgrave, speaking with characteristic plainness: "Interviewers continue to ask about the Redgrave dynasty. 'But we are not a dynasty,' Vanessa rep...

Dec 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The Redgraves: A Family Epic

The Telegraph

Roy Redgrave, Michael’s .

Nov 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Redgraves: A Family Epic

So does Spoto, who praises her work and defends her against critics who regarded her Marxist philosophy as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

Oct 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Redgraves: A Family Epic

Chicago Sun Times

The English classical-acting family used to be regarded as the distant theatrical tribe headed by Michael Redgrave and wife Rachel Kempson, whose children — the insecure, outgoing Lynn and the introspective, politically charged Vanessa — enhanced the family’s legacy.

Oct 18 2012 | Read Full Review of The Redgraves: A Family Epic

Reader Rating for The Redgraves

An aggregated and normalized score based on 52 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review