Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave
Michael Redgrave ranks with Olivier, Gielgud and Richardson as one of the great British actors of the 20th century. Married to the actress Rachel ... Show synopsis Michael Redgrave ranks with Olivier, Gielgud and Richardson as one of the great British actors of the 20th century. Married to the actress Rachel Kempton, he also fathered a dynasty of actors, Vanessa, Corin and Lynn Redgrave and their children including actors Joely and Natasha Richardson. He played all the great Shakespearean roles (his Prospero reckoned better even than Gielgud's), he was considered the greatest English actor in Chekhov, had an impressive film career (that included his debut in Hitchcock's celebrated "The Lady Vanishes", the schizophrenic ventriloquist in "Dead of Night" (the book's jacket illustration), Crocker Harris in "The Browning Version" and Barnes Wallis in "The Dam Busters", and then in his prime contracted Parkinson's disease and was no longer able to learn new roles. He wrote his memoirs, but these were noted as much for what he left out, including his complex private life. In his thirties he had an affair with Edith Evans, then England's leading actress and 20 years his senior. But he had realised his bisexuality while at university and soon began a series of homosexual affairs, which are revealed here - names are named - for the first time. This biography has exclusive access to the papers recently sold to the Theatre Museum and allow Strachan to tell stories that involve not only fellow actors, but Anthony Blunt, Alistair Cooke and the political left of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Strachan shows how the children - and now their children - have been influenced by Michael Redgrave. Strachan directed Redgrave in his last years and knows the family well.