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28 May 1910|
Dartmouth, Devon, England
|Died||24 May 2003
Millbrook, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Stroke|
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
(m. 1935; d. 1985)
Rachel, Lady Redgrave (28 May 1910 – 24 May 2003), known primarily by her birth name Rachel Kempson, was an English actress. She married Sir Michael Redgrave, and was the matriarch of the famous acting dynasty.
Kempson trained at RADA before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. She married Michael Redgrave in 1935 and the couple appeared together many times on stage. She also appeared many times on film and television, most notably in the films The Captive Heart, The Sea Shall Not Have Them (both opposite her husband Michael), The Jokers, Two Gentlemen Sharing, Out of Africa, Uncle Vanya, and the television series Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974) and The Jewel in the Crown. She made three films with her daughter Lynn (Tom Jones, Georgy Girl and The Virgin Soldiers), and two films with her other daughter Vanessa (The Charge of the Light Brigade - which also starred her son Corin - and Déjà Vu). Her 1986 autobiography, Life Among the Redgraves was published by Dutton. According to Publishers Weekly, "Lady Redgrave writes with candour, wit, restraint and some sadness about her background, beginnings in the theatre in 1932, marriage and motherhood, the trials of moving and the problems of being married to a handsome matinee idol."[page needed]
Kempson married fellow actor Michael Redgrave in 1935, and became the daughter-in-law of Roy Redgrave and Margaret Scudamore. Kempson was the mother of Vanessa (born 1937), Corin (1939–2010) and Lynn Redgrave (1943–2010) and the grandmother of Joely and Natasha Richardson (1963–2009), Jemma Redgrave, Luke Redgrave, Arden Redgrave, Harvey Redgrave, Carlo Gabriel Nero, Benjamin B. Clark, Kelly B. Clark and Annabel Lucy Clark.
In 1959 her husband was knighted, and she became, formally, Lady Redgrave. She never used this title professionally. In 2003, four days before what would have been her 93rd birthday, she died of a stroke at the home of her granddaughter, Natasha Richardson, in Millbrook, New York. Richardson died on 18 March 2009 in a skiing accident and was buried near Kempson. Kempson's youngest daughter, Lynn Redgrave was also buried in the same cemetery on 8 May 2010, near Kempson and Richardson. When Rachel died she was survived by 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
- Jeannie (1941) - Maggie, Jeannie's sister
- The Captive Heart (1946) - Celia Mitchell
- A Woman's Vengeance (1948) - Emily Maurier
- The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954) - Mrs. Waltby
- Tom Jones (1963) - Bridget Allworthy
- The Third Secret (1964) - Mildred Hoving
- Curse of the Fly (1965) - Madame Fournier
- Georgy Girl (1966) - Ellen Leamington
- Grand Prix (1966) - Mrs. Stoddard
- The Jokers (1967) - Mrs. Tremayne
- The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) - Mrs. Codrington
- A Touch of Love (1969) - Sister Henry
- Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969) - Mrs. Ashby-Kydd
- The Virgin Soldiers (1969) - Mrs. Raskin
- Jane Eyre (1970) - Mrs. Fairfax
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980) - Lady Lorradaile
- Camille (1984, TV film) - Hortense
- Out of Africa (1985) - Lady Belfield
- Stealing Heaven (1988) - Prioress
- Uncle Vanya (1991) - Prioress
- Déjà Vu (1997) - Skelly's Mother (final film role)
- "Rachel Kempson". BFI.
- Sandra Brennan. "Rachel Kempson - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- Publishers Weekly
- "Rachel Kempson Biography (1910-)". filmreference.com.