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Rachel Kempson
Born 28 May 1910 (1910-05-28)
Devon, England
Died 24 May 2003 (2003-05-25) (aged 92)
Millbrook, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Michael Redgrave (1935-1985)

Rachel Kempson (28 May 1910 – 24 May 2003) was an English actress. She married Michael Redgrave, and was the matriarch of the famous acting dynasty.


Early life

Kempson was born in Dartmouth, England, the daughter of Beatrice Hamilton (née Ashwell) and Eric William Edward Kempson, who was a headmaster.[1]


Kempson trained at RADA before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. She married Michael Redgrave in 1935 and appeared with him many times on stage. She also appeared many times on film and television, most notably in the films The Captive Heart (1946); Tom Jones (1963); Out of Africa (1985), Uncle Vanya (1991); and the television series The Jewel in the Crown (1984). Her 1986 autobiography, Life Among the Redgraves was published by Dutton. According to Publishers Weekly, "Lady Redgrave writes with candor, wit, restraint and some sadness about her background, beginnings in the theater in 1932, marriage and motherhood, the trials of moving and the problems of being married to a handsome matinee idol."

Personal life

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, Lynn, and Corin Redgrave. She was the grandmother of Joely and Natasha Richardson (1963-2009), Jemma Redgrave, Carlo Nero, Benjamin B. Clark (1968- ), Kelly B. Clark (1970- ), and Annabel Lucy Clark (1981- ).

In 1959 her husband was knighted, and she became, formally, Lady Redgrave. She never used this name 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.


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