Rachel Kempson

Rachel Kempson

92 (passed away May. 24th, 2003)
May. 28th, 1910
Born in
Dartmouth, Devon, England, UK
5’ 8

Rachel Kempson's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (UK) TV Show
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (UK)
Love for Lydia (UK) TV Show
Love for Lydia (UK)
The Shadow of the Tower (UK) TV Show
The Shadow of the Tower (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


The matriarch of one of theatre and film's most famous acting dynasties took rather a back seat to the attention placed on several of the others. Born on May 28, 1910, in Dartmouth, England, Rachel Kempson trained at RADA and made her professional stage debut at Stratford in 1933 playing Hero in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." She went on to grace other famed companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English Stage Company and the Old Vic. She married actor Michael Redgrave in 1935 and became Lady Redgrave when Sir Michael was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959. Their three children grew to become celebrated acting icons of their own: Vanessa, Corin and Lynn Redgrave. Over the years, the precedence of being a wife and mother strongly overruled her career ambitions. On stage she co-starred with Sir Michael in a number of plays including "Flowers of the Forest" (1935), "Love's Labour's Lost" (1936), "Storm in a Teacup" (1936), "The Wingless Victory" (1943), "Antony and Cleopatra" (as Octavia) (1953), "King Lear" (as Regan) (1953) and Samson Agonistes (1965). She also appeared on film alongside several different family members, including her husband in The Captive Heart (1946), daughter Lynn in Tom Jones (1963) and Georgy Girl (1966) and both Vanessa and Corin in _The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)_ . In 1986, Lady Kempson wrote her autobiography "Life Among the Redgraves" in which she detailed her loving but difficult marriage with Sir Michael who was bisexual and had occasional discreet affairs. Their marriage endured, however, until his death in 1985, four months before they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Today, the family's acting legacy has continued to expand into the next thriving generation. Grandchildren Natasha Richardson (I), Joely Richardson and Jemma Redgrave are all prominent actors. Lady Kempson died suddenly of a stroke at age 92 while staying at granddaughter Natasha's home in Millbrook, New York.

  • Was a great friend of actress 'Vivien Leigh' (qv).
  • Mother of 'Vanessa Redgrave' (qv), 'Lynn Redgrave' (qv) and 'Corin Redgrave' (qv).
  • Grandmother of 'Natasha Richardson (I)' (qv), 'Joely Richardson' (qv), 'Jemma Redgrave' (qv) and 'Carlo Gabriel Nero' (qv).

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