Queer Places:
Clifton College, 32 College Rd, Bristol BS8 3JH, Regno Unito
University Of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2, Regno Unito
3 Hans Cres, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 0LN, Regno Unito
Bedford House, Chiswick Mall, Chiswick, London W4 2PJ, UK
St Paul Covent Garden, Bedford St, London WC2E 9ED, Regno Unito

Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave CBE (20 March 1908 – 21 March 1985) was an English stage and film actor, director, manager and author.

Redgrave was married to the actress Rachel Kempson for 50 years from 1935 until his death. Their children Vanessa (b. 1937), Corin (1939–2010) and Lynn Redgrave (1943–2010), and their grandchildren: Natasha Richardson (1963–2009), Joely Richardson (b. 1965) and Jemma Redgrave (b. 1965) are also involved in theatre or film as actors. Their grandson Carlo Gabriel Nero is a screenwriter and film director; only Luke Redgrave has taken a path outside the theatre. His daughter Lynn wrote a one-woman play for herself called Shakespeare for My Father. She was nominated for Broadway's Tony Award for this role. She traced her love for Shakespeare as a way of following and finding her often absent father.[13]

Redgrave owned White Roding Windmill from 1937 to 1946.[14] He and his family lived in "Bedford House" on Chiswick Mall from 1945 to 1954.[15] His entry for Who's Who in the Theatre (1981) gives his address as Wilks Water, Odiham, Hampshire.

A card was found among Redgrave's effects after his death. The card was signed "Tommy, Liverpool, January 1940", and on it were the words (quoted from W.H. Auden): "The word is love. Surely one fearless kiss would cure the million fevers".[21]

At the end of WWII, Alberto Cavalcanti directed the chilling `Ventriloquist's Dummy' segment of Dead of Night (1945) in which Michael Redgrave gave a brilliant performance as a repressed homosexual ventriloquist who descends into madness.


Clifton College, UK


St. Paul's Church, London

During the filming of Fritz Lang's Secret Beyond the Door (1948), Redgrave met Bob Michell. They became lovers. Michell set up house close to the Redgraves, and he became a surrogate "uncle" to Redgrave's children (then aged 11, 9 and 5), who adored him. Michell later had children of his own, including a son he named Michael.[5]:p.193 Fred Sadoff was an actor/director who became Redgrave's assistant and lover; they shared lodgings in New York and London.[5]:p.178–183

In 1976, after suffering symptoms for many years, Redgrave was diagnosed with rapidly advancing Parkinson's disease. He began a regimen of therapies and medications that caused disorientation and other side effects. Costs for his healthcare expenses and his diminished earning power caused the family to apply for public assistance from the King George's Pension Fund. In an interview on his seventieth birthday, he said: "For a long time, nobody understood the Parkinson's condition, and directors thought I was just forgetful or drunk--and even now the work isn't easy. The difficulty is not just remembering lines but getting from place to place."[5]:p.258

Redgrave died in a nursing home in Denham, Buckinghamshire on 21 March 1985, from Parkinson's disease, one day after his 77th birthday and his ashes were scattered in the garden of St Paul's, Covent Garden (The Actors’ Church), London.[22]

The 1996 BBC documentary film Michael Redgrave: My Father, narrated by Corin Redgrave, and based on his book of the same name, discusses the older actor's bisexuality in some depth.[18] Rachel Kempson recounted that, when she proposed to him, Redgrave said that there were "difficulties to do with his nature, and that he felt he ought not to marry". She said that she understood, it didn't matter and that she loved him.[19] To this, Redgrave replied, "Very well. If you're sure, we will".[20]

Corin helped his father in the writing of his last autobiography. During one of Corin's visits to his father, the latter said, "There is something I ought to tell you". Then, after a very long pause, "I am, to say the least of it, bisexual". Corin encouraged him to acknowledge his bisexuality in the book. Michael agreed to do so, but in the end he chose to remain silent about it.[5]:p.274 Alan Strachan's 2004 biography of Redgrave discusses his affairs with both men and women.[16] Although Redgrave had some long-term relationships with men, he also was prone to cruising Victoria or Knightsbridge for what he called "a necessary degradation", a habit of quick pick-ups that left him with a lasting sense of self-disgust.[17]


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