Arts & EntertainmentBooks

Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave

Author: Dan Callahan

1 VanessaThe author is a fan of Vanessa Redgrave, but he is an impartial one who tells us what’s great about her and what grates about her. One of the great things, other than her obvious acting talent, is her generosity. My favorite story tells of Redgrave doing a benefit for a woman being held in a detention center. Redgrave’s assistant told her that she would need $500 for the benefit’s production expenses, and she said, “Oh, but I need $5,000!” When he asked why she needed so much money, she said, “Well, I have to pay for the theater and the stagehands and the technicians and all that.” When he said he thought she was doing a benefit, she said, “It wouldn’t be a benefit if they had to pay for it!”

Callahan also talks about the sexuality of her father (Michael Redgrave) and her husband (Tony Richardson): “When she spoke about her preparation for playing [transgender tennis pro] Renée Richards in Second Serve, Redgrave quite unguardedly said, ‘I was really ignorant. I’ve always thought maybe I’m bisexual and I’ve never tried it out.’ … Two of her first loves, her father Michael and her first husband Tony Richardson, were bisexual but leaning toward gayness. Part of still loving them, perhaps, was in wanting to feel what they felt, in the empathetic way that she functioned as an actress at her very best in Second Serve.” Great read. Pegasus Books ( —Blase DiStefano



Blase DiStefano

Blase DiStefano is the Creative Director/Entertainment Editor for OutSmart Magazine.

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