Vanessa Redgrave (born January 30, 1937) is an English actress, a member of the Redgrave acting dynasty. Her parents were Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Her sister, Lynn Redgrave, and brother, Corin Redgrave, are also well-known actors, as are her daughters, Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson. She also has a son, Carlo Nero , a writer and film director, by a relationship with Italian actor Franco Nero (né Francesco Spartanero), whom she met while filming Camelot.
She was born in London and entered the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1954. She first appeared in the West End, playing opposite her father, in 1958, and subsequently became notorious for her unconventional lifestyle and daring film roles such as Isadora (1968). She won an Academy Award for her performance in Julia (1977).
Her political views have also caused controversy, being a member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party and denouncing Zionism when receiving her Academy Award. Redgrave remained loyal to WRP founder Gerry Healy when he was expelled from the WRP in the mid-1980s. She and other Healy loyalists founded the Marxist Party in the 1990s. In 2004 she and her brother Corin Redgrave announced the launch of the Peace and Progress Party which would campaign against the war in Iraq and for human rights. The party will only run a handful of candidates and will call for Britons to vote for Liberal Democrats and even individual Tories who support human rights in an attempt to defeat the Labour Party in the next election.
In December, 2002, Redgrave paid £50,000 bail for Chechen sepraratist Deputy Premier and special envoy Akhmed Zakayev, who was accused by Russia of aiding and abetting hostage-takings in the Moscow Hostage Crisis of 2002, and guerrilla warfare against Russia.
She was married to the film director Tony Richardson (1928-1991) from 1962 until 1967. She subsequently had a long-term relationship with Timothy Dalton.