TO BE A REDGRAVE: Surviving Amidst the Glamour by Deirdre & Danae Brook Redgrave

TO BE A REDGRAVE: Surviving Amidst the Glamour

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Perhaps in England, where actor-politician Corin Redgrave is a quasi-household name, there will be strong interest in this thin, whiny memoir by his ex-wife Deirdre; for US readers, however, there's minor appeal at most--in the slightly revealing portraits of Corin's more famous father and sisters. When young, convent-reared debutante Deirdre first met Corin, he was a handsome, ""cerebral"" novice actor. They became lovers: ""Only the moment existed. No fake morality could matter more than exploring each other, every nuance, every sensation, to yield, to be strong, to love."" She was ""spellbound. . . bowled over""--by the elegant, erudite, clever Redgraves: Sir Michael, Lady Rachel, Vanessa, Lynn. But once wed, Deirdre began to realize that ""their world was made up of lines and gestures."" Vanessa's ""casual attitude toward other human beings bordered on selfish indifference."" Sir M. was demanding, aloof, the apparent cause of much stoic suffering by Lady R. Corin was unfaithful, if apologetic: ""My soul had been carved in two and nothing he could say would ever change that. . . ."" And then, worst of all, there was Corin and Vanessa's growing dedication to radical politics. At first Deirdre went along: ""My inclination was toward the kind of political anarchy put forward by. . . underground magazines such as International Times and Oz."" But, after a friend was killed by Black-Power-ires whom the Redgraves befriended (cf. Jean Seberg), Deirdre balked. . . while Colin, now with the Socialist Workers Party, became obsessed, hostile, neglectful of their children: ""Where was my lover now? Stuck in a dingy hole with a bunch of yelling Marxists, instead of wandering the countryside with me. . . ."" Unfortunately, Deirdre never gets far enough beyond her own feelings to bring real insight to the Corin/Vanessa fanaticism--a potentially fascinating subject. And her own search for selfhood is a limp rerun of a familiar process. But the star-struck may want to browse here nonetheless, for glimpses of Vanessa at home (with kids, Tony Richardson, France Nero) or Lynn at the fat farm.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1982
Publisher: Linden/Simon & Schuster