Rachel Kempson – WOMAN of ACTION™ Tribute



A Celebration of Women

is inspired to share the memory of a wonderful woman that devoted her Life to family, taking a much less public viewing than that of her family and creating scenes of emotions in her plays, films and television; born 100 years ago today.

We offer this Tribute as a Memory of a Life Lived to its Fullest.


Born a CENTURY AGO….today

Rachael Kempson 

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 Redgrave,

Corin Redgrave

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) 
  •  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)
  • Georgy Girl (1966)
  • with both Vanessa and Corin in _The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)


Lynn Redgrave, Georgy Girl


  • Ms Kempson’s TV debut was in Jane Eyre in 1970 and she went on to play Lady Manners in The Jewel in the Crown in 1984.
  • In 1986, Lady Kempson wrote her autobiography “Life Among the Redgraves” in which she detailed her loving but difficult marriage with Sir Michael. 

Kempson’s 1986 memoir“Life Among the Redgraves”


        was published by Dutton.  

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, Joely Richardson and Jemma Redgrave are all prominent actors. In addition to her children, Lady Redgrave is survived by 10 grandchildren — including the noted actress Natsha Richardson, Vanessa’s daughter –

Natasha Richardson, Actress

(married Liam Neeson)

– and 11 great-grandchildren.

Her son, Corin, said she would be remembered as

“shiningly beautiful woman in face and in spirit”.


Lady Kempson died suddenly of a stroke at age 92 while staying at granddaughter Natasha’s home in Millbrook, New York. 

Family History

She was the daughter of Eric William Edward Kempson and Beatrice Hamilton Ashwell.  She married Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave, son of George Ellsworthy Redgrave and Margaret Scudamore, on 18 July 1935.  She died on 24 May 2003 at age 92 at Millbrook, New York, U.S.A.  Rachel Kempson was educated at St. Agnes Convent, East Grinstead, Sussex, England.  She was educated at Colchester County High School, Colchester, Essex, England.  She was educated at Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art, London, England. 

 She wrote the book A Family and its Fortunes, published 1986, an autobiography.

Was a great friend of actress Vivien Leigh.



A Celebration of Women™

sends our  

 Love and Prayers…


A Life Worth Celebrating!


Rest in Peace,

Brava Lady Kempson-Redgrave




  1. Catherine says


    I have always thought that Rachael Kempson

    was to the theatre

    that Rose Kennedy was to politics.

    It is lovely to see her remembered.


Speak Your Mind


Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care