British actress Lynn Redgrave dies at 67

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Oscar-nominated actress Lynn Redgrave has died after a long battle against breast cancer, her children said Monday, in a new blow to one of Britain's most famous acting dynasties.

Redgrave, 67, "passed away late last night at her home," her spokesman Rick Miramontez confirmed to AFP, just over three weeks after her brother, Corin, who was also a well-known actor, died from an illness at the age of 70.

"Our beloved mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven-year journey with breast cancer," her family said in a statement Monday posted on her official website.

"She lived, loved and worked harder than ever before. The endless memories she created as a mother, grandmother, writer, actor and friend will sustain us for the rest of our lives," they said.

The children, son Ben and daughters Pema and Annabel, said in their statement that they were with Redgrave when she passed away at her home in Connecticut after a career spanning some 48 years.

"Our entire family asks for privacy through this difficult time," her children added in their statement.

Lynn and Corin are survived by their sister, Vanessa Redgrave, 73, and were the third generation of one of Britain's most famous acting dynasties which has starred in screen and in theaters for more than seven decades.

Lynn Redgrave, the daughter of actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, was also the aunt of television and film stars Joely and Natasha Richardson.

Her niece Natasha Richardson, who was married to actor Liam Neeson, died after a skiing accident in Canada last year.

Lynn Redgrave, who became known to American audiences through recent television roles in "Desperate Housewives" and "Ugly Betty," won two Oscar nominations.

The tall, red-haired actress was first nominated for an Oscar for her 1966 role as the unconventional character in "Georgy Girl" and then for the 1998 "Gods and Monsters." She won Golden Globes for both films.

She was also nominated for three Tony awards, two Emmys and a Grammy during her career.

Tributes began to pour in Monday at news of her death. Director Michael Winner, who cast her in one of her first movies, said she had been "a joy."

"She was a phenomenal actress, she could do comedy, tragedy -- anything really -- with absolute ease."

British television interviewer Michael Parkinson voiced his sadness, saying: "She was maybe the jolliest and most likeable of all the family.

"She was a good actress, but being a Redgrave I suppose she couldn't help it -- it's in their blood, in their marrow."

Redgrave made her professional debut in 1962 in a production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Royal Court Theatre, before joining some of Britain's most illustrious companies, including the Royal National Theatre, of which she was a founding member.

In 1967, Redgrave appeared for the first time on Broadway in "Black Comedy." But despite her long career, she never achieved the same fame as her older, and more notorious, sister Vanessa, who is also a leftwing political activist.

Redgrave's film career flourished in later years, though, with roles in "The Jane Austen Book Club" in 2007, "The Constant Wife" and "The White Countess" both in 2005.

She also wrote four plays, including "Shakespeare For My Father," which examined her relationship with Michael Redgrave.

© 2010 AFP

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