Show Business: Vanessa Ascending

The pre-eminent actress of her time returns to Broadway

On the day Vanessa Redgrave entered the world, her father Michael Redgrave was playing Laertes opposite Laurence Olivier's Hamlet at London's Old Vic Theater. During the curtain call, Olivier gestured for silence and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight a star is born. Laertes has a daughter." Olivier probably thought he was being gracious rather than oracular. But the man generally acknowledged as the greatest actor of his age in the English- speaking world proved as inspired in his fortune-telling as in his art: the infant born on Jan. 30, 1937, has ripened into the greatest actress in the English-speaking world. Her...

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