Monday, May 3, 2010

Obit for Lynn Redgrave

The current news is that Lynn Redgrave passed away. I'm writing this because I met her, back in the 70's, when I was an apprentice, working as an unpaid volunteer at a Summer theater. The people headlining there seemed famous to me, because they'd been in movies, plays, and television. They seemed glamourous from afar, less so the closer one got. A fair number of them were bitter, unhappy neurotics.

I didn't know her well, only that she was nervous around lightning. As I recall, a co-star of hers was an absolute dick, some old has-been British (or British wannabe) actor, who would get drunk every night and abuse the people around him. How'd you like to be yoked to someone like that for the Summer?

To a 19-year old, these people were Olympians, but now I read that Ms. Redgrave was a mere 14 years older than me, which made her only 33 at the time. Yet to me she had made it. Then you read the modern obits, and they make it sound like she had somehow failed at something-- as if a couple of Academy Award nominations were nothing. Or television, and plays, and a number of other things. Ah, but look at her sister and father and niece, the journalists say. Geez, can't anybody me modestly successful in their own right? I guess if you're from a famous family, you always get compared to the most successful ones. That's gotta suck.

Well, she makes it here because she also did some writing, telling about her life and her struggles with it, so we salute and remember the passing of a writer.

I'm very often surprised when successful people turn out to be unhappy, with a lot of troubles. That Summer was the first revelation of that kind: that money and success were no guarantees of happiness.

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