Joely Richardson is an English actress who is the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson. She is best known for her roles as Julia McNamara in the FX drama series 'Nip/Tuck' and Queen Catherine Parr in Showtime’s series 'The Tudors'. While Richardson was initially interested in pursuing a career in tennis, she eventually followed her family members into acting and worked in films like 'Wetherby', 'Body Contact', and a lead role in the cult hit 'Drowning by Numbers'. Some of her early television roles were for Channel 4's 'Behaving Badly' and BBC's 'Lady Chatterley'. Over the course of her three-decade long career, she has acted in notable films, such as '101 Dalmatians', 'Event Horizon', 'The Patriot', 'The Last Mimzy', 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', 'Endless Love', 'Maggie', and 'Red Sparrow'. She has also received a number of award nominations for her role in the series 'Nip/Tuck'.
Childhood & Early Life
Joely Kim Richardson was born on January 9, 1965, in Marylebone, London, England into the Redgrave family, members of which have been involved in the entertainment industry for four generations. She is the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson, and the granddaughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.
She is the second daughter of her parents, and had a sister named Natasha, who was also an actress, but she suffered a head injury during a skiing lesson and died on March 18, 2009. Through her late sister, she is the sister-in-law of actor Liam Neeson, and the aunt of their two sons, Micheál and Daniel Neeson.
She is the step-sister of Italian-English screenwriter and film director Carlo Gabriel Redgrave Nero, through her mother's relationship with Italian actor Franco Nero, and of Katharine Grimond, through her father's relationship with Grizelda Grimond. Her aunt Lynn Redgrave was an actress and her uncle Corin Redgrave was an actor as well. Corin’s daughter Jemma is also an as actress.
Richardson initially studied at the independent St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, and was sent to boarding school at the independent Harry Hopman Tennis School in Tampa, Florida at the age of 14. She completed her graduation from the Thacher School in Ojai, California, in 1983, following which she returned to London to take acting lessons at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
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Joely Richardson first appeared as an extra in her father's 1968 film 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' at the age of three. However, as a teenager, she spent two years at a tennis academy in Florida with dreams of becoming a professional tennis player one day.
She began her acting career in 1985 by appearing in flashback scenes of the film 'Wetherby' as the younger version of the lead character, played by her mother. She had a supporting role in the 1987 film 'Body Contact', and the following year, she played a princess in one episode of Jim Henson's television series 'The Storyteller'.
In 1988, she appeared in the lead role of Cissie Colpitts 3 in Peter Greenaway's cult hit 'Drowning by Numbers', which won the award for 'Best Artistic Contribution' at the 'Cannes Film Festival' that year. She was cast as Joanna Farley in a 1989 television episode of 'Poirot', based on Agatha Christie's detective series, which was her first major role in front of a larger audience.
She portrayed Serafina, a teacher on the verge of a nervous breakdown, in the 1989 Channel 4 serial 'Behaving Badly', and the titular character in BBC's 1993 series 'Lady Chatterley' opposite Sean Bean. During this time her film credits included 'King Ralph' in 1991, and 'Rebecca's Daughters' and 'Shining Through' in 1992, the last of which saw her playing a Nazi alongside her future brother-in-law Liam Neeson.
She was cast in the major role of fashion designer Anita Campbell-Green in Disney's 1996 live-action animated adventure film '101 Dalmatians'. The same year she appeared as Amanda Powell in the 1998 television adaptation of 'The Echo'. In 1997, she portrayed Lieutenant Starck in the commercially and critically unsuccessful science fiction horror film 'Event Horizon'.
In 2000, she had a lead role in 'Maybe Baby', a supporting role in Ben Elton's film adaptation of his book 'Inconceivable', and a major role opposite Mel Gibson in the film 'The Patriot'. She was cast as Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France, in the 2001 film 'The Affair of the Necklace', after director Charles Shyer noticed her resemblance with the ill-fated queen.
In 2003, she made a comeback on television in the main role of Julia McNamara in the FX medical drama series 'Nip/Tuck', which was based on the lives of two plastic surgeons in Miami. Her mother appeared as her on-screen mother in several episodes of the show until it ended in 2010.
In 2005, she played lead roles in the television movies, 'Lies My Mother Told Me', based on a true story about a murderous con artist, and 'Wallis & Edward', based on Edward VIII's abdication crisis. She had a major role in the 2007 sci-fi film 'The Last Mimzy', and appeared in two episodes of 'The Day of the Triffids' in 2009.
She portrayed Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, in the final season of Showtime's hit period drama 'The Tudors' (2009-10), and has a main role in the upcoming series 'The Rook'. Her film credits in the current decade include the movies, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', 'Maggie', 'Snowden', and 'Red Sparrow'.
Joely Richardson's most acclaimed role has been that of Julia McNamara in the FX series 'Nip/Tuck', which became an instant hit after it started airing in 2003. She also earned praise for portraying Queen Catherine Parr in the Showtime series 'The Tudors'.
Family & Personal Life
Joely Richardson married director Tim Bevan, who is the co-founder of the studio Working Title, in 1991 and gave birth to a daughter named Daisy the following year. She separated from her husband in 1997, and revealed in 2017 that he had left her for a younger woman (Amy Gadney).
While she never had another long-term relationship following her divorce, she was involved with Russian multi-millionaire Evgeny Lebedev in 2008, and was spotted with him a few times. However, prior to her marriage to Bevan, she had an affair with theatre producer Archie Stirling in 1990, which broke his marriage with Diana Rigg.
In 2017, she told 'The Telegraph' that the untimely death of her sister had left her devastated and heartbroken, and it took her four years to get over the tragedy. She had previously refuted the claim that her mother had caught her father Tony and her grandfather Sir Michael in bed together, calling it “make believe".
Joely Richardson's middle name 'Kim' was supposed to be her original chosen name in honor of the actress Kim Stanley. However, at the last moment, her parents decided to name her 'Joely', inspired by the name of their elder daughter Natasha's swimming teacher.