Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Joyce Redman, R.I.P.

Joyce Redman (1915-2012) who has died aged 96, was best known for the dinner scene in TOM JONES (1963), Tony Richardson’s hugely successful film version of Henry Fielding’s novel, in which she and Tom (Albert Finney) smoulder at one another while gulping back wine, slurping oysters, tearing at chicken legs and biting lasciviously into pears. If she had done nothing else in films it would guarantee her a place in the annals of cinema. Her saucy woman of the world, Mrs Waters, whom Tom finds in a state of disarray, is essential to the film and she gets the tone just right along with Dame Edith, Joan Greenwood, Susannah York, Diane Cilento and that great cast. An Oscar nomination followed for her supporting performance in a film which has gone down in the annals of cinema as the first to arouse audiences and directors to the erotic possibilities of food.

She also won Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her role as Desdemona’s faithful servant Emilia alongside Maggie Smith and Sir Laurence Olivier in OTHELLO (1965, a film version of a National Theatre production). Having made her name in the 1940s as a stage actress with Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Alec Guinness, she continued to enjoy almost constant success in the theatre on both sides of the Atlantic during a career that lasted more than 60 years, appearing in productions like UNCLE VANYA, RICHARD III, THE CRITIC, KING LEAR, HENRY IV and Anne Boleyn to Rex Harrison's Henry in ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS. A long successful career in the theatre then, with lots of television roles as well, and a fascinating life too; born in 1915 and growing up in Co Mayo, Ireland before training at RADA. Actress Amanda Redman is her niece.

Joyce apparantly also appeared in PRUDENCE AND THE PILL, though I can't remember her in it, one of those dreadful films which stars like Deborah Kerr and David Niven were encouraged to appear in, in the late '60s. We will always have TOM JONES though.

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