MICHAEL REDGRAVE, English actor (d. 1985); Actor and father to the Redgrave acting dynasty (Vanessa, Lynn, Corin et al), the 1996 BBC documentary film Michael Redgrave: My Father, narrated by Corin Redgrave, and based on his book of the same name, discusses Michael’s bisexuality in some depth. Rachel Kempson recounts that, when she proposed to him, Redgrave said that there were “difficulties to do with his nature, and that he felt he ought not to marry”. She said that she understood, it didn’t matter and that she loved him. To this, Redgrave replied “Very well. If you’re sure, we will”.
During the filming of Fritz Lang’s Secret Beyond The Door (1948), Redgrave met Bob Michell and they became lovers, Michell set up house close to the Redgraves, and he became a surrogate “uncle” to Redgrave’s children (then aged 11, 9 and 5), who adored him. Michell later had children of his own, including a son he named Michael.
During one of Corin’s visits to Michael, the latter said “There is something I ought to tell you”. Then, after a very long pause, “I am, to say the least of it, bisexual”. Corin helped his father in the writing of his last autobiography, and encouraged him to acknowledge his bisexuality in the book. Michael agreed to do so, but in the end he chose to remain silent about it. A card was found among Redgrave’s effects after his death. The card was signed “Tommy, Liverpool, January 1940”, and on it were the words (quoted from W.H. Auden): “The world is love. Surely one fearless kiss would cure the million fevers”.