Michael Redgrave as Malvolio

Michael Redgrave as Malvolio

The Redgrave family is a theatrical dynasty that spans six generations.

Michael Redgrave, one of the most famous performers of the 20th century, was the son and grandson of actors, and the great grandson of a ticket tout, Cornelius Redgrave. Despite this background, he did not immediately opt for the theatre, but went to Cambridge University and then became a teacher in a boys' secondary school.

After two years, in which he acted in and produced many school plays, he left the school, and managed to get a job at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1934. He was soon playing leads at Liverpool. (Malvolio, the pompous steward with delusions of grandeur in 'Twelfth Night' is one of the most sought after comic roles in Shakespeare.) Tyrone Guthrie, then a director at the Old Vic in London saw his performance and immediately offered Redgrave a job.

Redgrave's rise to fame was meteoric and by 1939 he had made his first film, The Lady Vanishes, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.