Names Worn by Vanessa Redgrave

Vanessa Redgrave in "Mary, Queen of Scots"

Today's actress is a personal favorite of mine, the juno-esque Vanessa Redgrave. Redgrave was born in Greenwich in 1937, to actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, Lady Redgrave. Laurence Olivier famously announced her birth at a performance of "Hamlet", in which her father played Laertes, by saying that "tonight a great actress has been born". Initially the tall Vanessa planned on being a dancer, but eventually turned to acting, her family's profession of choice; her brother and sister are the late Corin and Lynn Redgrave. Her first starring role was in "Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment", for which she was nominated for an Oscar, a Cannes award, a Golden Globe award, and BAFTA Film award.

In 1962 Vanessa married Tony Richardson, and had two daughters, actresses Joely and the late Natasha Richardson. The marriage ended in 1967 when Tony left her for Jeanne Moreau. Later that same year, she starred in "Camelot" and became romantically involved with Italian actor Franco Nero. They had a son together, Carlo Gabriel Nero, who is a director and screenwriter. The two separated for many years, before getting back together and wedding in 2006. Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams called her "the greatest living actress of our times", and she remains the only British actress to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Olivier, Cannes, Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild award.

Flavia - "A Quiet Place in the Country" - This beautiful name is a feminine form of the Roman family name Flavius, which came form the Latin flavus meaning "golden" or "yellow-haired". Flavia is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I would be completely bowled over if I ever met one.

Isadora - "Isadora" - This wonderful alternative to Isabella is a feminine form of Isidore, which means "gift of Isis", combining the name of the Goddess and the Greek doron meaning "gift". In this film she played Isadora Duncan, the famous American dancer.

Andromache - "The Trojan Woman" - In Greek mythology Andromache was the wife of Hector who was killed by Achilles. It is derived of the Greek andros, "of a man", and mache, "battle". This is a recent favorite of mine, and I wonder why it is not mentioned more often, as names from mythology, especially Greek mythology, are always popular.

Olive - "The Bostonians" - Sweet Olive is surprisingly #368 in the US, a feat for such a demure and fusty name. It of course comes from the name of the tree, which came from the Latin oliva.

Agata - "Sparrow" - Agatha still too dowdy for you? Try out edgy Agata. Used in Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, Sweden, and more, this name certainly spices things up, while retaining the adorable Aggie.

Nivea - "The House of the Spirits" - Aside from the brand of lotion, I had never come across this name. It is comes from niveus, which means "snow-white" in Latin. The movie is based on the book by Isabel Allende, and features other interesting names like Pancha and Ferula.


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