April 6, 2010 / 2:53 PM / 9 years ago

UK actor, activist Corin Redgrave dies aged 70

LONDON (Reuters) - British actor and political activist Corin Redgrave, brother of actress Vanessa and a member of the famous acting dynasty, died on Tuesday, his widow Kika Markham and family said in a brief statement. He was 70.

“Corin Redgrave has died today,” the statement said. “He was taken ill at home in the early hours of Sunday morning. He died very peacefully surrounded by his family. We will miss him so very much.”

Redgrave was born in 1939, the son of actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.

His first stage appearance was at the Royal Court in 1961 as Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and his best known movie roles came in the films “A Man for All Seasons,” “Excalibur,” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Redgrave, who was less well known as an actor than some of his relations, was also a prominent left-wing political activist.

In 2004, he launched a new political party to promote human rights which he said had been abused during the war on terror.

Asked whether he thought it was an artist’s place to try to shape politics, he told Reuters at the time:

“If artists, actors, musicians and writers just felt they ought to be celebrities and shut up, then the world would be a pretty awful place to be.”

Redgrave was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000 and suffered what media reported was a “massive” heart attack in June, 2005 while delivering a speech at a rally. But he returned to the stage last year.

His death came just over a year after Natasha Richardson, Corin’s niece and Vanessa’s daughter, died after suffering a severe injury in a skiing accident in Canada.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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