Joely Richardson

Joely Richardson Headshot

Actress

Birth Name: Joely Kim Richardson

Birth Date: January 9, 1965

Age: 59 years old

Birth Place: Marylebone, London, England, UK

Parents: Vanessa Redgrave

Siblings: Natasha Richardson

Grandparents: Michael Redgrave, Rachel Kempson

A member of one of the world's most acclaimed acting dynasties, Joely Richardson was a late bloomer in her family's chosen profession, but by the early 1990s and into the next century she established herself as a skilled performer, capable of tackling both period roles and modern day characters in features and on television. Her first major role was as a murderess in the art house favorite "Drowning By Numbers" (1988), and despite Hollywood's tendency to cast her in lighthearted roles like "101 Dalmatians" (1996), she did her best work in darker, more nuanced material like "Sister My Sister" (Channel 4, 1994) and "The Echo" (BBC, 1998). Her best known role - as the conflicted Julie McNamara on "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 2003-2010) - earned her both critical acclaim and widespread exposure, though Richardson appeared to favor substantive work over fame. As a result, she remained among the more widely respected actresses and earned more prestigious roles as a result. But as her career was moving along, Richardson suffered a tragic loss when her sister, actress Natasha Richardson, died from an epidural hematoma as the result of a skiing accident. With the eyes of the world on the famous family, Richardson returned to work, playing Queen Katherine Parr on "The Tudors" (Showtime, 2007-2010) and co-starring in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2011), which helped underscore the enormity of her talent.

Born Jan. 9, 1965 in London, England, Richardson and older sister Natasha Richardson were the daughters of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson, best known for helming "Tom Jones" (1963). Her extended family included such theater and film luminaries as grandparents Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, Aunt Lynn Redgrave, and cousin Jemma Redgrave. Richardson made her film debut at the age of three as an extra in her father's production of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1968), but did not pursue it as a career until much later in life. Education at the exclusive Thacher School in California came first, followed by an interest in sports - specifically gymnastics and professional tennis. But by 1985, she was developing a desire to explore the family business, and made her credited feature debut as a waitress in her father's adaptation of the John Irving novel, "The Hotel New Hampshire" (1984). The following year, she was featured in flashbacks as the younger version of her mother's role in David Hare's "Weatherby" (1985).

More roles soon followed in smaller independent features and on television, where Richardson starred in the sitcom "Kin of the Castle" (BBC, 1987) and the miniseries "Behaving Badly" (Channel 4, 1989) with Judi Dench. After joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1986, Richardson landed her first lead in cult favorite Peter Greeaway's offbeat "Drowning By Numbers" (1988), in which she starred as one of three women, all named Cissie Colpitts, who each murder their husbands by drowning them. The exposure brought her to the attention of Hollywood, though most of her early efforts there - including "King Ralph" (1991), "Shining Through" (1992) and the bowdlerized, non-musical version of James L. Brooks' "I'll Do Anything" (1994) - offered little interest to both the actress and the audience. Richardson also attracted negative press for a 1990 affair with Scottish landowner Archie Stirling, which resulted in the dissolution of his marriage to actress Diana Rigg. Two years later, she was married to Working Title co-founder Tim Bevan, with whom she had a daughter named Daisy. The union lasted until 1997.

She found more engaging work on television in her native country. Performances as "Lady Chatterley" (BBC, 1993) and as one of two sisters who murder their employers in the chilling "Sister My Sister" earned her critical raves. Within a year's time, she was back in America to play the adoptive mother of "101 Dalmatians" (1996) in Disney's live-action remake of their animated classic. However, the baffling science fiction thriller "Event Horizon" (1997) did little to sustain her stay in Hollywood, and she was soon back on television and in independent features like "Wrestling with Alligators" (1998) and "The Echo," playing a femme fatale opposite Clive Owen's gritty investigative reporter. Richardson was featured in the minor but significant role of David Duchovny's ill-fated wife in the well-liked romance "Return to Me" (2000) before gaining her widest exposure then to date as the sister-in-law who shelters the children of Mel Gibson's Revolutionary War hero in "The Patriot" (2000). A turn as Marie Antoinette opposite Hilary Swank in Charles Shyer's little-seen "The Affair of the Necklace" (2001) preceded an appearance on stage in England opposite her mother in a production of Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windermere's Fan" in 2002.

In 2003, Richardson joined the cast of Ryan Murphy's medical drama, "Nip/Tuck." As Julie McNamara, Richardson was put through some impressively sudsy paces - in addition to struggling with her faltering marriage to husband Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh), she dealt with a growing affection for his partner, the caddish Christian Troy (Julian McMahon); her monstrous mother Erica (Vanessa Redgrave); disfigurement due to a drunken fall through a glass door; a congenitally deformed child with Sean; and a lesbian relationship with Olivia Lord (Portia de Rossi) that nearly results in her death from poisoning by Olivia's daughter (AnnaLynne McCord). Her ability to weather such a perfect storm of horrific character arcs earned her Golden Globe nominations in 2004 and 2005, as well as three nods from the Satellite Awards in 2004 and 2005. Richardson shocked fans of the drama in 2006 when she revealed that she was departing the show to care for her teenaged daughter, who had been diagnosed with a rare medical condition that affected her circulation. However, the fourth season finale was quickly followed by news that the actress would return to the program in a limited capacity for Season five. In 2007, the network announced that Richardson would appear in over half of the 22 episodes slated for the fifth season.

Though "Nip/Tuck" demanded most of Richardson's attention, she remained active in other film and television projects on both sides of the Atlantic. She played Wallis Simpson, for whom Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England in "Wallis and Edward" (ITV, 2005), and starred opposite Timothy Hutton as the parents of children with newly found and remarkable powers in the underrated "The Last Mimzy" (2007). In 2009, she was announced as part of an all-star cast that included Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Priestley for a BBC adaptation of "The Day of the Triffids." That year, however, was marred by a skiing accident in Canada involving her sister Natasha in mid-March. Richardson rushed to join her mother and brother-in-law, Liam Neeson, in Manhattan after her sister was hospitalized following the accident. Reports varied in regard to her condition, which was listed by various sources as either brain swelling or brain death. Unfortunately, the latter proved to be true. On March 18, 2009, Natasha was taken off life support with Richardson, her mother, Neeson, Aunt Lynn and others by her side. A year later, Richardson lost her Uncle Corin Redgrave and Aunt Lynn Redgrave within less than a month of one another - the former of undisclosed causes after dying in London at age 70 on April 6, and the latter of breast cancer at age 67 on May 2. Despite the many personal loses over those two years, Richardson kept working through her grief. She was cast as Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII (John Rhys Meyers) on the fourth and final season of "The Tudors" (Showtime, 2007-2010). After portraying a young Queen Elizabeth I in the revisionist drama, "Anonymous" (2011), she joined the cast of David Fincher's acclaimed remake of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2011), based on the best-selling novel by Stieg Larsson.

Credits

Downton Abbey 3

Actor
Movie
2025

The GentlemenStream

Actor
Lady Sabrina
Series
2024
74%

The Last ExitStream

Actor
Mama
Movie
2023

The SandmanStream

Actor
Ethel Cripps
Series
2022
88%

SuspectStream

Actor
Jackie
Series
2022
67%

The Lost Girls

Actor
Jane
Movie
2022

Lady Chatterley's LoverStream

Actor
Mrs. Bolton
Movie
2022
86%

The TurningStream

Actor
Darla Mandell
Movie
2020
12%

My Dad's Christmas Date

Actor
Sarah
Movie
2020

The RookStream

Actor
Linda Viscountess Farrier
Series
2019
45%

The Rook: Extras

Actor
Linda Viscountess Farrier
Show
2019

Color Out of Space

Actor
Theresa Gardner
Movie
2019

TSvet iz inyh mirov

Actor
Movie
2019

Red SparrowStream

Actor
Nina Egorova
Movie
2018
44%

In Darkness

Actor
Alex
Movie
2018

Surviving Christmas With the Relatives

Actor
Lyla
Movie
2018

The Aspern Papers

Actor
Miss Tina
Movie
2018

The Aspern Papers

Executive Producer
Movie
2018

Emerald CityStream

Actor
Glinda
Series
2017
38%

The Time of Their Lives

Actor
Lucy
Movie
2017

The Hatton Garden Job

Actor
Erzebet Zslondos
Movie
2017

Sea Sorrow

Actor
Movie
2017

SnowdenStream

Actor
Janine Gibson
Movie
2016
61%

Fallen

Actor
Ms Sophia
Movie
2016

Maggie

Actor
Caroline
Movie
2015

The Messenger

Actor
Psychiatrist
Movie
2015

Papa

Actor
Mary Hemingway
Movie
2015

Endless LoveStream

Actor
Anne Butterfield
Movie
2014
16%

Vampire AcademyStream

Actor
Queen Tatiana
Movie
2014
17%

The BlacklistStream

Guest Star
Cassandra Bianchi
Series
2013
91%

The Devil's Violinist

Actor
Ethel Langham
Movie
2013

Shakespeare UncoveredStream

Host
Series
2012

Red LightsStream

Actor
Monica Hansen
Movie
2012
31%

Thanks for SharingStream

Actor
Katie
Movie
2012
51%

The Marilyn Denis Show

Guest
Show
2011

Anonymous

Actor
Young Queen Elizabeth I
Movie
2011

The Girl with the Dragon TattooStream

Actor
Anita Vanger
Movie
2011
86%

Lorraine

Guest
Show
2010

Day of the Triffids

Actor
Jo Playton
Show
2009

The TudorsStream

Actor
Catherine Parr
Series
2007
69%

The Last Mimzy

Actor
Jo Wilder
Movie
2007

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Actor
Susan McDowell
Movie
2007

Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America

Actor
Dr. Iris Varnack
Movie
2006

Wallis and Edward

Actor
Show
2005

Wallis & Edward

Actor
Wallis Simpson
Movie
2005

Lies My Mother Told Me

Actor
Laren Sims
Movie
2005

The Fever

Actor
Woman at 30
Movie
2004

Loch Ness

Actor
Show
2003

Nip/TuckStream

Actor
Julia McNamara
Series
2003
74%

Shoreditch

Actor
Butterfly
Movie
2003

Fallen AngelStream

Actor
Katherine Wentworth
Movie
2003

Loose Women

Guest
Show
2002

The Affair of the Necklace

Actor
Marie Antoinette
Movie
2001

Return to MeStream

Actor
Elizabeth Rueland
Movie
2000
62%

The PatriotStream

Actor
Charlotte Selton
Movie
2000
62%

Maybe Baby

Actor
Lucy Bell
Movie
2000

Wrestling With Alligators

Actor
Claire
Movie
1998

Under Heaven

Actor
Eleanor Dunston
Movie
1998

The Echo

Actor
Amanda Powell
Movie
1998

The Tribe

Actor
Emily
Movie
1998

Event HorizonStream

Actor
Lt. Starck
Movie
1997
34%

Theater Talk

Guest
Show
1996

Le Monde merveilleux de Disney

Actor
Show
1996

Hollow Reed

Actor
Hannah Wyatt
Movie
1996

Loch NessStream

Actor
Laura
Movie
1996

101 DalmatiansStream

Actor
Anita Darling
Movie
1996
41%

Entertainers: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1994

I'll Do Anything

Actor
Cathy Breslow
Movie
1994

Sister My Sister

Actor
Christine Papin
Movie
1994

Lady Chatterley

Actor
Lady Chatterley
Show
1993

Lady Chatterley

Actor
Lady Chatterley
Show
1993

Luchando por Sus Creencias

Actor
Movie
1992

Shining ThroughStream

Actor
Margrete Von Eberstein
Movie
1992
41%

Rebecca's Daughters

Actor
Rhiannon
Movie
1992

King Ralph

Actor
Princess Anna
Movie
1991

Heading Home

Actor
Janetta Wheatland
Movie
1991

Behaving Badly

Actor
Serafina
Show
1989

Agatha Christie's PoirotStream

Actor
Joanna Farley
Series
1989

Agatha Christie's PoirotStream

Guest Star
Joanna Farley
Series
1989

Body Contact

Actor
Dominique
Movie
1989

This Morning

Guest
Show
1988

Drowning by NumbersStream

Actor
Cissie Colpitts 3
Movie
1988
88%

Wetherby

Actor
Young Jean Travers
Movie
1985

News aboutJoely Richardson

Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery in the 'Downton Abbey' movie

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Joely Richardson, Louisa Harland, and Alcie Kremelberg 'Renegade Nell' TV Insider interview
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Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in 'One Day'

‘One Day’: Leo Woodall & Ambika Mod Are Fated Loves in First Look (PHOTOS)

Joely Richardson as Cassandra Bianchi in The Blacklist
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‘The Blacklist’: First Look at Joely Richardson’s Return as Cassandra Bianchi (PHOTOS)

James Nesbitt, Joely Richardson, Richard E. Grant

James Nesbitt, Joely Richardson, Richard E. Grant to Star in Crime Thriller ‘Suspect’

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Joely Richardson’s ‘Blacklist’ Episode Is Agatha Christie Meets Indiana Jones

The Blacklist - Season 7 Episode 12 - Joely Richardson

Joely Richardson Guest Stars When ‘The Blacklist’ Returns (PHOTOS)

the-rook-starz-preview
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On Set With ‘The Rook’ Cast: Details on the New Supernatural Spy Drama (VIDEO)

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Joely Richardson attends the premiere of 'Maggie' during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Joely Richardson to Join the Cast of NBC’s ‘Emerald City’