Joyce Redman, the Anglo-Irish actress who brought a mischievous sparkle to the most suggestive scene ever filmed at a dining table -- the unforgettable display of gluttony and lust in the 1963 movie "Tom Jones," died Thursday in Kent, England. She was 96.
Her son, actor Crispin Redman, announced the death and said his mother had pneumonia.
In a career spanning eight decades, Ms. Redman was a stalwart of the British theater. She appeared in productions at the Old Vic, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and the National Theatre, and opposite actors such as Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.
Ms. Redman was 5 feet tall, but in performance conveyed an intensity and authority that belied her diminutive stature. As Anne Boleyn in a 1949 Broadway production of "Anne of the Thousand Days," Ms. Redman "scorches the pages" of the Maxwell Anderson drama "to the point where the play is not a good fire insurance risk," wrote New York Times theater critic Brooks Atkinson.
Her Lady Macbeth in a 1949 TV production of Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth" was "considerably more seductive and rather less ferocious" than New York Herald Tribune television critic John Crosby recalled from school days.
She earned an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role as the sexually ravenous Mrs. Waters in "Tom Jones," director Tony Richardson's bawdy version of the Henry Fielding novel. The film, which starred Albert Finney as a dashing rake, won Oscars for best picture, director, screenplay and score.
Joyce Redman was born Dec. 9, 1915, and grew up in County Mayo, Ireland.
First Published May 13, 2012 12:00 AM