Joely Kim Richardson (born 9 January 1965) is an English actress, known for her role as Julia McNamara in the television drama Nip/Tuck.
Richardson was born in London to a theatrical family, the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and late director Tony Richardson, the granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, Lady Redgrave. Her sister is the late actress Natasha Richardson, and through her, she was the sister-in-law of actor Liam Neeson. She is the niece of Lynn Redgrave and Corin Redgrave and cousin of actress Jemma Redgrave, who is just six days younger than Richardson. Joely Richardson appeared as an extra at the age of three in the 1968 version of The Charge of the Light Brigade directed by her father.
Richardson and her sister Natasha's early education began in London at the independent St Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, London . At age 14, on a tennis scholarship, Richardson moved to boarding school at the independent Harry Hopman Tennis School in Tampa, Florida. In 1983, she graduated from the The Thacher School in Ojai, California, then returned to London to study at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
A year later, she appeared in Shining Through alongside her future brother-in-law Liam Neeson, where both played characters who were Nazis.
In 1993, Richardson appeared as Lady Chatterley opposite Sean Bean in a television drama of the same title. In 1996, she played fashion designer Anita Campbell-Green in the Disney live-action remake of the animated 101 Dalmatians opposite Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. In 1998, in the popular television drama The Echo, she played sultry Amanda Powell. The next year, she played in the sci-fi/horror movie Event Horizon as Lieutenant Starck, executive officer of the research and rescue ship Lewis and Clark, sent to rescue crew of the long-thought-lost experimental ship Event Horizon.
One year later, Richardson played opposite Mel Gibson in the film The Patriot, an American film based on the American Revolution. Later that year, she was modelling a necklace, when director Charles Shyer noticed her resemblance to doomed 18th-century French Queen Marie Antoinette. Thus, she secured the role of that queen in the 2001 film The Affair of the Necklace. Also in 2000, she played opposite Hugh Laurie in Maybe Baby, Ben Elton's movie adaptation of his book Inconceivable.
In 2003, Richardson took on the role of Julia McNamara in the television drama Nip/Tuck, based on the lives of two dysfunctional plastic surgeons in Miami. Her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, has appeared in several episodes, playing her character's mother. In November 2006, it was announced that Richardson would be leaving Nip/Tuck to take care of her sick daughter. Her last appearance was on the November 14 episode, although creator/writer Ryan Murphy wrote alternate season finale episodes, in case Richardson decided to return. Soon after the season finale, it was announced that Richardson would return for the fifth season of Nip/Tuck, though her role may be limited. In June 2007 it was announced that she would return for 15 of the 22 episodes during the fifth season.
In 2005, Richardson starred in Lies My Mother Told Me, based on a true story about a murderous con artist. In 2007, she played the mother in The Last Mimzy with Timothy Hutton, Chris O'Neil. She also starred in the television drama "Wallis & Edward", playing the lead role of Wallis Simpson, lover of Edward, Prince of Wales.
On the 23rd of July 2009 it was announced that Richardson had been cast as Queen Katherine Parr in the fourth and final series of Showtimes hit period drama The Tudors. The role would reunite her with her ex husband Tim Bevan who is part of the shows production team. It was further reported that Gillian Anderson had been the producers number one choice for the role but that her difficult working behaviour led to a rethink. Other actresses linked with the role included Keira Knightly and Kate Winslet.
Her sister, actress Natasha Richardson, died on 18 March 2009 at age 45 of traumatic brain injury after a skiing accident in Quebec, Canada.
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