Cecil Antonio ‘Tony’ Richardson, an English theatrical and cinema director, and producer whose career spanned five decades was born on June 5, 1928. For the film Tom Jones, he won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1964.
Richardson was born in 1928 in Shipley, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Elsie Evans (Campion) and chemist Clarence Albert Richardson. He attended Wadham College, University of Oxford, and was Head Boy at Ashville College, Harrogate. Rupert Murdoch, Margaret Thatcher, Kenneth Tynan, Lindsay Anderson, and Gavin Lambert were among his Oxford classmates.
He has the rare distinction of serving as President of both the Oxford Campus Dramatic Society and the Experimental Theatre Club (the ETC), as well as the theatre critic for the university journal Isis. Shirley Williams (as Cordelia), John Schlesinger, Nigel Davenport, and Robert Robinson were among those he cast in his student performances.
Richardson made his directorial debut in 1955, producing Jean Giraudoux’s The Apollo of Bellac for television, starring Denholm Elliott and Natasha Parry. He became involved in Britain’s Free Cinema movement about the same time, co-directing the non-fiction short Momma Don’t Allow (also 1955) with Karel Reisz.
From 1962 to 1967, Richardson was married to Vanessa Redgrave, an English actress. He left Redgrave for French actress and singer Jeanne Moreau after the couple had two children, Natasha (1963–2009) and Joely Richardson (born 1965).
Tom Jones is a 1963 British comedy film starring Albert Finney as the main figure, based on Henry Fielding’s classic 1749 novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling.
Both critically and commercially, Tom Jones was a hit. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning four: Best Picture, Best Director for Richardson, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score at the 36th Academy Awards.
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