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Richard E Grant's wife of 35 years dies aged 71

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Richard E Grant's wife of 35 years dies aged 71

Richard E Grant has said his heart is broken following the death of his wife of 35 years on Thursday night. 

The actor, best known for films including Withnail And I and Can you Ever Forgive Me?, said that Joan Washington, a voice coach, had died at the age of 71. 

He did not give a cause of death.

Grant, 64, shared a video of them dancing together on his social media accounts, where he wrote: "ONLY YOU! Joan - Love of my Life & Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia.

"Our hearts are broken with the loss of your Life last night. 35 years married & 38 together.

"To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us, sweet Monkee-mine."

The pair met at an accent training session at the Actors’ Centre in London, where Grant recalled that Washington had the "most wonderful voice and huge, sort of monkey eyes".

In a joint interview with the Independent in 2011, he said: "She was wearing a boiler suit and had fairly short, cropped hair and Kicker shoes, and was chain-smoking, which I thought was insane."

"I thought that she was really cute and all that. It was December 1982," he added.

Richard E. Grant et al. posing for the camera: Richard E. Grant attending the 72nd British Academy Film Awards with his wife Joan and daughter Olivia - Ian West/PA

© Ian West/PA Richard E. Grant attending the 72nd British Academy Film Awards with his wife Joan and daughter Olivia - Ian West/PA

They married in 1986 and share a daughter, Olivia, and a stepson, Tom, from Washington’s previous relationship.

Washington, from Aberdeen, had nearly 40 years of experience in the film industry as a voice and dialect coach, working with stars including Anne Hathaway, Vannessa Redgrave and Emma Stone.

Among her early projects in the mid-80s were Yentl starring Barbra Streisand, Highlander, and The Bounty, featuring Mel Gibson and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Recent years saw her work on features such as The Witches, where she coached Hathaway for the part of the Grand High Witch, and Yorgos Lanthimos' black comedy The Favourite, where she worked with Stone.

Grant’s social media posts prompted condolences and messages of support from his followers.

Comedians Sarah Millican, Dawn French and David Baddiel were among those sending messages of support, along with actress Eva Pope.

Pope, who appeared in Coronation Street, wrote: "Oh my heart aches for you....deep condolences Richard. She taught me in that very house."

Musical theatre star Elaine Paige said: "It's heartbreaking to hear of Joan Washington's passing She was special both as a teacher & as a friend. Never to be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to Richard & all the family."

TV cook and cookbook writer Nigella Lawson said: "What a wonderful woman Joan Washington was. And how devastating to have to say 'was'. My heart's broken for @RichardEGrant and @OliviaGranted. May her memory be a blessing."

The Crown's Jason Watkins described Washington as "incomparable" and recalled receiving lessons from her as a young actor.

"Joan taught me dialects and accents when I trained at @Rada and beyond," he said.

"I have made my career using accents and dialects. I owe her everything. Such a terrible loss to @RichardEGrant and us all. Rest in Peace." 

Reference: The Telegraph: India McTaggart  

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