Joan Washington: who was Richard E Grant’s wife, and what films did she work on as a dialogue coach?


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Washington, originally from Aberdeen, has died at the age of 71

British acting legend Richard E. Grant has paid tribute to his wife of 35 years, Joan Washington, as he confirmed she has passed away.

The 64-year-old actor posted a video of the couple dancing to Yazoo’s ‘Only You’, as he shared the sad news that she died last night (2 September).

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Washington was 71 years old and had spent over half her life as Grant’s soulmate, they began dating in 1983.

So, who was Washington and how did she meet Richard? This is what you need to know.

Who was Joan Washington?

Washington was born in Aberdeen and was educated at Aberdeen High School for Girls, now named Harlaw Academy.

At the age of 18, she moved to London where she attended the Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating as a voice teacher.

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She had a hugely successful career, working with stars such as Barbra Streisand and Anne Hathaway.

In the 1980s, projects she worked on included Yentl starring Barbra Streisand, Highlander, and The Bounty, featuring Mel Gibson and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Her work involved teaching actors how to perfect dialect and accents.

In 2019, she worked on the remake of Roald Dahl’s novel, The Witches (2020), supporting Hathaway in her role as the grand high witch.

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How did Richard and Joan meet?

She met Grant at an actors’ studio in December 1982, when she was teaching an accent session. They began dating in 1983.

Washington already had son Tom from a previous relationship and during the early years of their relationship she told Grant “Fatherhood suits you, you’re very good at it.”

They married in 1986 and enjoyed 35 years as husband and wife.

Richard and Joan both spoke openly about the heartbreak they suffered after their first child together, Tiffany, died just minutes after birth.

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The couple also experienced three miscarriages in attempts to have a child together.

In 1989, their wishes came true when they welcomed a daughter, Olivia, who Grant has since described as their ‘miracle baby’.

AFP via Getty Images

Grant’s love for Washington remains apparent in his post to Twitter today (3 September), in which he described his wife as the “Love of my Life & Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia.”

What did Grant say about Joan?

Sharing the news that his wife has died, Grant wrote on Twitter: “Our hearts are broken with the loss of your Life last night. 35 years married & 38 together.

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

The sweet comments were accompanied by a video of the pair dancing in their kitchen last year, ‘Only You’ can be heard playing in the background.

Joining Grant in paying tribute to his wife, actress and comedian Dawn French wrote: “Joan Washington will ALWAYS be remembered by those of us who knew her & were taught by her, as a PHENOMENAL WOMAN. So much love to @RichardEGrant & all the family.”

American actress Jessica Chastain also paid tribute, writing: “My heart is broken Broken heart.

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“Joan Washington had such a profound impact on me, yes as an artist, but mostly as a woman. I’ve looked toward her. Her strive towards excellence made her the celebrated dialect coach she was.”

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