Richard E Grant was seen holding back tears during the 2023 Bafta awards as he continues to mourn the death of his wife Joan Washington.
The actor and host of the ceremony gave an emotional speech during the In Memoriam section of the Baftas on Sunday 19 February. The segment is designed to honour those in the film industry that have recently died and typically features images and video clips of the recently departed individuals.
Introducing the In Memoriam segment during the awards show at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Grant said: “Let’s take this opportunity to pay tribute to those members of the film community that were sadly lost over the past 12 months.”
Grant then paused for a moment during the speech and blinked back tears, before adding: “Their impacts live on in film. Let’s take a moment to remember them now.”
Grant lost his wife Joan Washington in September 2021 and has since admitted to being in a “well of grief” after her death.
Who was Joan Washington?
Joan Washington was an acclaimed dialect coach whose career spanned a total of four decades.
She worked alongside a number of well known film stars throughout her life such as Penelope Cruz in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Jessica Chastain in The Debt (2010) and Kate Beckinsale in Emma (1996).
Washington first met Grant in 1982 when she taught at an acting school. The pair married four years later in 1986.
The couple had their first child Olivia in 1989 and Grant is also stepdad to Washington’s son Tom from a previous relationship.
Washington remained married to Grant until her death in September 2021.
When did Joan Washington die?
Washington died on 2 September 2021 at the age of 71 following an eight-month long battle with lung cancer. She was first diagnosed in December 2020, just two days before Christmas.
Grant shared the news of her death on Twitter on 3 September 2021 by posting a video of the pair of them dancing in their home to Only You by The Platters.
He wrote at the time: “ONLY YOU! Joan - Love of my Life and Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia. Our hearts are broken with the loss of your Life last night. 35 years married and 38 together. To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us, sweet Monkee-mine.”
Touching on her death in his memoir, A Pocketful of Happiness, Grant shared that the morning of Washington’s death, he had been warned by doctors that she might pass that evening. He said that he sat stroking her hand and “talking softly about some of the daft things we’ve done”.
He wrote: “At 7pm, her breathing slows quite suddenly. Keep repeating: “It’s all okay, my angel. Don’t hold on. We all love you so. So, so much.” After each intake of breath, the gap until the next inhalation gets longer. At 7:25, I thought that her hand felt like it was cooling in mine.”