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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Actor Richard E Grant reveals late wife Joan had lung cancer


By Jennifer McShane
11th Sep 2021
Actor Richard E Grant reveals late wife Joan had lung cancer

The couple were married for 35 years.

The actor, known for films including Withnail And I and Can You Ever Forgive Me? said his heart is broken following the death of his wife of 35 years.

His wife, Joan Washington, a voice coach, passed away last week and he revealed she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer eight months before her death.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he described the impact of losing his wife and their almost four decades together, which he called “the ride of my lifetime”.

“Since her stage four lung cancer diagnosis two days before Christmas, she was accepting, clear-sighted, sanguine and totally without self-pity,” Grant wrote.

“The oncology team at the Royal Marsden hospital, NHS nurses, Price’s Mill Surgery and Longfield palliative carers have been beyond exemplary.”

“It’s been my privilege to be by your side, sharing our last eight months together, enabling us to say everything we possibly wanted and needed to, so that when you asked Olivia and me two weeks ago ‘to let me go’, we unequivocally said ‘yes’.

Sharing a video of them dancing together to the song Only You by the Platters on Twitter, he wrote: “ONLY YOU! Joan – Love of my Life & Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia.”

“Olivia and I are profoundly grateful for everything that you’ve gifted us with, and we’re relieved that you no longer have to struggle for breath.”

HAe also said the love of his wife was “immeasurable”, and her loss “incalculable”.

“It’s an extraordinary phenomenon to be truly ‘seen’ and ‘known’ by another human, and in Joan, I found someone who innately did both,” he continued.

“The depth of our grief is mirrored by the magnitude of our love. Goodbye Monkee-mine. Do not forget us.”

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

She worked on a number of film projects including the Oscar-winning film Elizabeth and with Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman on The Phantom Menace. She most recently worked on The Witches.


Jessica Chastain was among those also paying tribute to her, saying Washington had a “profound impact on me.”