Richard E Grant heartbroken at the death of his wife, Joan Washington

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Richard E Grant and Joan WashingtonImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Richard E Grant and Joan Washington had a 35-year marriage

Oscar-nominated actor Richard E Grant has said his heart is broken after the loss of his wife, Joan Washington, a dialect coach on films including The Witches and Red Sparrow.

He tweeted a film of them dancing, calling her the "love of my life and giver of life to our daughter Olivia".

Washington worked on Oscar-winning film Elizabeth and with Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman on The Phantom Menace.

Jessica Chastain was among the famous names paying tribute.

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Chastain said Washington had a "profound impact on me", having worked with her on a number of projects including the 2016 film Crimson Peak.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Washington worked on an impressively long catalogue of films, with 118 credits on the Internet Movie Database, including the Oscar-winning film 1983 Yentl, starring Barbra Streisand, and 1984's The Bounty, starring Anthony Hopkins.

She also worked with Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Vanessa Redgrave, Ralph Feinnes, Brendon Gleeson and Emma Stone.

Grant's tweet received condolences from many other famous names, including Nigella Lawson, David Morrissey, David Baddiel, Sarah Millican, Rebecca Front, Joanne Harris and JoJo Moyes, who all expressed their sadness for his loss.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Actor Morrissey described Washington as being "so kind and wonderful to me", adding: "She encouraged me and we had some great laughs together."

Comic and writer Dawn French said: "Joan Washington will ALWAYS be remembered by those of us who knew her and were taught by her, as a PHENOMENAL WOMAN. So much love to Richard E Grant and all the family."

Actor Jason Watkins, who recently played Harold Wilson in The Crown, also paid tribute, saying: "I owe her everything."

He added: "The incomparable Joan Washington has died. Joan taught me dialects and accents when I trained at Rada and beyond.

"I have made my career using accents and dialects. Such a terrible loss to Richard E Grant and us all. Rest in peace."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
They met in 1982 when Washington taught Swaziland-born Grant British dialects

Comedian and actor Chris Addison also worked with Washington. "What a huge loss to the world," he said. "The wonderful Joan Washington has left us. She lit up many a film set and many a life.

"Urbane, funny, unflappable, deeply knowledgeable and wildly talented. The secret sauce in a million performances."

Singer Elaine Paige said the news was "heartbreaking", and that "she was special both as a teacher and as a friend. Never to be forgotten"

Actress Emily Mortimer replied to Grant's post on Instagram, saying: "Joan was incredible. One of the world's great teachers. It was a privilege to know her and have been in her orbit. And your guys' love story is just an inspiration ❤️"

Mad Max and The Favourite actor Nicholas Hoult added: "I can never thank her enough for all her kindness, the lessons she taught me and the memories I'll cherish."

Fearne Cotton also expressed her sadness, along with actors David Thewlis and James D'Arcy.

'Fairly frenetic'

Grant, who recently appeared in Disney+'s Loki TV series, was Oscar-nominated in 2019 for the film Can You Ever Forgive Me? He met Aberdeen-born Washington in 1982 after she worked with him on a series of regional British dialects.

In a joint interview with the Independent in 2011, Grant recalled their first meeting, saying: "I met her at the Actors' Centre in London. She was wearing a boiler suit and had fairly short, cropped hair and Kicker shoes, and was chain-smoking, which I thought was insane.

"She was teaching an accent session with a bunch of actors, and I thought she had the most wonderful voice and huge, sort of monkey eyes. She seemed fairly frenetic. I thought that she was really cute and all that."

The actor also has a stepson, Tom, who is Washington's son from a previous marriage.

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