Richard E. Grant has revealed that his late wife Joan Washington was diagnosed with lung cancer prior to her death.
The actor, best known for his roles in Withnail And I and more recently Marvel series Loki, revealed in a social media post earlier this month that Washington, a voice coach, had died aged 71 on September 2. A cause of death at the time was not given.
Now, writing in the Daily Mail, the Oscar nominee revealed that his wife – who he married in 1986 and shares a daughter, Olivia, with, as well as a stepson, Tom, from Washington’s previous relationship – was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer diagnosis just before Christmas 2020.
“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.”
He continued: “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’.
“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.”
35 years ago we pledged ‘In Sickness and in Health’. That Time has come for us today, as @OliviaGranted & I and our friends gather for the funeral of my beloved wife, Joan. The depth of our sorrow mirrored by the magnitude of our love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️💔💔💔❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/3kmX5mujwg
— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) September 9, 2021
Discussing the impact Washington had on his life, Grant said the love of his wife was “immeasurable”, 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 wrote.
“The depth of our grief is mirrored by the magnitude of our love.
“Do not forget us.”
Elsewhere, he recalled the time Prince Charles visited Washington, who he nicknamed “the Colonel”, shortly before she died.
“Prince Charles came to see ‘the Colonel’ last month, sat beside her, took her hand and said: ‘It’s been an absolute honour to have known you, Joan’ to which she instantly quipped: ‘I’m still here.’ Which broke the ice and made all three of us cackle,” Grant wrote.
Washington trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and had nearly 40 years experience working in the film industry as a voice and dialect coach. Some of the people she worked with included Anne Hathaway (The Witches) and Emma Stone (The Favourite).