The film Shine portrayed the life of a brilliant pianist

Lynn Redgrave consulted the Astrology Shop to research her role as his wife, an astrologer

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Shine - the Movie (1996)

The life of brilliant, but mentally challenged musician David Helfgott and his wife, astrologer Gillian Helfgott featured in a wonderful academy award-winning film, Shine (1996).

Lynn Redgrave's research for her role

In the mid 1990s I was running the Astrology Shop in Central London. It was a hectic morning in our Covent Garden emporium with a hive of customers and telephones ringing. I told my team not to disturb me with any calls or customers. I would come to regret this decision. As I burrowed down to some undisturbed software programming, the the actress, Lynn Redgrave (b.8 March 1943 – d.2 May 2010) turned up in the shop with some important questions. One of the astrologers, Antony Wilson on the front desk at the shop was happy to field her enquiry.

Lynn Redgrave was about to start filming in a new film entitled Shine. She was cast to play, Gillian Helfgott, the second wife of Australian concert pianist, David Helfgott. Gillian also happened to be an astrologer. Well, Antony's advice on the role appeared to help, as Lynn Redgrave made an excellent stargazer in the film.

Shine on you crazy diamond!

In May 1997, I saw David play at the Festival Hall in London. He is a natural performer. And it is upsetting to hear some music critics (in the UK and USA) disapprove of the technical quality of his work. Surely great music is in the interpretation and the performance? Otherwise you might as well get a robot to perform. You have to wonder whether some harsh critics are those who were never quite good enough to make the big time. So it is follows that they are merciless when they come across their equal who has made it.

Award Winning Cast

Besides, Lynn Redgrave, Geoffrey Rush (b. 6 July 1951) starred as David Helfgott. Rush won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Actor in 1997. The cast also included Armin Müller-Stahl, Noah Taylor, Sir John Gielgud, Googie Withers, Justin Braine, Sonia Todd, Nicholas Bell, Chris Haywood and Alex Rafalowicz. The screenplay was written by Jan Sardi, and directed by Scott Hicks.

"A period of frequent hospitalization followed during the 1970s, but by 1976 David had moved to a halfway house where he stayed for six years. The greatest crisis for David had been the loss of his inner music, but he remembers the day the music came back: “The fog lifted, I could hear again … I survived."

David was brought back to the public’s attention by Dr Chris Reynolds, who owned Riccardo’s wine bar in Perth, where David performed on Saturday nights. It was there he meet his future wife, Gillian, who, with the support of promoter Mike Parry, helped David gradually resume his concert career with concert performances in Perth and a sell-out tour of Australia’s eastern states in 1986. This was followed by a trip to Europe, with recitals in Germany and Denmark.
" ~ The Story of David Helfgott at

Article by Robert Currey
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