Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > Joan Washington (1946–2021), Hollywood dialect coach

Joan Washington (1946–2021), Hollywood dialect coach

by Linnea Crowther

Joan Washington was a dialect coach who worked with stars including Penelope Cruz and Jessica Chastain.

Creating authentic accents

Washington found her way to working with actors after teaching standard British pronunciation to newcomers to England. When she began working in movies, her first was “Yentl” (1983), starring Barbra Streisand as an Ashkenazi Jewish woman in Poland; Washington taught the movie’s stars an authentic accent. She did the same for actors who needed to transform to a wide variety of accents from all across the world. Washington taught Emma Stone a British accent for “The Favourite” (2018) and Penelope Cruz to speak like a native of the Greek island of Cephalonia for “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (2001). She worked with Jessica Chastain on “The Debt” (2010) and with Thandie Newton on “W.” (2008), in addition to many other movies and stage productions. Washington was the wife of actor Richard E. Grant.

Tributes to Joan Washington

Full obituary: The New York Times


View More Legacy Videos

More Stories