The Hollywood romance between actors Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson was one for the record books. The tall Irish actor and the stunning woman with acting in her blood had met and married and showed no signs of ever parting. Now that romance has ended in tragedy.
45-year-old Richardson suffered a head injury when she fell on a beginner’s ski trail at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec on Monday. She was removed from life support on Wednesday after being declared brain dead. Liam Neeson’s publicist released this statement:
“Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”
The shocking thing about the accident was the fact that despite initial reports, Richardson showed no signs of visible injury after her fall. Her ski instructor called the ski patrol, who brought Richardson down the mountain and told her she should see a doctor. Richardson was with her and Neeson’s two sons Michael, 13, and Daniel, 12, and returned to her hotel room of her own accord.
An hour later, Richardson fell ill with headaches, but was conscious when transferred to the hospital in Quebec. Neeson left his film set in Toronto to be by her side as soon as he heard about the accident.
The Richardson sisters and their mother Vanessa Redgrave have always been actresses I watched ever since I first saw Redgrave in Camelot as a child. From that point on, I was entranced. Natasha Richardson was never a powerhouse like her mother, nor was she as visible as sister Joely Richardson, but she definitely made an impact on both younger and older generations.
Adults knew her for her performances in Patty Hearst (1988) and her Tony Award-winning performance in the revival of Cabaret (1998). Children and teenagers knew her as the loving, poised mother to a young Lindsey Lohan in the wildly popular remake of The Parent Trap (1998).
It would be accurate to say that Richardson was a member of acting royalty. Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Richardson were well established in Hollywood and in London at the time of her birth. Richardson’s grandfather was Michael Redgrave, an Oscar nominee. I never got the opportunity to see Richardson star in her numerous plays (“A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Closer”), but reviews of her performances always praised her for her poise and presence.
Richardson met Liam Neeson when they appeared on Broadway together in 1993, co-starring in Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie. She married Neeson in 1994 and also starred with him in the film Nell.
Though utterly tragic, people can be somewhat consoled by a quote from Richardson herself after her husband’s own serious injury in 2000. She told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, “I wake up every morning feeling lucky – which is driven by fear, no doubt, since I know it could all go away.”
Natasha Richardson Dies at 45 After Ski Accident, MSN.com
Joel Ryan and Ted Casablanca, Natasha Richardson Dead at 45, E!Online