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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

In Memoriam: Natasha Richardson

Published: March 20, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

Natasha Richardson, the glamorous star of stage and screen and the third generation of the Redgrave acting dynasty, died Wednesday night at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York after head injuries she suffered in a ski accident in Montreal on Monday. She was 45.

In a statement released by a family spokesman, “Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the 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 statement did not provide details relating to Ms. Richardson’s condition after the accident or her cause of death.

Either because of or in spite of having been born into the Redgrave dynasty, the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and the granddaughter of director Michael Redgrave, Ms. Richardson always knew she wanted to be an actress. Her beauty and talent lead her into many of the greatest roles of stage and screen in a Tony Award winning career. Her film credits include 1988’s Patty Hearst, a role for which she wanted to enter so fully into the role that she wore a blindfold even when filming was not in progress so that she could understand the fear of Ms. Hearst. Other film roles include the remake of “The Parent Trap” and “Evening”. Ms. Richardson found her biggest success, though, on the stage. An early production in her career, a 1985 touring production of “The Seagull”, proved to be her most challenging as, when the production landed in London, she played Nina opposite her mother as Arkadina. On Broadway, she played the title character in a 1993 production of “Anna Christie” – a production which not only garnered her first Tony nomination but also introduced her to her husband, Liam Neeson, who, according to rumor, began courting her over the course of the production. Her greatest stage role was as Sally Bowles in the Roundabout Theater Company’s 1998 revial of “Cabaret” in a performance that won her the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award.

Ms. Richardson is survived by her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, her husband, Liam Neeson, two sons, Daniel and Michael, her aunt, Lynn Redgrave, a sister, Joely Richardson, a half sister, Katherine Grimond, and a half brother, Carlo Sparanero.