Natasha Richardson dies in hospital

Published March 19, 2009

The British stage and screen actress Natasha Richardson has died in hospital in New York following a fall whilst holidaying at a ski resort in Canada.

Richardson, 45, was having a ski lesson on a beginner’s slope with her sons Micheál, 13 and Daniel, 12 at the Mont Tremblant resort near Montreal, Canada, when she fell. According to reports, the actress initially seemed unharmed and it was only hours later, after complaining of a headache, that she was taken to hospital nearby.

On Tuesday the actress was transferred to a hospital in New York where she lived with her husband, the actor Liam Neeson, and their sons.

Born in London in 1963, Richardson was part of the Redgrave acting dynasty which includes her parents, Vanessa Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson, and grandparents Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. She was the niece of Lynn Redgrave and Corin Redgrave and sister to Joely Richardson.

Though much of her career was spent Stateside, Richardson trained in London at the Central School of Speech and Drama and went on to make her name on the London stage in productions including Three Sisters, On The Razzle, Charley’s Aunt, The Seagull, and High Society. More recently, she appeared in The Lady From The Sea at the Almeida theatre in 2003.

Almeida Artistic Director Michael Attenborough said: “Natasha was a beautiful human being in every conceivable way; gracious of manner, witty and sharp of mind, sunny in disposition and stunning in appearance. She was completely her own woman, brave, determined and totally committed to her two major loves – her family and her work. Typical of her courage was her eagerness to take on the role of Ellida here in Ibsen’s The Lady From The Sea, a part her mother had previously made her own in a legendary performance. I cannot think of anyone finer than her to have played the leading role in my first production at the Almeida.”

On Broadway Richardson starred alongside her future husband Neeson in Anna Christie, after playing the role at London’s Young Vic. In 1998 she appeared in the Broadway transfer of Sam Mendes’s Donmar Warehouse production of Cabaret, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress. She went on to star in Closer in 1999 and as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire in 2005.

Richardson also enjoyed a successful film career, with credits including Patty Hearst, The Comfort Of Strangers, Nell – again with Neeson – Maid In Manhattan, The Parent Trap and Wild Child.

CB