Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson (1963-2009)

The family of actress Natasha Richardson (The White Countess) officially released the news earlier today. She was declared dead today at the age of 45. What seemed like a minor skiing accident on a practice trail in Quebec (she reportedly walked away from the fall, laughing) quickly morphed into a life ending tragedy. Head trauma and brain injuries are mysterious things and difficult to predict (here's an article with a neurologist theorizing on the matter).


This is a loss to everyone who enjoyed her work and of course especially tragic for her family, one of the most important film and stage families of the past century. Natasha's father, Oscar winning director Tony Richardson (Tom Jones) passed away in 1991 but her mother, the legendary Vanessa Redgrave is still vital and working. Natasha performed with Vanessa just two months ago here in New York City as mother in daughter in Stephen Sondheim's classic A Little Night Music. That will be an even more cherished memory now to any fans who attended. They also shared acting duties in Natasha's last film to be released in the US, Evening (2007). And in The White Countess (2005) she shared the screen impressively with both mother and aunt, Lynn Redgrave, a great rental choice should you want to enjoy her gift soon in this sad time. Natasha only shared the screen with her sister Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck) once. They were both little children when they appeared (uncredited) in their dad's film The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968).

Natasha is survived by her two sons and her husband Liam Neeson. The couple met on the set of a TV miniseries in 1984 and began dating while sharing the stage in Broadway's Anna Christie in the early 90s. They were married in 1994 just months before their only feature film together, Nell (pictured left) was released.

6 of the best online tributes
Alan Cumming "Tasha"
Nicks Flick Picks "Wasn't She Lovely?"
Some Came Running "uncommon beauty, intelligence and grace"
Stephanie Zacharek @ Salon "too good, and too unusual, for Hollywood to reckon with"
EW her key roles
Jew Eat Yet on the Redgrave acting dynasty

Finally, here is a look at Natasha in her TONY winning Cabaret performance in the amazing Broadway revival. She's doing one of the all time great show tunes... "Maybe This Time"




With talent like that, we all won for a time.

I haven't written about the Richardson/Redgrave/Neeson family as much as I probably should have given their plentiful contributions to the screen but I hope to do more retrospectives in the future. A look back at Schindler's List was already in the works (soon) and Liam was featured in one of this site's most popular pieces, 40 Favorite Actors of the Aughts published in early 2006. Retrospectives of the entire decade's best work and films begin this fall.
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26 comments:

Leehee said...

I am absoluely devastated by these news. Hoped it wouldn't be but knew it probably would end this way...What a truly lovely woman and actress.

RIP Natasha.

lawyer tony fernando said...

R.I.P. - I always read that in many books and news, but to be honest, it´s now that I realize what it means, Rest In Peace. In Brazil we say, Descanse em paz! I don´t know how people say in another languages, but if there is a thing that is universal is our mourning and our prayers for her soul and her family.

God Bless them all!

So sad to know this, I trully loved her work in Parent Trap and Evening, her funny bitch in Maid In Manhathan and I got to see The White Countess. I always wanted, now more than never!

And if I could ask God about her, dear God, take a good care of her mother, I´m seeing my grandmother decay in front of everyones eyes since my uncle´s death!

NAT, Thank u for keeping this soft spot where we can prestige this great artist!

john goodwyn said...

I'm send my prayers to the family of such a beautiful and talented actress. may god bless. love john
folsom, ca.

John T said...

RIP to this great actress, and to this family. We have been truly blessed by Natasha Richardson and all of the Redgraves, the true First Family of the Cinema.

Fernando Moss said...

R.I.P.

So very very sad news... I absolutely LOVED her in The White Countess and in The Comfort of Strangers...

My deepest thoughts to Liam Neeson and de Richardson-Redgrave's.

filomeno2006 said...

R.I.P.

vince said...

R.I.P.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

R.I.P

Nothing more I can say.

Julia said...

This is just such a horrible story. I can't even imagine the shock and sadness all those who loved her must be going through. May she rest in peace and may her family find some solace and comfort in the days ahead.

jessica said...

...

Cristhian said...

Such an underused talent she was. Elegance is the word that comes to mind when I think of her. How incredibly devastating. RIP, gorgeous.

Drew said...

RIP. I was thinking about her in The Handmaid's Tale yesterday when I heard about her horrible accident, and she really was one of the only good points to that movie. She had such an earthy, pleasant quality to her performance, and she was so likable for it.

It's so sad to hear about this. I wish I could have seen her on stage.

Kamikaze Camel said...

A mother leaving behind her young children is devastating, a mother having to bury her child is too. Such a sad loss for all involved.

henri said...

Here is a memorial for Natasha. Please visit and leave a message, light a candle, etc. Thanks

http://www.ilasting.com/natasharichardson.php

Tory said...

What a beautiful spirit and one of the most gracious and charming actresses of her time. Her beauty and the gift she gave us will be incredibly missed.

Rest in peace beautiful Natasha


Tory Smith

Alex in Movieland said...

so painfully sad. :((

and what's troubling the most (for me at least) is that she seemed to be such a nice person!! :(

Denise Burton said...

This has been a tragedy for all of her fans but most of all for her family.I pray for Mr. Neeson and sons to have the strength to get through this heart breaking experience. I really loved Ms. Richardsons acting abilities and she has lightened many hearts. The Redgrave family is blessed to have had an angel like Natasha. We can still hold on to our beautiful memories.As devastating as this accident has been for the fans I could not begin to imagine what the family may be going through at this moment. May God bless them and ease their grief as soon as possible.

Patrick said...

The Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include Natasha Richardson.

http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/richardson/3042550

It's a respectful memorial to Natasha and somewhere to pay tribute to the family's fortitude at this difficult time.

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RobUK said...

A beautifully written and respectful tribute to a wonderful talent. She will be missed.

Janice said...

Beautifully expressed, Nathaniel.

I noticed yesterday, btw, that Ron Silver (Reversal of Fortune) lost his two-year battle with cancer this week.

Catherine said...

What a lovely tribute, Nathaniel. I'm having a really hard time processing this death for some reason. I wrote about it a little on my blog.

I'm actually heading out to rent a copy of 'The White Countess' now.

Branden said...

I wished with all my heart that Natasha was going to pull through.

My heart goes out to her family. Such a devastating loss.

Will said...

There is nothing worst for a parent than loss of a child. My deep condolences and sympathy to Ms. Redgrave, Mr. Neeson, Mrs. Richardson's sons, family and close one. So sad....

Edward Copeland said...

I'm so grateful that I got to see her on stage in both Cabaret and Closer, but why isn't Patty Hearst on DVD? RIP.

changetheworld360 said...

Wow. So tragic. My heart goes out to her grieving family. :(
I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen much of her work, particularly her many stage credits. However, as a kid growing up in the '90s, I loved her fine performance in The Parent Trap.

SigLNY said...

Such shock! So Horrible.

Thanks for the "Maybe This Time" clip. Alot of people complained at the time that she didn't have the pipes to play Sally Bowles, but that clip proved she had something even more than a brassy belty voice. She had total commitment to character. Natasha Richardson was not singing that song, Sally Bowles was. The look she gives at the end is devasting. I only wish I could have seen her live. (Who'd I get? GINA GERSHON!) No one was ready to say goodbye to this prodigous talent. And yet, sadly, we have no choice. "Start by admitting from cradle to tomb, isn't that long a stay."