Their love affair started on Broadway, when they sizzled onstage in Anna Christie in 1993. They went on to become a highly-respected married acting couple on the stage and screen, until she died suddenly in 2009. And now, five years later, Liam Neeson tells 60 Minutes he still can’t believe Natasha Richardson is gone.
“[Her death] was never real,” Neeson tells Anderson Cooper on the episode, set to air Sunday, February 23 at 7PM on CBS. “It still kind of isn’t. There’s periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first couple of years...anytime I hear that door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her.”
In the heartbreaking interview, Neeson talks for the first time about arriving in the Canadian hospital where Richardson was brain dead after her skiing accident, and about the couple’s pact to turn off life support if either of them were ever in a vegetative state.
Neeson says: “She was on life support...I went in to her and I told her I loved her, said ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this, you’ve banged your head.’” Then the actor says he remembered their pact. “That was my immediate thought...’OK, these tubes have to go. She’s gone.’”
After Anna Christie, Richardson went on to win a Tony Award in 1998 for playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret and later starred on Broadway in Closer and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Neeson returned to the boards to play Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss and John Proctor in The Crucible, but hasn’t appeared on Broadway since Richardson’s death. His new film thriller Non-Stop opens in theaters on February 28.