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Tony Award Winner Natasha Richardson Dies at 45

Tony Award Winner Natasha Richardson Dies at 45
Natasha Richardson in
A Streetcar Named Desire

Tony Award winner Natasha Richardson, an elegant and accomplished star of stage and screen, died on March 18 after suffering a head injury on at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec on March 16. She was 45 and lived in Manhattan with her husband, actor Liam Neeson, and their sons Micheál Richard Antonio, 13, and Daniel Jack, 12.

After conducting an autopsy, New York Medical Examiner Ellen Borakove released a statement on March 19 saying the actress’ death was ruled “an accident" from an "epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head.” Richardson, who was not wearing a helmet, fell during a beginner’s ski lesson at the luxury Canadian ski resort. She was tranferred from a Montreal hospital to New York's Lenox Hill Hospital on March 17 and died surrounded by her family.

“Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha,” Neeson’s representative Alan Nierob said in a statement. “They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”

A Best Actress Tony winner for playing Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes’ 1998 revival of Cabaret, Richardson most recently starred on Broadway as Blanche Du Bois in the 2005 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. She and her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, appeared together onstage in January in Roundabout Theatre Company’s benefit performance of A Little Night Music.

Born in London on May 11, 1963, Natasha Jane Richardson was part of the third generation of a glittering theatrical family. The daughter of the late director Tony Richardson and Redgrave, she was a grandchild of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, niece of actors Corin and Lynn Redgrave and sister of actress Joely Richardson. She made her film debut at age four in her father’s film version of The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Educated at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, Richardson began her career in the early 1980s in Britain’s regional theaters and made her West End debut in 1985 as Nina in The Seagull opposite her mother as Arkadina, winning the London Drama Critics’ Most Promising Newcomer Award. The same year, she played Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ophelia in Hamlet at the Old Vic, and quickly made the transition into film with roles in Gothic, Patty Hearst, A Month in the Country and The Handmade’s Tale, among others.

Richardson made her Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company's 1993 revival of Anna Christie co-starring Neeson, who would become her second husband a year later. She was previously married to producer Robert Fox. Neeson and Richardson received Tony nominations for their performances as lovers Mat Burke and Anna Christopherson. The couple also co-starred with Jodie Foster in the 1994 feature film Nell. A year after winning the Tony for Cabaret, Richardson appeared on Broadway in Patrick Marber’s Closer.

Richardson’s most recent film credits include The Parent Trap, Maid in Manhattan, The White Countess, Asylum, Evening and Wild Child.

 

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