Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha Richardson dies after skiing accident at age of 45

LinkNatasha Richardson, the Tony Award winning stage and screen star and scion of British performing arts royalty, has died following a skiing accident. She was 45.

The daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson was flown to hospital close to her home in New York on Tuesday evening [March 17], the day after she injured her head during a skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant resort in Quebec.

Tuesday, the Mont Tremblant ski resort, released the following statement regarding her accident:

"Natasha Richardson fell in a beginners trail while taking a ski lesson at Station Mont Tremblant," the statement said. "She was accompanied by an experienced ski instructor who immediately called the ski patrol. She did not show any visible sign of injury but the ski patrol followed strict procedures and brought her back to the bottom of the slope and insisted she should see a doctor.

"As an additional precautionary measure, the ski instructor as well as the ski patrol accompanied Mrs. Richardson to her hotel," the statement continued. "They again recommended she should be seen by a doctor. The ski instructor stayed with her at her hotel. Approximately an hour after the incident Mrs. Richardson was not feeling good. An ambulance was called and Mrs. Richardson was brought to the Centre Hospitalier Laurentien in Ste-Agathe and was later transferred to Hôpital du Sacre-Coeur."

A spokesperson for the resort noted Richardson was not wearing a helmet while skiing and didn't collide with anything when she fell.

Richardson’s husband Liam Neeson flew from the Toronto set of Atom Egoyan’s Chloe to be by her bedside and joined the actress’ mother Vanessa Redgrave, sister Joely Richardson, aunt Lynn Redgrave, and her ex-husband Robert Fox.

Richardson was nominated for a British Independent Film Award best actress prize for her lead role in David Mackenzie’s 2005 romantic thriller Asylum. Her feature credits included The White Countess, The Handmaid’s Tale, Patty Hearst and Maid In Manhattan.

She began her stage career with the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and went on to earn widespread critical acclaim for a range of lead roles in such plays as Anna Christie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Closer and Cabaret, for which she won a best actress Tony Award in 1998.

Neeson’s publicist Alan Nierob issued a statement that read: "Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic 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."

Neeson and Richardson co-starred on stage in 1993 in Anna Christie and reunited a year later on screen in Michael Apted’s Nell. They married in 1994 and had two sons Michael, 13, and Daniel, aged 12.

This ABC news story and a video about Richardson's brain injury at


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