Thursday, 19 March 2009

Natasha Richardson dies, we pay tribute

British actress Natasha Richardson, 45, has tragically passed away last night, just two days after she fell whilst skiing at the Mont Tremblant resort North of Montreal. Family, friends and fans have been praying for Natasha since the shocking news of her condition broke two days ago.

Natasha was taking a private skiing lesson on a beginners slope where she hit her head in a fall which wasn't determined to be severe at the time. Unfortunately, it was not believed that she was wearing a helmet. Immediately after the fall, Natasha was seen over by medics and discharged as being alright as she displayed no immediate sign of internal injuries.

It was only an hour later that Natasha started to complain of a severe headache which prompted concern and led to her seeking further medical attention. The star was taken first to a local hospital in Ste. Agathe, Quebec, and then was transferred to the Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal. On Tuesday, Natasha was transported to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, where her family gathered in hope that she would recover.

Full details concerning Natasha's passing have not been officially released, but it is thought that she suffered traumatic brain injuries for two days following the accident and that her life support was reluctantly turned off by medical professionals on Wednesday. Joan Rivers, a close friend revealed: "I was told they kept her alive to bring her back to New York so the boys could say goodbye to her."

Neeson’s publicist Alan Nierob issued a statement last night on behalf of the family saying: “Liam, 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.”

Natasha Richardson is a member of the Redgrave family, known as a dynasty in theatre and acting. She is the daughter of British screen legend Vanessa Regrave and late film producer and director Tony Richardson. Her grandparents are Actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Vanessa is also the sister of Joely Richardson and niece of Actress Lynn Redgrave and Actor Corn Redgrave and cousin of Jemma Redgrave.

Natasha married Schindlers list and Star Wars Actor Liam Neeson in 1994 after meeting on set during the filming of 'Nell'. The couple have been blessed with two sons Micheál and Daniel.

Natasha has always worked incredibly hard and hence enjoyed a hugely successful acting career. She made her first film debut at the tender age of 4 in a film directed by her father, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Richardson acted on Broadway, various Theatre productions, on a tv mini-series and in Box Office Movie hits such as 'The Parent Trap' and 'Maid in Manhattan' alongside Jennifer Lopez. In 1986 she won the London Drama Critics’ most promising newcomer award for her performance as Nina in The Seagull alongside her mother. She also won a Tony award for best actress in a musical for her performance as Sally Bowles in Sam Mendez's production of Cabaret on Broadway in 1998.

Natasha will be missed by her family, friends and her fans all over the world.

Natasha as a person and talent was appreciated deeply by many people. Some of Natasha's celebrity friends have spoken out to pay beautiful tributes to her, recorded below:

Tv comedienne Joan Rivers spoke of an amazing day spent on a yacht in the Carribean with Natasha, Liam and her two sons.
"It was one of those wonderful days where we just talked, enjoyed the day and drank wine. She was amazing and darling. I have so much respect for someone who goes to Broadway, then film, then back again. Natasha and Liam were totally happy, totally devoted to each other - that's what kills me. They were totally devoted and he doted on what she said. I was told they kept her alive to bring her back to New York so the boys could say goodbye to her"

Sam Mendez
"Natasha combined the best of Redgrave and Richardson: the enormous depth and emotional force of a great actor on the one hand, and the intelligence and objectivity of a great director on the other. She was one of a kind, a magnificent actress. She was also an amazing mother, a loyal friend, and the greatest and most generous host you could ever hope to meet. It defies belief that this gifted, brave, tenacious, wonderful woman is gone."

Film director Michael Winner
"It's a terrible, terrible thing. It's always tragic when people of such buoyancy and life are taken away on what appears to be utterly trivial events. She was a wonderful actress - the whole family is incredible - and she had not yet fulfilled her possibilities. Whenever you met her, it was like a joy. It's a twinkle and a sparkle that has left the world."

Friend, film director Paul Schrader
"Natasha Richardson was an extraordinary actress, not just for her beauty, lineage and talent but for her intelligence and fearlessness. She was brave and smart. I was in awe of her from the time we first met and will miss her dearly."

Michael Parkinson, chat show host
"I met her a couple of times, I know Liam quite well, I've interviewed him two or three times. My thoughts are with him, it's a terrible, awful tragedy. They are a close-knit family, they will be able to share their grief together, that is the only consolation. Liam is one of the nicest guys I've met in the business, and so was she. They were very unshowy people, they did a job, got on with their lives, enjoyed their lives - it's very sad."

Lindsay Lohan, co-star in film The Parent Trap
"She was a wonderful woman and actress and treated me like I was her own. My heart goes out to her family. This is a tragic loss."

A spokeswoman for the US-based charity amfAE
, the foundation for Aids Research (of which Natasha was on the board since her father died of an Aids related illness in 1991)
"Our hearts go out to her family. This is a catastrophic loss for them, and it is a terrible loss for amfAR and the fight against Aids. Natasha generously contributed her time and resources to amfAR for over 15 years. Her passion for the cause and tireless efforts gave hope and inspiration to the scientists and healthcare workers on the front lines of this deadly epidemic, as well as to the millions of people living with HIV/Aids around the world."

Kenneth Cole, designer and close friend
"She was great, always there, she always had a wonderful optimistic can do attitude. Natasha had this wonderful way with everything. There was nothing that didn't seem to make sense or find a rationale. She lived a very lovely life style but everyone adored her. She felt she could make a difference and she did. She adored her kids and she adored Liam."

Martha Stewart
"Just heard the tragic news about poor Natasha Richardson. Her family must be devastated. My sincerest condolences to all."

Actress Demi Moore
"I am sending out prayers for Natasha Richardson and her family. This is a real reminder of how precious life can be."

Film Director Nick Moore, who worked with Miss Richardson in her final film, Wild Child
"I'm shocked and deeply saddened by this. She was wonderfully generous and kind; a complete joy to be with. All the kids in the movie loved being around her. She pitched in and was great with them. She led by example."
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