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Acclaimed actress Natasha Richardson, the wife of actor Liam Neeson and daughter of acting legend Vanessa Redgrave, died on March 19, 2009 after sustaining a head injury in a skiing accident; she was 45.

Richardson had been taking a beginner's skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec when she fell in what appeared to be a minor mishap; the actress was reported to be laughing and joking as she walked back to her room with assistance from her ski instructor. She began to complain of headaches within an hour of the accident, and was taken to a nearby hospital before being transferred to Montreal's Sacre Coeur Hospital. Her husband, Liam Neeson, was in Toronto filming the movie Chloe when he heard of the incident, and rushed to her side. After being pronounced brain dead in Montreal, Richardson was later transferred by plane to New York where she was met by family and friends, who held a vigil at her bedside at Lenox Hill hospital. She was later taken off life support, and passed away early Wednesday evening.

"the legendary Redgrave acting family"

Richardson, born into the legendary Redgrave acting family, was the eldest daughter of late Oscar-winning director Tony Richardson (Tom Jones) and Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave, and the granddaughter of famed actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Her aunt was Lynn Redgrave, her uncle Corin Redgrave, and her sister, Joely Richardson, was also an actress, best known for her role on the television series Nip/Tuck. Trained primarily for the stage, Natasha made small appearances in television films before making an auspicious screen debut as Mary Shelley in Ken Russell's Gothic, the fascinatingly lurid tale of how Shelley came to write the classic novel Frankenstein during a nightmarish weekend at Lord Byron's country estate with her husband, her cousin, and Byron himself. Roles in independent films such as Patty Hearst (where she played the title character), The Handmaid's Tale, and The Comfort of Strangers followed in the late '80s and early '90s.

"fell in love and married in 1994"

In 1993, she starred opposite Neeson in the Broadway revival of Anna Christie, where both received Tony nominations; though neither took home an award, they fell in love and married in 1994, the same year they also appeared together in the film Nell opposite Jodie Foster. In 1998, Richardson appeared onscreen as the mother of identical twins (played by Lindsay Lohan) in the remake The Parent Trap, and won a Tony award on Broadway as Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret.

Her work in film afterward varied from smaller films like Asylum and Evening (in which she appeared with her mother) to bigger-budget Hollywood comedies like Maid in Manhattan and Wild Child, and her theatre career continued to be impressive, with turns in the original Broadway production of Closer, Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea, and Tennesee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, where she played the iconic Blanche DuBois.

"with mother Vanessa"

Most recently, she had appeared with mother Vanessa in a one-night benefit concert of Sondheim's A Little Night Music, which had prompted rumours of a potential Broadway run. She also appeared as a guest judge in the most recent season of reality show Top Chef.

Richardson had two sons with Neeson, her second husband; she was married to producer Robert Fox from 1990-1993.

Published March 19, 2009

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Natasha Richardson

...with husband Liam Neeson

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