Natasha Richardson was one of the most versatile stars that Hollywood has ever produced. From stage to the screens, the British-American actress enjoyed an award-winning career. She had recorded many great achievements and was on her way to attaining more when she died in her prime.
As much as she thrived in her career, Natasha devoted a great deal of her life to promoting causes that were dear to her heart. For instance, she engaged in various activities that raised millions to fight AIDS; this is because her father died in 1991 of AIDS-related causes. It has been over a decade since Natasha passed on but her career and the life she led have continued to interest many people.
Natasha Richardson Hailed From an Acting Dynasty
Natasha Jane Richardson was born on the 11th of May 1963 in Marylebone, London. Growing up, she studied at various schools including the St Paul’s Girls School. She also attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, as well as West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds where she honed her acting skills.
Natasha Richardson was a member of what can only be described as an acting dynasty. Her father was Tony Richardson, a renowned director. Her mother was an accomplished stage and screen actress, Vanessa Redgrave. Richardson’s maternal grandparents, maternal uncle Colin Redgrave, maternal aunt Lynn Redgrave, and maternal great-grandfather, Roy Redgrave, were also actors.
In fact, Natasha Richardson got her first acting gig thanks to her family. This was at the tender age of four when she appeared in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), a movie directed by her father and featured her mother and sister.
Natasha Richardson had only one sibling; a younger sister named Joely Richardson. Also an actress, Joely has appeared in movies such as 101 Dalmatians, The Patriot, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo among others. She is also famous for her role in the TV series, Nip/Tuck, which ran for seven years. Joely was previously married to a British film producer named Tim Bevan. The union produced a daughter named Daisy who has followed her mom’s footsteps into acting.
Chronicling Her Transition from Stage to Screen
Natasha Richardson commenced her career in 1984. She started in the theatre and would go on to appear in several stage productions such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Seagull, Anna Christie, Cabaret, Closer, A Streetcar Named Desire, and A Little Night Music.
Her leading part as Sally Bowles in the 1998 Broadway production of Cabaret earned her a Tony Award for best actress in a musical. Richardson’s acting expertise was not limited to the stage as she also appeared in over 30 movies and TV series.
On the big screen, she appeared in movies such as Patty Hearst, The White Countess, The Comfort of Strangers, Maid in Manhattan, and The Parent Trap. Natasha Richardson also featured in TV series such as Zelda, Hostage, Ghosts, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Tales from the Crypt, and many more.
Awards That Decorated Her Illustrious Career
In a career that spanned through 1968 to 2009, Natasha bagged multiple awards and nominations, including a nomination for Grammy’s Best Spoken Word Album which she shared with other actors for The Complete Shakespeare Sonnets. In 1994, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival honored her as the Best Actress for her role in Widows’ Peak.
The following year, she received a CableACE Awards nomination just as her role in Asylum earned her a nomination for British Independent Film Awards’ Best Actress. That same role won her the Evening Standard British Film Awards for Best Actress in 2006. It wasn’t the first time she bagged the gong as she received it in 1991 for her roles in The Comfort of Strangers and The Handmaid’s Tale.
As she was a devoted stage actress, her efforts thereof also earned her some coveted awards. She bagged a Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut which was in the revival of Anna Christie in 1993. Arguably, her most significant theater project was in the 1998 Broadway production of Cabaret. Apart from earning her the Outer Critics Circle Award, she equally received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
In recognition of her efforts in the fight against AIDS, the actress was honored in November 2000 with an amfAR’s Award of Courage.
Natasha Richardson’s First Marriage Barely Survived Two Years
Natasha Richardson was married twice in her lifetime. Her first marriage was to an English film producer named Robert Fox. They got married in 1990 but divorced two years later.
It is said that she fell in love with Fox during The Seagull’s run. He was the producer of the play and although he was 11 years older than the actress, it didn’t stop them from getting married.
She was the second wife of the producer who would later get married to Fiona Golfar in 1996. Fox divorced Celestia Fox in 1990 to marry Natasha.
Her Second Marriage With Liam Neeson Began In 1994
Richardson found love again in 1993, this time with Liam Neeson, an A-list Hollywood star. His movie credits include Excalibur, The Bounty, The Mission, Schindler’s List, 1998’s Les Miserables, Batman Begins, and Taken.
Richardson met Neeson during the 1993 Broadway production of Anna Christie which they both took part in. They subsequently commenced a relationship and tied the knot in New York in 1994.
The couple remained together until Richardson’s demise. Their union produced two sons named Micheal (b. 1995) and Daniel (b. 1996). Liam’s emotional tribute to Natasha when she passed offered insight into their life together. Mourning his wife who died unexpectedly, the actor asserted that Natasha brought him so much joy and taught him how to love unconditionally.
The Actress Died from an Epidural Haematoma
Natasha Richardson died on the 18th of March 2009. She was 45 years old at the time of her death. Her death was a result of a head injury she suffered in a skiing accident. On the 16th of March, she had been taking skiing lessons at a resort in Montreal Canada. She fell and hit her head but thought it was a minor fall and refused hospitalization.
However, when her condition worsened, she was transferred to a hospital in New York where she was subsequently declared brain dead. When Liam who was filming Chloe in Toronto visited her in the hospital and learned she was brain dead, he feared it was the end as they had promised each other to not hesitate to pull the plug if they ever get into a vegetative state.
Natasha’s death left her husband, kids, as well as other family members devastated. Richardson was buried in New York on the 23rd of March 2009. There was an outpouring of tributes, especially from the theatre world. Her husband has since revealed that he had to throw himself into work to cope with the loss. Her sister, Joely, also disclosed that she grieved for four years before she could experience real joy again.
Even at death, the actress made a difference as three of her organs where donated to people fighting for their lives.