Friday, March 20, 2009

Remembering Natasha Richardson

The strange death of Natasha Richardson has transfixed the media. the  daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave was on a skiing vacation at Mont Tremblant when she injured her head in a fall and initially refused treatment. By the time she was admitted to hospital it was too late and she died at 45 with many brilliant years of acting still before her.
When I met her onboard a Liberty ship in Lake Ontario in 2002 she was trying TV movies and miniseries. She'd moved to New York to partially escape the glare of publicity --after all she was a Redgrave. 
But in some ways it slowed down her career. American movie directors didn't quite know how to use her and contemporary Emma Thompson edged ahead for the few important roles in British films.  I found Richardson to be a gifted actress, completely immersed in her character of Ruth Guber for the miniseries Haven
. She was gracious and witty and obviously was acting less to spend more time with husband Liam Neeson and their two young sons.
Her death caught all of us off guard. On Broadway she shone in revivals of A Streetcar Named desire and Cabaret. I was delighted to find her so warm and likable and I'm missing her already.

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