Natasha Richardson
Richardson in 1999
Natasha Jane Richardson

(1963-05-11)11 May 1963
Marylebone, London, England
Died18 March 2009(2009-03-18) (aged 45)
New York City, US
Resting placeSt. Peter's Episcopal Cemetery, Millbrook, New York
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom, United States
Alma materRoyal Central School of Speech and Drama
Years active1968–2009
  • (m. 1990; div. 1992)
  • (m. 1994)
Children2, including Micheál

Natasha Jane Richardson (11 May 1963 – 18 March 2009) was an English-American actress. A member of the Redgrave family, Richardson was the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director/producer Tony Richardson and the granddaughter of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Richardson met future husband, Liam Neeson, in 1991 while filming Shining Through.

Early in her career, Richardson portrayed Mary Shelley in Ken Russell's Gothic (1986) and Patty Hearst in the eponymous 1988 biopic film directed by Paul Schrader and later received critical acclaim and a Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut in the 1993 revival of Anna Christie. Richardson also appeared in The Handmaid's Tale (1990), Nell (1994), The Parent Trap (1998), Maid in Manhattan (2002), and The White Countess (2005).

For her performance as Sally Bowles in the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret, Richardson won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award.

Richardson died in New York City in 2009 from a head injury after a skiing accident in Quebec.[1]

Early life

Natasha Jane Richardson was born in Marylebone, London on 11 May 1963, a member of the Redgrave family, known as a theatrical and film acting dynasty. She was the daughter of director and producer Tony Richardson and actress Vanessa Redgrave,[2] granddaughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson,[2][3] sister of Joely Richardson, half-sister of Carlo Gabriel Nero and Katharine Grimond Hess,[4] niece of actress Lynn Redgrave and actor Corin Redgrave,[2] and cousin of Jemma Redgrave.

Richardson's parents divorced in 1967.[5] The following year, she made her film debut at the age of four in an uncredited role in The Charge of the Light Brigade, directed by her father.[2]

Richardson was educated in London at two private schools, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington and St. Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith,[6] before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama.[7]



Richardson began her career in regional theatre at Leeds Playhouse, and in 1984 at the Open Air Theatre in London's Regent's Park, when Richardson appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Ralph Fiennes and Richard E. Grant. Her first professional work in London's West End was in a revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull in 1985. This production also featured her mother, Vanessa Redgrave.[8] Soon afterward, Richardson starred in a London stage production of High Society, adapted from the Cole Porter film. She made her Broadway debut in 1993, in the title role of Anna Christie, which is where Richardson met future husband Liam Neeson. In 1998, Richardson played the role of Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes' revival of Cabaret on Broadway, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The following year, Richardson returned to Broadway in Closer, for which she was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, and in 2005 Richardson appeared again with the Roundabout, this time as Blanche DuBois in the revival of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire,[2] opposite John C. Reilly as Stanley Kowalski. In January 2009, two months before her death, Richardson played the role of Desirée in a concert production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, with her mother Vanessa Redgrave, who played Madame Armfeldt. At the time of Richardson's death, the pair were preparing to co-star in a Broadway revival of the musical.[6]


Richardson in 2008

In 1984, Richardson made her first credited screen appearance as an art tutor in the James Scott-directed Every Picture Tells A Story, based on the early life of the painter William Scott.[9] Richardson later starred as Mary Shelley in the 1986 film Gothic, a fictionalised account of the author's creation of Frankenstein. The following year, Richardson starred with Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth in A Month in the Country, directed by Pat O'Connor. Director Paul Schrader signed Richardson for the title role in Patty Hearst, his 1988 docudrama about the heiress and her kidnapping. Richardson's performances with Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway in The Handmaid's Tale and Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett and Helen Mirren in The Comfort of Strangers (directed by Schrader) won her the 1990 Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress. In 1991, Richardson appeared in The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish with Bob Hoskins. He later credited her with giving him the best kiss of his life during the film. "She got hold of me and kissed me like I've never been kissed before. I was gobsmacked."[10]

Richardson was named Best Actress at the 1994 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for Widows' Peak and that same year appeared in Nell with Jodie Foster and future husband Liam Neeson. She appeared in the Disney film remake The Parent Trap in 1998 alongside Dennis Quaid, as Elizabeth James, the divorced mother of Lindsay Lohan. Additional film credits include Blow Dry (2001), Chelsea Walls (2001), Waking Up in Reno (2002), Maid in Manhattan (2002), Asylum (2005), which won Richardson a second Evening Standard Award for Best Actress, The White Countess (2005), and Evening (2007). Her last screen appearance was as headmistress of a girls' school in the 2008 comedy Wild Child. During the last week of January 2009, Richardson recorded her offscreen role as the wife of climber George Mallory, who disappeared while climbing Mount Everest during a 1924 expedition, in the 2010 documentary film The Wildest Dream, for which Liam Neeson provided narration. Director Anthony Geffen described listening to the film since her death as "harrowing".[11]


Richardson made her American television debut in a small role in the 1984 miniseries Ellis Island. That same year, Richardson made her British television debut in an episode of the BBC series Oxbridge Blues. The following year, Richardson appeared as Violet Hunter with Jeremy Brett and David Burke in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the episode entitled "The Copper Beeches." Richardson starred with Judi Dench, Michael Gambon and Kenneth Branagh in a 1987 BBC adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play Ghosts; with Maggie Smith and Rob Lowe in a 1993 BBC adaptation of Suddenly, Last Summer by Tennessee Williams; as Zelda Fitzgerald in the 1993 television movie Zelda; and Haven (2001) on CBS and The Mastersons of Manhattan (2007) on NBC. Richardson appeared as a celebrity judge on Top Chef, season 5.

Personal life

Richardson's first marriage was to filmmaker Robert Fox, whom she had met in 1985, during the making of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull; they were married from 1990 to 1992.[12] Richardson married actor Liam Neeson in the summer of 1994 at the home they shared in Millbrook, New York;[13] she had become a naturalised American citizen.[14] Richardson had two sons with Neeson: Micheál and Daniel.[15]

Richardson helped raise millions of dollars in the fight against AIDS; her father Tony Richardson had died of AIDS-related causes in 1991.[16] She was also actively involved in AmfAR, becoming a board member in 2006 and participating in many other AIDS charities, including Bailey House, God's Love We Deliver, Mothers' Voices, AIDS Crisis Trust and National AIDS Trust, for which Richardson was an ambassador. She received amfAR's Award of Courage in November 2000.[17]

An avid smoker,[18] although Richardson had reportedly quit smoking,[19] she was an outspoken critic of the ban on smoking in New York City restaurants.[20]


On 16 March 2009, Richardson sustained a head injury when she fell while taking a beginner skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resort, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Montreal.[21] At first, Richardson refused any medical help but complained of a severe headache about two hours after the accident.[22] She was flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, where Richardson died two days later from an epidural hematoma.[23] Her family issued a statement on the day of her death: "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."[24]

On 19 March 2009, theatre lights were dimmed on Broadway in Manhattan and in the West End of London as a mark of respect for Richardson.[25] The following day, a private viewing was held at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan.[26] On 22 March, a private funeral was held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church near Millbrook, New York,[27] close to the family's upstate home. Richardson was buried near her maternal grandmother Rachel Kempson in the churchyard.[28] Richardson's aunt, Lynn Redgrave, was buried in the same churchyard on 8 May 2010, near Richardson and Kempson.[29] The 2015 biographical thriller Everest was later dedicated to her.[citation needed]



Year Film Role Notes Ref.
1968 The Charge of the Light Brigade Flower girl at wedding Uncredited appearance [30]
1973 High Crime Luisa, the girl playing hopscotch Uncredited appearance [31]
1983 Every Picture Tells a Story Miss Bridle [32]
1986 Gothic Mary Shelley [33]
1987 A Month in the Country Alice Keach [32]
1988 Patty Hearst Patty Hearst [33]
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Jean Tatlock [32]
1990 The Handmaid's Tale Kate / Offred [33]
1990 The Comfort of Strangers Mary [34]
1991 The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish Sybil [35]
1992 Past Midnight Laura Mathews [36]
1994 Nell Dr. Paula Olsen [32]
1994 Widows' Peak Mrs Edwina Broome [37]
1998 The Parent Trap Elizabeth "Liz" James [33]
2001 Blow Dry Shelley Allen [38]
2001 Chelsea Walls Mary [39]
2002 Waking Up in Reno Darlene Dodd [40]
2002 Maid in Manhattan Caroline Lane [33]
2005 The White Countess Countess Sofia Belinskya [33]
2005 Asylum Stella Raphael Also executive producer [33]
2007 Evening Constance Lord [33]
2008 Wild Child Mrs. Kingsley Final on-screen film appearance [33]
2010 The Wildest Dream Ruth Mallory (wife of George Mallory) Voice only
Posthumously released
Final film role


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1984 Oxbridge Blues Gabriella Folckwack
1984 Ellis Island Young Whore [14]
1985 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Violet Hunter Episode: "The Copper Beeches" [14]
1987 Ghosts Regina
1992 Hostages Jill Morrell [14]
1993 Zelda Zelda Fitzgerald [30]
1993 Suddenly Last Summer Catharine Holly [30]
1996 Tales from the Crypt Fiona Havisham [41]
2001 Haven Ruth Gruber CTV Television Network
2007 Mastersons of Manhattan Victoria Masterson [42]
2008 Top Chef Guest Judge [33]


Year Production Role Venue(s) Notes Ref.
1983 On the Razzle Marie West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds [14]
1983 Top Girls West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
1983 Charley's Aunt Amy Spettigue West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds [43]
1985 The Seagull Nina Queen's Theatre, London [33]
1985 A Midsummer Night's Dream Helena Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London [30]
1985 Hamlet Ophelia Young Vic Theatre, London [30]
High Society Tracy Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
Victoria Palace Theatre, London
1993 Anna Christie Anna Criterion Center Stage Right, Broadway Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play [33]
1998 Cabaret Sally Bowles Kit Kat Klub, Broadway Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical [33]
1999 Closer Anna Music Box Theatre, Broadway [33]
2003 The Lady from the Sea Ellida Wangel Almeida Theatre, London [44]
2005 A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois Studio 54, Broadway [33]


  1. ^ "Quick treatment could have saved Richardson". 19 March 2009. Archived from the original on 7 June 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Natasha Richardson part of legendary acting family". CNN. 18 March 2009. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  3. ^ Debrett's People of Today. Debrett's Peerage Ltd., 2007
  4. ^ "Natasha Richardson Leaves Bulk of Assets to Husband Liam Neeson". Fox News Channel. 31 May 2009. Archived from the original on 26 September 2010.
  5. ^ Arnold, Laurence; Peter S. Green (19 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson, Actress of Elegance, Pedigree, Dead at 45". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  6. ^ a b Pulleine, Tim (19 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson The daughter of actor Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson was destined for the theatrical profession". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  7. ^ Singh, Anita (19 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson skiing accident in Canada: profile of actress". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  8. ^ Weber, Bruce (18 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson, actress, Dies at 45". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Aesthetica Magazine – James Scott: Every Picture Tells A Story, London". Aesthetica. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  10. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (18 June 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Director: Natasha Richardson "Powerful and Harrowing" in Final Film". Us Weekly. 19 March 2009. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  12. ^ "Obituaries – Natasha Richardson". The Daily Telegraph. 19 March 2009. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Millbrook's Natasha Richardson suffers critical head injury from ski accident". Poughkeepsie Journal. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2009. he and Neeson married in 1994 at their Millbrook home, and now have two sons [dead link]
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Natasha Richardson: Member of celebrated acting family who found success on stage and screen – Obituaries, News". The Independent. London. 20 March 2009. Archived from the original on 23 March 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  15. ^ Abrahamson, Rachel Paula (19 March 2024). "Natasha Richardson's son Daniel remembers his mother 15 years after her death". TODAY. Retrieved 4 June 2024.
  16. ^ Middlekauff, Tracey (2009). "Fighting AIDS in Memory of Her Father". People. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  17. ^ "amfAR :: Natasha Richardson :: The Foundation for AIDS Research :: HIV / AIDS Research". Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  18. ^ Bearn, Emily (27 April 2003). "Prime Time for Natasha". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
  19. ^ Chui, Alexis (24 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson: 'She Was So Much Fun'". People. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009.
  20. ^ Franck, Elisabeth (8 April 2001). "Cigarette Aficionados Go to War". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 28 September 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  21. ^ "Neeson opens up on death of wife: 'It still kind of isn't real'". New York Daily News. 21 February 2014.
  22. ^ Marikar, Sheila (17 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson Died of a Subdural Hematoma After Skiing Accident". ABC News. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  23. ^ "Richardson's Death: Accidental Blunt Impact". ABC News.
  24. ^ Weber, Bruce (19 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson, actress, Dies at 45". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  25. ^ "Richardson gets West End tribute". BBC News. 20 March 2009. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  26. ^ "Natasha Richardson buried in New York". 23 March 2009. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  27. ^ "Family bid farewell to Richardson". BBC News. 22 March 2009. Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  28. ^ "Natasha Richardson Buried Near Upstate NY Home". The Canadian Press. 23 March 2009. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  29. ^ Family, friends say goodbye to Redgrave CBC News 8 May 2010 Retrieved:8 May 2010. Archived 12 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ a b c d e Weber, Bruce (18 March 2009). "Natasha Richardson, 45, Stage and Film Star, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  31. ^ Curti, Roberto (2013). Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980. McFarland. p. 85. ISBN 978-0786469765.
  32. ^ a b c d "Natasha Richardson: Obituary". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Natasha Richardson dies at 45". Los Angeles Times. 19 March 2009. ISSN 0458-3035. Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  34. ^ "The Comfort of Strangers". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  35. ^ "The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish". Find and Watch. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  36. ^ "Past Midnight |". Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  37. ^ Widows' Peak, archived from the original on 3 May 2017, retrieved 7 May 2017
  38. ^ Scott, A. O. (7 March 2001). "FILM REVIEW; The Full Gel, Curlers and Cream Rinse". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  39. ^ "request | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  40. ^ "Movie review: It may be hard to stay awake in Waking Up in Reno'". 15 November 2002. Archived from the original on 23 September 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  41. ^ "HBO CLASSIC: TALES FROM THE CRYPT S7". HBO Watch. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  42. ^ "Natasha Richardson Cast in NBC's 'Mastersons of Manhattan' Pilot | Playbill". Playbill. 24 January 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  43. ^ "Natasha Richardson Dies After Ski Accident". Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  44. ^ Wolf, Matt (1 June 2003). "Review: 'The Lady From the Sea'". Variety. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017.