Natasha Richardson was an English-American stage and screen actress. The daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and producer/director Tony Richardson, she was a member of the famed Redgrave family. Born and raised in Marylebone, London, Richardson attended two independent schools, St. Paul's Girls' School and Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle. She went on to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama before embarking on an acting career. As a stage actress, she was best known for her performance in the 1998 Broadway revival of ‘Cabaret’ for which she won numerous awards, including the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Critics Circle Award. Richardson was also known for appearing in numerous movies, such as ‘A Month in the Country,’ ‘The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish,’ and ‘Fat Man and Little Boy.’ She had a decent acting career on television as well. Richardson was a long-time smoker before she finally quit the habit. She even opposed the ban on smoking in restaurants. In 2009, the actress lost her life after suffering a serious head injury in a skiing accident.
Career in Theatre
Natasha Richardson started her acting career in regional theatre, appearing in West Yorkshire Playhouse productions. In 1984, she appeared in the play ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ alongside Richard E. Grant and Ralph Fiennes. Her first professional stage gig in London's West End came in 1985 when the actress performed in a revival of Anton Chekhov's play ‘The Seagull’. Soon after this, she acted in ‘High Society.’ Then in 1993, she appeared in the title role of Anna Christie in her first ever Broadway play.
Five years later, Richardson got featured as Sally Bowles in a revival of ‘Cabaret’ in 1998. She next had a role in the play ‘Closer’. In 2005, she was cast in the revival of Tennessee Williams' 1947 play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. Four years later, the actress appeared alongside her mother Vanessa Redgrave in a concert production of Stephen Sondheim's musical ‘A Little Night Music’.
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In 1984, Natasha Richardson played her first American television role when she appeared in the miniseries ‘Ellis Island.’ That same year, she also made her British television debut, appearing in an episode of the series ‘Oxbridge Blues’. After this, she had a guest appearance in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’. Then in 1987, the actress had a role in a BBC adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts.’
She appeared in a TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ one-act play ‘Suddenly, Last Summer’ in 1993. The same year, she played Zelda Fitzgerald in the TV movie ‘Zelda’. Three years later, Richardson appeared in HBO's horror anthology series ‘Tales from the Crypt’. This was followed by her roles in ‘Haven’ and ‘The Mastersons of Manhattan’. In 2008, she appeared as a guest judge in the reality TV show ‘Top Chef’.
Natasha Richardson made her first ever credited screen appearance in 1984 when she appeared as an art tutor in ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’. Two years later, she starred as Mary Shelley in the flick ‘Gothic’. She then appeared in the British film ‘A Month in the Country’ alongside Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh in 1987. Then in 1988, the actress played the titular role in Paul Schrader’s ‘Patty Hearst’. She next acted in ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ in 1990. That year, she also played Mary in the Italian-British drama film ‘The Comfort of Strangers’.
Richardson was featured in the comedy flick ‘The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish’ in 1991. Then in 1992, she played Laura Mathews in ‘Past Midnight’. Two years later, she acted in the films ‘Nell’ and ‘Widows' Peak’. The English-American actress starred in ‘The Parent Trap’ in 1998. In the early 2000s, she was cast in the movies ‘Blow Dry’, ‘Chelsea Walls’, ‘Waking Up in Reno’ and ‘Maid in Manhattan’. Then in 2005, Richardson played Countess Sofia Belinskya in ‘The White Countess’ and also starred in the film ‘Asylum.’ After this, she did the American drama film ‘Evening’. Her last screen appearance was in the comedy ‘Wild Child’ in 2008. In 2010, her documentary film ‘The Wildest Dream’ was released posthumously.
Natasha Richardson was born on 11 May 1963 in Marylebone, London, the UK to actress Vanessa Redgrave and her director/producer husband Tony Richardson. Her father later died of AIDS-related causes. She was the sister of actress Joely Richardson, half-sister of Katharine Grimond Hess and screenwriter Carlo Gabriel Nero, and a cousin of actress Jemma Redgrave. Her grandparents were actors Rachel Kempson and Sir Michael Redgrave.
Richardson studied at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle and St. Paul's Girls' School. Later, she attended Central School of Speech and Drama.
Talking about her love life, the actress was married to filmmaker Robert Fox from 1990 to 1992. After separating from Fox, she married actor Liam Neeson and became a naturalized American citizen. The couple had two sons, Micheál and Daniel.
On March 16, 2009, Natasha Richardson suffered from a head injury during a skiing training accident at the Mont Tremblant Resort. She was flown to New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital where she died from an epidural hematoma two days later. On March 22, a private funeral was held at the St. Peter's Episcopal Church in New York.
During her lifetime, Richardson helped raise a huge amount of money for the fight against AIDS. She was actively involved in AmfAR and also supported several other AIDS charities, including God's Love We Deliver, Bailey House, AIDS Crisis Trust and Mothers' Voices. She was the ambassador of National AIDS Trust as well.
In 1998, Natasha Richardson won a case against newspapers who published that her marriage was in trouble.