Richardson Dead at 45

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2009 12:12 AM CDT
In a 2008 file photo, actors Liam Neeson and wife Natasha Richardson.    (Joel Ryan)
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(Newser) – Natasha Richardson, a gifted and precocious heiress to acting royalty whose career highlights included the film Patty Hearst and a Tony-winning performance in a stage revival of Cabaret, died yesterday at age 45 after suffering a head injury during a ski lesson. It was a sudden and horrifying loss for her family and friends, and for the film and theater communities.

"Liam Neeson, his sons (Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12), and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha," said a family statement. They "ask for privacy during this very difficult time." Descended from at least three generations of actors—her mother is Vanessa Redgrave—Richardson was a proper Londoner who came to love the noise of New York, an elegant blonde with lively eyes, a bright smile, and a hearty laugh. She met Neeson when they made their Broadway debuts in 1993.