Posted in Upstaged by Adam Feldman on March 17th, 2009 at 2:00 pm
[UPDATE 1:58 p.m.: The following post appeared earlier this afternoon with the headline “RIP Natasha Richardson 1963–2009.” Since that time, TONY’s sources have clarified the situation: Richardson is brain dead but has not passed away. Sources close to the family indicate that they are treating it as a death. We will update you on this sad story as circumstances warrant. We apologize to the family and to our readers.]
Last night it was reported that the actor Natasha Richardson had critically injured her head in a skiing accident at the Mont Tremblant resort outside of Montreal, Canada. Although public reports have not yet confirmed it, sources close to Richardson’s family and friends say they have already been told the awful news: She will not survive the accident, and is currently brain dead.
This precipitate loss is a terrible one. Richardson was only 45 and had two adolescent sons; our thoughts go to them and to her husband, the actor Liam Neeson. The theater world, too, is bereft by her departure. Richardson has been the most verdant new branch of one of the great English theatrical family trees: the child of Vanessa Redgrave and the late Tony Richardson, the niece of Lynn Redgrave and Corin Redgrave, the granddaughter of Michael Redgrave. She has pursued the family business with uncommon class and distinction. On Broadway—in Anna Christie, Closer, A Streetcar Named Desire and especially in her Tony-winning turn as Sally Bowles in Cabaret—her work has been elegant, smart and forceful. She is all too suddenly missed.
Shakespeare’s words from Cymbeline cascade to mind:
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.