Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Actress / Producer / Soundtrack

Natasha Jane Richardson was born in Marylebone, London, England, to director and producer Tony Richardson and actress Vanessa Redgrave. She was the sister of actress Joely Richardson, the niece of actors Corin Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave, and the granddaughter of actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.

Trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, Richardson performed extensively on stage in roles, including “Helena” in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Ophelia in “Hamlet” at the Young Vic. In 1986, she garnered the London Drama Critics’ Most Promising Newcomer Award for her performance as “Nina” in “The Seagull”, with Vanessa Redgrave and Jonathan Pryce. In 1987, she played “Tracey Lord” in Richard Eyre’s musical, “High Society”.

Natasha made her feature film debut as Mary Shelley in Ken Russell’s Gothic (1986). Her performance caught the attention of director Paul Schrader, who cast her in the title role in Patty Hearst (1988). Natasha achieved notable success in such films as Pat O’Connor’s A Month in the Country (1987), Roland JoffĂ©’s Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) and The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish (1991), featuring Bob Hoskins and Jeff Goldblum. For her performance in Volker Schlöndorff’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1990) and Schrader’s The Comfort of Strangers (1990), Richardson earned The London Evening Standard Award for Best Actress of 1990; and for Widows’ Peak (1994), also starring Mia Farrow and Joan Plowright, she received the Best Actress Award at the 1994 Karlovy Vary Festival.

In 1995 she co-starred with Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson in Nell (1994) and, in 1998, in The Parent Trap (1998) with Dennis Quaid. Her early 2000s films include Blow Dry (2001) released in 2001, and Ethan Hawke’s Chelsea Walls (2001).

Natasha performed the title role of “Anna Christie”, first in London, where she was voted London Drama Critics’ Best Actress Award in 1992, then on Broadway at the Roundabout in 1993, where she was nominated for a Tony for Best Actress in a Play, a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Debut of an Actress, and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress. For her performance as Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes’ production of “Cabaret”, she won the 1998 Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Drama Desk Awards for Best Actress in a Musical. She then appeared on Broadway in Patrick Marber’s Tony-nominated play “Closer”. In December 2009 she had been intended to play “Miss Julie” on Broadway with Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by David Leveaux for Roundabout Theatre.

Richardson’s television credits included Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts” for the BBC, also starring Judi Dench, Michael Gambon and Kenneth Branagh; the HBO cable feature Hostages (1992); the BBC film Great Performances: Suddenly, Last Summer (1993), based on the play by Tennessee Williams, and also starring Maggie Smith and Rob Lowe. In 1993 she starred as Zelda Fitzgerald in the TNT movie Zelda (1993), co-starring Timothy Hutton and directed by Pat O’Connor (cable Ace nomination for Best Actress). She played Ruth Gruber in the 2001 CBS mini-series Haven (2001) based on Ms. Gruber’s autobiography.

In March 2009, Natasha died in a New York City hospital, after falling and receiving a head injury whilst skiing in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. Natasha was married to actor Liam Neeson from 1994 until her death, and the couple have two children.

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