Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Liam Neeson on Natasha Richardson; first interview about wife's death

Natasha Richardson and her husband Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson with mum Kitty
Liam Neeson with mum Kitty
Liam with fellow Freemen Ian Paisley (left) and Syd Millar
Liam with fellow Freemen Ian Paisley (left) and Syd Millar

Ballymena-born Liam Neeson has said the tragic death of his wife still doesn't seem real – five years after she was killed in a skiing accident.

The Schindler's List and Taken actor says he continues to struggle with grief over the loss of Natasha Richardson, and still expects her to walk through the door.

He also reveals that Natasha is helping to keep three people alive because her organs were donated following her death in March 2009.

Neeson, who starred in box office hits such as Schindler's List and Taken, was speaking in an interview to be aired on US television tomorrow night.

It comes less than a month before he marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Natasha, who fell during a ski lesson at the Mont Tremblant resort in Canada.

The couple married in 1994 and had two sons – Michael and Daniel.

In the interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, Neeson also discusses the moment he was told Natasha would not survive.

The 61-year-old recalled how he arrived at a Canadian hospital to be told by doctors that Richardson was brain dead after her accident. "She was on life support... I went in to her and I told her I loved her, I said 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this, you've banged your head'," he said.

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He said that even today, he expects her to come walking through the door.

"[Her death] was never real," he told interviewer Anderson Cooper. "It still kind of isn't.

"There's periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening... I still think I'm going to hear her."

Neeson told Cooper his grief is less immediate but still a part of his life.

Although he still struggles with her death, Neeson spoke of his pride that the family decided to donate her organs.

"She donated three of her organs, so she's keeping three people alive at the moment. Her heart, her kidneys and her liver.

"It's terrific and I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that," he added.

PROFILE

Born in Ballymena, Liam Neeson originally wanted to be a teacher. He earned Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor for his role in Schindler's List. He made his Broadway debut in Anna Christie, in which he co-starred with his future wife Natasha Richardson, who he married in 1994. Neeson was awarded an OBE in 1999.

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