Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Natasha Richardson: true daughter of the theatre

Natasha Richardson was a member of one of the UK's great theatrical dynasties.





The 45-year-old daughter of Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson, she appeared in several Hollywood films but was best known for her work on the stage.

Her sister is actress Joely Richardson and she was married to Irish film star Liam Neeson, with whom she had two sons.

Mr Neeson was filming in Canada when his wife had the accident that lead to her death.

The couple met while she was playing the title role in Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie on Broadway in 1993 and married a year later.

Speaking of her marriage, she once told the Independent: "We have a joke that I see the glass half full and he sees it half empty.

"He's more laid back, happy to see what happens, whereas I'm a doer and I plan ahead. The differences sometimes get in the way but they can be the very things that feed a marriage too."

Born in May 1963, Richardson was educated at St Paul's Girls School in London and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Her extensive experience on stage included a number of Shakespearean roles, among them Ophelia in Hamlet and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In 1986 she won the London Drama Critics' most promising newcomer award for her performance as Nina in The Seagull alongside her mother.

Richardson won the Tony award for best actress in a musical for her performance as Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes' production of Cabaret on Broadway in 1998.

On the big screen, she featured in the 1998 film The Parent Trap as well as Maid In Manhattan (2002) with Jennifer Lopez.

Despite her family's reputation for guarding their privacy fiercely, Richardson spoke candidly about her life.

She movingly described her devastation at her father's death and, in 2003, told how work rolled in after she had a nose job.

She said she inherited her father's prominent nose and casting directors were put off because it did not photograph well.

Richardson told Tatler: "I'd never considered changing my nose. It was just part of me and any issues I had about myself were to do with my weight.

"So I asked my mum and she said 'Don't be silly, darling - look at Barbra Streisand.

"I thought 'Bloody hell. I'm not Barbra Streisand.' Then I asked my dad and he said 'Oh, I'm so pleased you mentioned it, darling. I've been meaning to say something for some time'."

After going under the knife she soon landed roles in Patty Hearst, The Comfort Of Strangers and The Handmaid's Tale.

Richardson's television credits include Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, which was screened on the BBC.

In 2005, she starred alongside her mother and her aunt, Lynn Redgrave, in the James Ivory film The White Countess.

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