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Celebrities mourn with star at Natasha Richardson wake

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Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson

Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson

Vanessa Redgrave dressed for her lead role in the film "Isadora', talks with her daughter Natasha, in 1967

Vanessa Redgrave dressed for her lead role in the film "Isadora', talks with her daughter Natasha, in 1967

Liam Neeson leaves Lenox Hill Hospital in New York

Liam Neeson leaves Lenox Hill Hospital in New York

Antonio Neeson, second from right and his brother Daniel Jack Neeson, left, sons of actress Natasha Richardson leave Lenox Hill Hospital in New York

Antonio Neeson, second from right and his brother Daniel Jack Neeson, left, sons of actress Natasha Richardson leave Lenox Hill Hospital in New York

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

British actress Vanessa Redgrave, center, poses with her daughters actresses Natasha Richardson, left, and Joely Richardson

British actress Vanessa Redgrave, center, poses with her daughters actresses Natasha Richardson, left, and Joely Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Vanessa Redgrave and her husband, film director Tony Richardson, with their first child, week-old daughter Natasha, 1963

Vanessa Redgrave and her husband, film director Tony Richardson, with their first child, week-old daughter Natasha, 1963

Liam Neeson's  wife Natasha Richardson

Liam Neeson's wife Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson

Natasha and Liam

Natasha and Liam

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Natasha Richardson

Celebrities mourned the loss of Natasha Richardson as they joined her grieving husband Liam Neeson at a private wake for the actress on Friday.

The 57-year-old Ballymena-born actor spent more than six hours with family and friends including Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes at the wake in New York on Saturday as an array of famous mourners came to express their sadness at her death following a skiing accident.

As her family made preparations for Ms Richardson’s funeral, theatres in London’s West End dimmed their lights in a symbolic tribute to the stage and screen star who died on Wednesday.

Neeson, who was the last to leave the private wake at New York’s American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan, was joined by the couple’s sons — Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12 — as well as Richardson’s mother, Vanessa Redgrave, and sister, Joely Richardson.

An array of stars including Thurman, Fiennes, Matthew Broderick, Ethan Hawke, Rupert Everett, Mike Nicholls, Diane Sawyer, Matthew Modine and Sarah Jessica Parker also came to offer their condolences.

Earlier, Broderick said: “Natasha was a very close friend of our family, so it’s been a very, very sad few days and I think it will stay that way for a good while.”

Neeson cut a heart-wrenching figure as he walked from the family's Upper West Side apartment across Central Park with a companion just before 2pm for the wake which ran until 9pm that night.

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A crowd gathered behind police barricades outside the occasion as Neeson, his two sons, and in-laws hosted the commemoration described as “very respectful” by Mathilde Krim, founding chairman of the AIDS research organisation amFAR, a charity for which Ms Richardson had served on the board of trustees since 2006.

Describing Neeson as “a man who was drained”, Krim said, like many of the guests at the wake, she was too upset to get a word out when she went to sympathise with him.

“We only embraced,” she said.

She said Ms Richardson looked “incredibly beautiful”.


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