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.
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”.