March 18th, 2009
11:28 PM ET

Mourning Natasha Richardson

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.natasha.richardson.obit.jpg]
David Puente
AC360° Producer

When I got in today it looked like I’d be working on a couple of AIG segments. As I started making some calls and listening to the Liddy hearings I was told to switch tracks, my assignment was then to write the Natasha Richardson segment instead.

I'll be honest; when I first heard of her skiing accident I didn't know her work very well. But of course I was familiar with the legendary acting dynasty to which she belonged.

Her mother is the Oscar winning actress Vanessa Redgrave. Her father, the late director Tony Richardson, also received an Oscar. But Natasha Richardson’s work spoke for itself. In 1998 she won a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. And she appeared in films like "Maid in Manhattan" and the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap". In 1994 she co-starred with actor Liam Neeson in the film "Nell". The couple married that same year and then had two sons, Michael, now 13, and Daniel, 12.

This family clan – so often brought together under the bright lights of a stage or the cameras – has come together this week in New York to face a tragic time.

The family released little information throughout this ordeal. The family spokesman’s last statement: “Liam Neeson, his sons, and the entire family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Natasha. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”

Filed under: 360° Radar • David Puente
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. GF, Los Angeles

    One thing I've learned from her death is that I'll be buying a helmet the next time I hit the slopes. Natasha did not die in vain. My condolences to her family and friends.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio


    Anderson’s tribute to Natasha Richardson last night was beautiful and the 360 coverage of her death was touching and respectful.

    I was familiar with Ms. Richardson’s work; I remember seeing "Nell" at the theater years ago and I have always been a fan of Liam Neeson’s.

    All deaths are sorrowful, but when you hear about the unexpected death of someone so young it makes you stop and re-examine your priorities, which sometimes get lost in everyday living.

    There is a Native American proverb that says, “They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind.” Natasha Richardson will live on in the hearts of those who love her.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  3. Dorothy Cook

    I am aware of the reputation of Kansas residents but I have to tell
    we were all aware of the AIG bonusus that were handed out and
    we knew about them weeks ago. Doesn't anyone in Washington
    listen or read the news? Now I want to alert you to the fact that two
    days ago I became aware of Fannie and Freddie planning to award
    bonus payments to employees and management with the bailout
    money they will get. In a month or two I don't expect to hear our
    government say they were not aware of Fannie and Freddie award-
    ing bonus.

    March 19, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  4. Heather,ca

    It is always so incredibly sad when someone dies before their time. I feel terrible for her children who will grow up without their mother. Or her husband who is now a single parent. They will have to make decisions without being able to talk to her. I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was a teenager and it was as if someone had taken part of me and I have never been the same. Who knows what the future held for her. But her family must now find its way. I hope that their privacy is respected and they are able to find the strength to live their lives and follow their dreams even while mourning her.

    March 19, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  5. Sandra Robertson, Ga.

    Life is so fragile, so fleeting. To Natasha Richardson's family and friends, always remember the laughter, the fun times and the dreams you shared. This is what gets us through each day, one day at a time. May God Bless and comfort you now and forever.

    Thank you CNN for your compassionate reporting.

    March 19, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  6. Ann Fenn

    My deepest sympathies to Mr. Neeson and his boys. My heart just broke when I heard the news- here is a woman of class who did not disgrace her profession or her family, who performed with elegance and lived with grace and style. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    March 19, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  7. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    She was truly beautiful. God Bless her and her family.

    March 19, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  8. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    This is truly heartbreaking and sad. My prayers go out to her family .The acting world will never be the same again .

    March 19, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  9. Modesty

    So sad. Bless the hearts of her and her family!

    March 19, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  10. Mike Mundt

    It seems that everyone is making such a big deal about getting the money back with respect these bonuses... When the solution is simple: 1 – deduct the money you want to get back from the next government installment, 2 – Make sure the law that transfers the money doesn't allow bonuses above a set limit (twice the average per capita income), 3 – get back to work looking for other problems and distributing the funds to the citizens.....

    March 19, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  11. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    My deepest sympathies to Liam Neesen and his sons.

    March 19, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  12. Andrea

    I was very saddened to hear about Natasha's passing. She was a very talented actress who was very loving to her fans, and to her family. I never got the chance to see her on stage, but I did see some of her movies. She will be missed by everyone who got the chance to see her films and stage work. Kudos to CNN for handling the tragedy with grace and style, the way that Natasha was in her short life.

    March 19, 2009 at 7:42 am |
  13. KBailey

    My heart breaks for the family of this great actress. Loosing someone to illness is sad enough, but loosing someone to such an accident is horrifying.

    May her family and friends find comfort in knowing that at least for a short while she was with them on earth.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:35 am |
  14. Staci Ann Blank

    My pain for Natashas family cuts deep. She was a humble and beautiful woman. The two things that are permeating my mind right now are.....If you have someone out there that you love, tell them . Don't procrastinate because they may be gone tomorrow and you will live with major regret. I have for a long time and it never lets go. Secondly, wear a helmet when your skiing, boarding, biking etc. It may not save you but it will most certainly make a dent in these painful and tragic loses.

    My profound sympathies go to Natahas's family.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:12 am |
  15. Tarja, Finland

    I wish strength to Natasha`s family and to all their friends.
    I`m very saddend by this.Life is fragile. You can loose it in so many ways and in a split second.
    I lost a friend 2008, not because of an accident but illnesses which were not supposed to be life threatening but which needed careful medication-but still she was found dead. She was 43.
    It was shocking to hear about it and I attended her funeral with my brother who was her classmate.
    I totally understand the feelings and the sadness Anderson is going thorough.
    My heart is there with you.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:22 am |
  16. John Blaisdell

    Yes, this is quite likely an epidural hematoma, though an acute subdural hematoma is another possibility. Epidural develops when there is disruption of the middle menningeal artery often from a fracture of the temporal bone. Since the bleeding is arterial, time is truly essential. Transferring her to a hospital in New York was not wise, but the circumstances of this action has not been detailed. Relieving the bleeding from an epidural hematoma is very easy and does not involve delving into the brain substance...just the space immediately under the skull proper. This condition is taught to clinicians early in medical school, always remembered and I have seen it just once over 40 years. This would have to be done in Montreal, my view, but details are lacking.

    John Blaisdell, MD

    March 19, 2009 at 5:17 am |
  17. Robert

    I am sorrowful and sympathetic of the fact that we have lost a tremendously talented performer, loving wife and parent at such a horrific international time of major concerns.
    I feel saddened by the fact that this had to occur at a time when our media should be directing more attention toward the fact that "celebrity" must take a backseat to matters of more concern both domestically and internationally.
    I wish Liam and family much Love, Hope and Prosperity through all of the obstacles they will encounter in the current time.

    March 19, 2009 at 4:53 am |
  18. Sara Ball

    Of course, my heartfelt sympathy to Ms. Richardson's family. My prayers and thoughts are with her and her family.

    I would like to express a experience. that you may want to address to parents of children, that when I was 8 years old, my brother and I were playing "Cowboys and Indians", he bound my feet and my hands, He went upstairs, I wan't to show off, so I followed him......needless to say, I fell, and because, my hands and feet were bound, I fell straight back. I was rushed to Emgerency, Calgary at that time did not have a Neoro-sr I, playing "cowboys and indians

    March 19, 2009 at 2:46 am |
  19. lisaonline

    i was so, so sad to hear the news about Natasha Richardson.

    Anderson's tribute to Natasha was very moving – to simply say "i'm sorry for your loss" seems so hollow.

    i just loved her in "The Parent Trap" - she brought a certain energy to whatever she did that kept you mesmerized and riveted. and what a beautiful voice - shivers.

    her family and friends will be in my thoughts during this difficult time.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:45 am |
  20. steve

    i think it is so sick when a government can give billions of dollars to big banks,so there cos can get richer than what they are now on our money.then turn around and is trying to cut benefits for the vets,with out them we would not be here. we owe all we have to our vets but some seams to forget and don't care.some times i am ashamed to be an American.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:23 am |
  21. jackie sauer

    Her gentle grace will be missed.

    March 19, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  22. Michele

    I just wanted to express my sadness at the loss of such a wonderful actress and the work that she has done. My prayers are with the family . As a fan of the work she has done, I will miss the light she always brought to the screen. A real star and person that seemed to have a wonderful and happy union with her husband and family. May her family find peace and remember the wonderful times they were giving to have her in there lives. I will remember her always. Tonight for this fan the world is a little darker. May we all take the time to look around and express our love to all our family and loved ones, you never know when it might be the last. Many prayer and love sent to the Richardson family.

    (Just a fan)

    March 19, 2009 at 2:11 am |
  23. sallie mills

    Words escape us as we learned of this tragic loss of such a beautiful human being, a wife a mother and a family closely united and radiant , flowing with love. It will be a great loss for the world who took pleasure in seeing this wonderful couple, obviously in love!

    We are all in shock as we feel we really knew her from her great works, never realized we had seen so many of her movies!

    In you time of sorrow, we hope that you will find the strength to forge forward and lovingly remember her indelible mark oh the entire family, especially the boys.

    Our prayers go out to the family,
    Sallie Mills,
    West Palm Beach Fl

    March 19, 2009 at 1:47 am |
  24. debra anne kordziel

    i am a big fan of natasha and i am only just hearring about this on your page.my heart & prayers go out to her family & dearest friends:(

    March 19, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  25. Shawn Quinn

    What happened here is a tragedy. I agree. A simple fall.

    What I don't understand is.
    Why would you transport someone with a fresh brain trauma in a jet to New York? She wasn't in that good of a shape when she got to Sacre-Coeur Hospital from what I gather. With the pressure's involved with flying in a jet, moving a patient around like that. It's not like she was in a 3rd world country hospital in Montreal to start with. I just question the rush to move her in a jet.

    Truly sad,

    Shawn Quinn

    March 19, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  26. Don, WA

    I'll be honest too David, I did'nt know her work at first either (which speaks to her privacy, and devotion to family I think), but then realized her in the works mentioned. Typed words on blogs seem "matter of fact"in these moments – but they are not really...a person types them with feeling. All I can say is that I believe candles keep glimmering on after the flame has encountered a wind.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:13 am |
  27. Sharon Crow

    my family is saddened by the sudden death of Natasha Richardson.. our hearts ache for her family and friends. we have been told, everything happens for a reason.. for us.. my husband and I will never ride our motorcycles again without putting on a helmet..

    March 19, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  28. Leanne

    Life is so precious, but so often taken for granted.

    Natasha was truly a remarkable young individual, with beautiful spirit and light that truly shone from within. My heart goes out to her two young sons, Liam and her family. One will never understand the WHY? when these things happen, all we can do is love, cherish and enjoy every precious moment with those were hold dear. Natasha’s work with amfAR has been unbelievable and contributions will be unforgettable.

    May her family and friends find comfort that her beautiful spirit will live on through two young sons and Liam.

    Natasha, may you find Peace as you leave us tonight.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:52 am |
  29. May-Tennessee

    My thoughts and prayers are with Liam Neeson, he and Natasha's sons, and their family. What a tragedy that such a beautiful and talented woman should die from what was initially thought to be a minor head injury...very scary to think about. She will be sadly missed by many.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:50 am |
  30. a mourning fan

    So sorry for her family's loss. breaks my heart. what a great talent and woman to lose her life so young. RIP Natasha.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  31. Lori

    I am so sorry to hear this. I was a fan of her work. The world has lost someone special! My thoughts an prayers go out to her family!

    March 19, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  32. Carla

    Natasha Richardson was a wonderful actress; but more importantly she was a beloved wife, mother and daughter and she will be deeply mourned and missed. Our hearts and prayers are with her family and may your many loving memories carry you through this most difficult of times.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:16 am |
  33. Kim Wallace

    How tragic. My heart goes out to her sons and husband. Words cannot express the lonliness they will feel from her absence.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:15 am |
  34. prettyblkgyrl

    I was truly saddened when I heard of her passing – primarily because this event really made me sit back & think of how vulnerable we all are to those little things that happen in life. It wasn't as if she fell from an insanely high height or lost consciousness immediately after the fall. It was more or less a slip & fall. And she didn't exhibit any signs or symptoms of a head injury until hours later. & that is what I just can't reconcile. How does something that seems so minor have such a tragic outcome?

    I can't even begin to imagine how devastating this loss must be to her friends & family. They will definitely be in my thoughts & prayers.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  35. Lynn-Ann

    My thoughts and prayers go to Liam, Michael & Daniel during this difficult time.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:10 am |
  36. June Stone

    My condolences and prayers go out to the family of Natasha Richardson. She will be truly missed.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  37. Robert Courtney In Herndon VA

    May God bless the Richardson family and may He protect and carry the great sorrow felt by her young boys, mother and husband. Rest in peace Natasha.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  38. Kelsey Burd

    the cinematic world won't be the same. RIP, ma'am, and peace be with her family and friends.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:03 am |
  39. tiffany

    RIP Natasha Richardson

    Condolences to Liam Neeson and her sons, and family.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  40. Rick

    My prayers go out to the family during this very difficult time.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:52 pm |