Natasha Richardson - REST in PEACE

May 11, 1963- March 18, 2009

A scion of the Redgrave acting dynasty, Natasha Richardson has offered impressive performances in a handful of (mostly uneven) film and TV appearances, often employing a flawless American accent. Initially fearful of charges of nepotism, she nonetheless made her film debut at age four, playing a bridesmaid to her mother Vanessa Redgrave in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1968), directed by her father Tony Richardson. Remaining in England after her parents' divorce, she trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and honed her craft in repertory in Leeds. Richardson landed the role of Nina in a touring production of "The Seagull" in 1985, a role in which her mother first made her mark. Unexpectedly, when the production was brought to London, Vanessa Redgrave and Jonathan Pryce joined the cast, forcing Richardson to work with her mother. Stung by comments she overheard in the lobby ("Did you notice her copying her mother's mannerisms?"), the younger actress has attempted to distance herself professionally from her family. As such, Richardson proved a fine and capable stage player, bringing charm and a surprising vocal command to the singing role of Tracy Lord in a West End staging of "High Society" (1986), alongside Stephen Rea. She made her NYC debut reprising the role of "Anna Christie", picking up several accolades, including a Tony nomination, and later marrying her co-star Liam Neeson. In 1998, after a respite to give birth to two sons, she returned to work as Sally Bowles in an environmental staging of "Cabaret". Critics were rapturous in their praise for Richardson who managed to obliterate memories of Liza Minnelli's film performance. Once again, she earned a Tony nomination for her work. In her film and TV work, the swan-necked, smoky-voiced champagne blonde actress often was cast in roles that combine a seductiveness with nervous, even neurotic, emotional tension. Just as he had guided Vanessa Redgrave in "The Devils" (1971), Ken Russell cast Richardson in the role of Mary Godwin in "Gothic" (1987), which she invested with calm and sanity in light of the overblown horrors around her. She was appropriately sensual as a vicar's wife in Pat O'Connor's underrated "A Month in the Country" (also 1987) and offered a stunning portrayal of heiress-turned-terrorist "Patty Hearst" (1988) in Paul Schrader's biopic. "The Comfort of Strangers" (1990) cast her as half of a torpid pair of tourists whose lives and persons are violated during a stay at a stranger's Italian villa. On the small screen, she excelled in two 1993 portraits of emotionally unstable Southern women: Catharine Holly in the remake of Tennessee Williams' "Suddenly, Last Summer" (PBS) and as "Zelda" (TNT), the mentally ill wife of American author F Scott Fitzgerald. More recently, she teamed onscreen with husband Neeson as doctors examining a "wild child" (Jodie Foster) in "Nell" (1994) and was the ex-wife of Dennis Quaid whom their twin daughters try to reunite in the remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap" (1998). As she has come in to her own as a person and a performer, Richardson now seems ready to tackle working again with members of her famous family. In 2001, Richardson starred in the Emmy-nominated TV Movie "Haven" as Ruth Gruber, an American woman who helped save the lives of 1000 Jews in Europe during WWII. She also had a role in "Chelsea Walls," a somber, experimental film directed by Ethan Hawke. In 2002, Richardson had a featured role in the comedy "Waking Up in Reno" about two couples who travel to Reno for a monster truck convention, and was particularly noticeable as an obnoxious blue-blooded New York socialite in the Jennifer Lopez vehicle, "Maid in Manhattan." Richardson then served as executive producer, as well as lead actress, for the dour period drama, “Asylum” (2005). She played a bored 1950’s housewife who falls in love with an asylum patient (Marton Csokas) under the care of her husband (Hugh Bonneville), the hospital’s forensic psychologist.

* Born:
May 11, 1963 in London, England
* Job Titles:
Actor

Family

* Aunt: Lynn Redgrave. born on March 8, 1943
* Cousin: Jemma Redgrave.
* Father: Tony Richardson. died of complications from AIDS on November 14, 1991
* Grandfather: Michael Redgrave. born in 1908; died from Parkinson s disease in 1985 at age 77
* Grandmother: Rachel Kempson. born in 1910
* Half-brother: Carlo Sparanero. born in 1969
* Mother: Vanessa Redgrave. born on January 30, 1937
* Sister: Joely Richardson. born on January 9, 1965
* Son: Daniel Jack Neeson. born on August 27, 1996; father, Liam Neeson
* Son: Micheal Richard Antonio Neeson. born on June 22, 1995 in Dublin, Ireland; father, Liam Neeson
* Uncle: Corin Redgrave. born on July 16, 1939

Education

* Central School of Speech and Drama, London, England
* St Paul s Girls School, London, England

Milestones

* 1968 Feature acting debut, at age four, as a bridesmaid of Vanessa Redgrave in The Charge of the Light Brigade , directed by her father Tony Richardson
* 1984 American TV acting debut, the CBS miniseries Ellis Island
* 1984 Film acting debut in Every Picture Tells a Story
* 1985 West End debut opposite mother, Vanessa Redgrave, in a revival of Anton Chekhov s The Seagull
* 1986 Starred in the London stage production of High Society , adapted from the Cole Porter film
* 1987 Portrayed Mary Godwin in Ken Russell s Gothic
* 1987 Starred opposite Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth in A Month in the Country , directed by Pat O Connor
* 1988 Had title role in Paul Schrader s Patty Hearst
* 1990 Played opposite Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway in The Handmaid s Tale
* 1993 Broadway debut opposite Liam Neeson and Rip Torn in a revival of Eugene O Neill s Anna Christie ; received Tony Award nomination
* 1993 Cast in title role of Zelda , a TNT biopic of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the Southern wife of American author F Scott Fitzgerald; directed by Pat O Connor
* 1993 Had role of Catharine Holly in the PBS presentation of Suddenly, Last Summer
* 1994 Appeared alongside Neeson and Jodie Foster in Nell
* 1998 First film in four years, The Parent Trap
* 1998 Returned to NYC theater in Cabaret , staged by Sam Mendes in an environmental setting; received Tony nomination
* 2001 Had featured role in the screen comedy Blow Dry
* 2001 Starred in the based-on-fact CBS miniseries Haven
* 2002 Cast as a New York socialite in Maid In Manhattan
* 2002 Had featured role in ensemble comedy Waking Up in Reno
* 2005 Starred opposite Ian McKellen in the psychological thriller Asylum
* 2007 Appeared alongside her mother, Vanessa Redgrave in the ensemble film, Evening
* Began career in regional theater with Leeds Playhouse
* Joined the New Shakespeare Company


R.I.P. Natasha, You'll be truly missed. Thank You for bring us Smiles, and Laughter..