( b. May 11, 1963 London, ENGLAND - d. Mar 18, 2009 New York, New York, USA ) Female
Natasha Richardson, a Tony Award winner for her performance in Cabaret and a member of Britain's most exalted acting family, died March 18 following a skiing accident in Canada.
Ms. Richardson had recently participated in a gala reading of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music to benefit the Roundabout. Richardson played the role of Desirée Armfeldt with her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, as Madame Armfeldt.
The blonde actress possessed a luminous, open-faced attractiveness quite in contrast to the more reserved, classical beauty of her mother. Her large long-lashed eyes radiated a natural sparkle and her mobile mouth often broke into a disarming grin. Both actresses, however, were amply endowed with talent. Onstage, Ms. Richardson had an easy sensuality and natural exuberance, as well as an inner vulnerability. Those qualities suited her well as Sally Bowles in the dark and celebrated Sam Mendes-Rob Marshall revival of Cabaret in 1998. She won a Tony Award for her performance.
She returned to Broadway the next year in Patrick Marber's caustic play about modern relations between men and women, Closer, netting a Drama Desk Award nomination; and in the 2005 Roundabout Theatre Revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Natasha Richardson was born on May 11, 1963, into a clan steeped in theatre history. Her father was director Tony Richardson, and her grandparents were Olivier contemporary Michael Redgrave and actress Rachel Kempson. She called Lynn Redgrave aunt and Corin Redgrave uncle. Unsurprisingly, she entered the family business at an early age.
She made an uncredited film debut at the age of four in a movie directed by her father, 1968's "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, she began her professional stage career at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, England. In 1985 Ms. Richardson made a splash in the West End appearing as Nina opposite her mother's Arkadina in a revival of The Seagull. For her work, she won the London Drama Critics' Most Promising Newcomer Award. But she recalled the experience as "scary. The first day, I was suddenly aware that I'm on the stage with this overwhelming actress. It made me want to run and hide."
Soon after, she played Ophelia in Hamlet and starred in a London stage production of High Society, adapted from the Cole Porter-scored film.
Her Broadway debut, in a 1993 Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, proved momentous well beyond winning her plaudits and her first Tony Award nomination. The smoldering chemistry that critics spotted between her and her co-star Liam Neeson was only partly acted; the two were married in 1994. The on-stage courtship has since become one of the most-cherished tales of theatre-born romance in Broadway history. "Theatre has been very good to me," she said. "It gave me Liam and it gave me a Tony."
Films soon followed her success on stage. Among them were "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Comfort of Strangers," "Nell" with Neeson, and, perhaps most famously, a 1998 remake of the film comedy "The Parent Trap," in which she played mother to a young Lindsay Lohan.”
As an adult, she spent as much time in America as England. Talking in 1993, she said. "Do I think of myself as English? I don't feel very English. I don't. There are things that I love about Europe, but I find with American people there is an energy and an enthusiasm you don't find in Europe. I respond to that."