Natasha Richardson, the Tony Award-winning British actress, died Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan where she had been transported from Sacré Coeur Hospital in Montreal. Richardson received head trauma in a fall in a beginners' area known as the flats at Mont Tremblant, Canada Monday. She was taking a private lesson and was not wearing a helmet.
Richardson, 45, is married to actor Liam Neeson. His publicist, Alan Nierob, confirmed her death in this written 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," the statement read.
A Mont Tremblant spokesperson told the Montreal Gazette Richardson was walking around and apparently feeling fine for an hour after the accident.
The ski instructor was reportedly at her side in seconds and she did not hit anything before coming to a stop, nor was there any visible sign of injury -- no cuts or bleeding. Two ski patrollers assisted her, but she was not put on a stretcher. She walked to her room at the Quintessence Hotel and the patrollers reportedly stayed with her for an hour.
Richardson began to have headaches, and The Gazette reports she was transported to nearby Centre Hospitalier Laurentian. She was later transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Sacré Coeur Hospital in Montreal.
She is the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson. She has appeared in more than 30 movies, including The Parent Trap, Maid in Manhattan, Narnia Chronicles, and Nell. She won her Tony in 1998 for her role in a reprisal of Cabaret on Broadway. She was set to appear in a revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music with her legendary mother. Neeson reportedly immediately left the set of a film he was making in Toronto to be with her.
(Editor's Note: A tragedy such as this begs the question of whether her life could have been spared had she been wearing a helmet. That answer, of course, is debatable. OnTheSnow will carry an analysis of the helmet question in a special story next week.)