About Natasha Jane Richardson
She was an English-born American stage and screen actress. A member of the Redgrave family, she was the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director/producer Tony Richardson and the granddaughter of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Early in her career she portrayed Mary Shelley and Patty Hearst in feature films, and she received critical acclaim and a Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut in the 1993 revival of Anna Christie. She won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance as Sally Bowles in the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret. Some of her notable films included Patty Hearst (1988), The Handmaid's Tale (1990), Nell (1994), The Parent Trap (1998) and Maid in Manhattan (2002).
Her first marriage to filmmaker Robert Fox ended in divorce in 1992. In 1994 she married Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson, whom she had met when the two appeared in Anna Christie. The couple had two sons, Micheál and Daniel. Richardson's father died of AIDS-related causes in 1991. She helped raise millions of dollars in the fight against AIDS through the charity amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Richardson died in 2009 following a head injury sustained when she fell during a skiing lesson in Quebec.
Richardson was born and raised in London, a member of the Redgrave family, known as a theatrical and film acting dynasty. She was the daughter of director and producer Tony Richardson and actress Vanessa Redgrave, granddaughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, sister of Joely Richardson, half sister of Carlo Gabriel Nero, niece of actress Lynn Redgrave and actor Corin Redgrave, and cousin of Jemma Redgrave.
Richardson's parents divorced in 1967. The following year, she made her film debut at the age of four in an uncredited role in The Charge of the Light Brigade, directed by her father.
Richardson was educated in London at two leading independent schools, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington, London and St. Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, London, before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Richardson's first marriage to filmmaker Robert Fox lasted from 1990 to 1992. She married Irish actor Liam Neeson in the summer of 1994 at the home they shared near Millbrook, New York; she had taken American citizenship. Richardson and Neeson have two sons: Micheál (born 1995) and Daniel (born 1996). Richardson helped raise millions of dollars in the fight against AIDS; her father, director Tony Richardson, died of AIDS-related causes in 1991.
Richardson was actively involved in amfAR, becoming a board of trustees member in 2006, and participated in many other AIDS charities including Bailey House, God's Love We Deliver, Mothers' Voices, AIDS Crisis Trust and National AIDS Trust, for which she was an ambassador. Richardson received amfAR's Award of Courage in November 2000.
A long-time smoker although she had reportedly quit smoking, Richardson was an outspoken opponent of the ban on smoking in New York City restaurants.