Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson Dies at 45

Earlier today, I wrote about the medical misfortunes that have been afflicting people in the acting profession.

One of the people I mentioned, Natasha Richardson, has passed away at the age of 45. She was the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and the late Tony Richardson. She was the wife of actor Liam Neeson.

As I mentioned earlier today, she was taking a skiing lesson at a Quebec resort on Monday and fell. At first, she appeared to be all right, but she experienced head pain and was taken to a hospital in Montréal. On Tuesday, she was transferred to a larger medical center in New York. At last report, her family was at her side and she was in critical condition.

At some point today, the decision apparently was made to take her off life support. Doctors say this is not an unusual occurrence. People with severe head injuries can appear to be perfectly fine after the incident, but it is not unusual for their conditions to suddenly deteriorate.

I knew her situation was dire, but I really didn't expect her to slip away so quickly.

I probably haven't felt this shocked since Princess Diana was killed in 1997. And, like Princess Diana, Richardson leaves behind two young sons.

Tonight, I've been reading Richard Corliss' superb tribute to Richardson in TIME. If, like me, you can't initially recall many of her screen performances, they will come back to you when you read this piece.

And it concludes with an all-too-human observation: "Her loved ones don't care that Natasha Richardson was famous, and a child of fame," writes Corliss, "only that she is gone."