Family gathers around Natasha Richardson
Actress in serious condition after skiing accidentUPDATE: Natasha Richardson dies at 45
NEW YORK -- Members of Natasha Richardson's family gathered at a New York hospital where the Tony-winning actress was reportedly taken with a serious head injury after falling on a Canadian ski slope.
Richardson, 45, part of the Redgrave dynasty of British actors and the wife of Liam Neeson, was flown from Montreal to New York on Tuesday after the accident, a person close to the family, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Richardson's condition was very serious and her family was highly distressed, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing two people close to her family who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
A reporter from the Toronto Star earlier reported seeing a distraught Neeson crouched inside the back of an ambulance at Montreal's Sacre-Coeur hospital as Richardson, wrapped in blankets and with tubes covering her face, was loaded inside. Neeson immediately left the Toronto set of his upcoming movie, "Chloe," to be by her side in Montreal, a publicist for the film said.
Later that evening, a somber looking Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, was seen in photographs walking into Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Two boys, identified in photos as her sons, Micheal Richard Antonio Neeson and Daniel Jack Neeson, and a young woman identified as niece Daisy Bevan were seen leaving the hospital early Wednesday. It couldn't be determined what Richardson's condition was, or what she was being treated for.
Richardson is the elder daughter of Oscar-winning Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson. She fell during a private lesson Monday at the famed Mont Tremblant ski resort.
"We know that she has had an accident but we really do not know any more details," said Kika Markham, who is married to Richardson's uncle, Corin Redgrave. "We are very concerned."
A statement from the Mont Tremblant resort said Richardson fell on a beginners trail and later reported not feeling well.
"She did not show any visible sign of injury but the ski patrol followed strict procedures and brought her back to the bottom of the slope and insisted she should see a doctor," said the statement from the resort, about 80 miles northwest of Montreal.
The ski resort said the instructor and a member of the ski patrol accompanied Richardson to her hotel, where they again recommended she be seen by a doctor. Mont Tremblant spokeswoman Catherine Lacasse said Richardson said she seemed fine at first.
"An hour later she said she didn't feel well. She had a headache, so we sent her to the hospital," Lacasse said. "There were no signs of impact and no blood, nothing."
The New York Times quoted Lyne Lortie, a spokeswoman for Mont Tremblant, as saying Richardson wasn't wearing a helmet.
Richardson's films include "Gothic," "A Month in the Country," "Nell" (in which she appeared with her future husband), "The Parent Trap" and "Maid in Manhattan."
Trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, Richardson has had extensive stage experience in the West End and Broadway. She won a Tony in 1998 for playing Sally Bowles in a revival of "Cabaret."
Her maternal grandparents were the actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, and her uncle Corin and aunt Lynn Redgrave are both actors. Sister Joely Richardson is also an actress, best known for starring in the TV series "Nip/Tuck."
In January, Richardson and her mother played the roles of mother and daughter in a one-night benefit concert version of "A Little Night Music," the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical, at Studio 54 in New York.
She married Neeson in 1994, and the couple have two sons, aged 13 and 12.