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Also Known As: Natasha Jane Richardson Died: March 18, 2009
Born: May 11, 1963 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England Profession: actress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A scion of the Redgrave acting dynasty, Natasha Richardson has offered impressive performances in a handful of (mostly uneven) film and TV appearances, often employing a flawless American accent. Initially fearful of charges of nepotism, she nonetheless made her film debut at age four, playing a bridesmaid to her mother Vanessa Redgrave in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1968), directed by her father Tony Richardson. Remaining in England after her parents' divorce, she trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and honed her craft in repertory in Leeds. Richardson landed the role of Nina in a touring production of "The Seagull" in 1985, a role in which her mother first made her mark. Unexpectedly, when the production was brought to London, Vanessa Redgrave and Jonathan Pryce joined the cast, forcing Richardson to work with her mother. Stung by comments she overheard in the lobby ("Did you notice her copying her mother's mannerisms?"), the younger actress has attempted to distance herself professionally from her family. As such, Richardson proved a fine and capable stage player, bringing charm and a surprising vocal command to the singing role of Tracy Lord in a West End staging of...

A scion of the Redgrave acting dynasty, Natasha Richardson has offered impressive performances in a handful of (mostly uneven) film and TV appearances, often employing a flawless American accent. Initially fearful of charges of nepotism, she nonetheless made her film debut at age four, playing a bridesmaid to her mother Vanessa Redgrave in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1968), directed by her father Tony Richardson. Remaining in England after her parents' divorce, she trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and honed her craft in repertory in Leeds. Richardson landed the role of Nina in a touring production of "The Seagull" in 1985, a role in which her mother first made her mark. Unexpectedly, when the production was brought to London, Vanessa Redgrave and Jonathan Pryce joined the cast, forcing Richardson to work with her mother. Stung by comments she overheard in the lobby ("Did you notice her copying her mother's mannerisms?"), the younger actress has attempted to distance herself professionally from her family. As such, Richardson proved a fine and capable stage player, bringing charm and a surprising vocal command to the singing role of Tracy Lord in a West End staging of "High Society" (1986), alongside Stephen Rea. She made her NYC debut reprising the role of "Anna Christie", picking up several accolades, including a Tony nomination, and later marrying her co-star Liam Neeson. In 1998, after a respite to give birth to two sons, she returned to work as Sally Bowles in an environmental staging of "Cabaret". Critics were rapturous in their praise for Richardson who managed to obliterate memories of Liza Minnelli's film performance. Once again, she earned a Tony nomination for her work. In her film and TV work, the swan-necked, smoky-voiced champagne blonde actress often was cast in roles that combine a seductiveness with nervous, even neurotic, emotional tension. Just as he had guided Vanessa Redgrave in "The Devils" (1971), Ken Russell cast Richardson in the role of Mary Godwin in "Gothic" (1987), which she invested with calm and sanity in light of the overblown horrors around her. She was appropriately sensual as a vicar's wife in Pat O'Connor's underrated "A Month in the Country" (also 1987) and offered a stunning portrayal of heiress-turned-terrorist "Patty Hearst" (1988) in Paul Schrader's biopic. "The Comfort of Strangers" (1990) cast her as half of a torpid pair of tourists whose lives and persons are violated during a stay at a stranger's Italian villa. On the small screen, she excelled in two 1993 portraits of emotionally unstable Southern women: Catharine Holly in the remake of Tennessee Williams' "Suddenly, Last Summer" (PBS) and as "Zelda" (TNT), the mentally ill wife of American author F Scott Fitzgerald. More recently, she teamed onscreen with husband Neeson as doctors examining a "wild child" (Jodie Foster) in "Nell" (1994) and was the ex-wife of Dennis Quaid whom their twin daughters try to reunite in the remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap" (1998). As she has come in to her own as a person and a performer, Richardson now seems ready to tackle working again with members of her famous family. In 2001, Richardson starred in the Emmy-nominated TV Movie "Haven" as Ruth Gruber, an American woman who helped save the lives of 1000 Jews in Europe during WWII. She also had a role in "Chelsea Walls," a somber, experimental film directed by Ethan Hawke. In 2002, Richardson had a featured role in the comedy "Waking Up in Reno" about two couples who travel to Reno for a monster truck convention, and was particularly noticeable as an obnoxious blue-blooded New York socialite in the Jennifer Lopez vehicle, "Maid in Manhattan." Richardson then served as executive producer, as well as lead actress, for the dour period drama, "Asylum" (2005). She played a bored 1950's housewife who falls in love with an asylum patient (Marton Csokas) under the care of her husband (Hugh Bonneville), the hospital's forensic psychologist.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Wild Child (2009)
3.
 Evening (2007)
4.
5.
 Asylum (2005) Stella Raphael
6.
 White Countess (2005)
7.
 Waking Up in Reno (2002) Darlene Dodd
8.
 Maid in Manhattan (2002) Caroline Lane
9.
 Chelsea Walls (2001) Mary
10.
 Blow Dry (2001) Shelley Allen
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1968:
Made film debut at the age of four in a film directed by her father, "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; also starred her mother Vanessa Redgrave
:
Began career in regional theater with Leeds Playhouse
:
Joined the New Shakespeare Company
1984:
American TV acting debut, the CBS miniseries "Ellis Island"
1984:
Film acting debut in "Every Picture Tells a Story"
1985:
West End debut opposite mother, Vanessa Redgrave, in a revival of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull"
1986:
Starred in the London stage production of "High Society"
1987:
Portrayed Mary Godwin in the Ken Russell film, "Gothic"
1987:
Co-starred with Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth in "A Month in the Country"; directed by Pat O'Connor
1988:
Played the title role in the biographical film directed by Paul Schrader, "Patty Hearst"
1990:
Starred with Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway in "The Handmaid's Tale"
1993:
Had role of Catharine Holly in the PBS presentation of "Suddenly, Last Summer"
1993:
Re-teamed with director Pat O'Connor to play the title role in "Zelda," a TNT biopic about the Southern wife of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald
1993:
Made Broadway debut starring opposite Liam Neeson in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie"; received Tony Award nomination
1994:
Appeared alongside Neeson and Jodie Foster in "Nell"
1998:
Returned to the NY stage to play Sally Bowles in the Sam Mendes-Rob Marshall helmed revival of "Cabaret"
1998:
First film in four years, "The Parent Trap"
2001:
Had featured role in the screen comedy "Blow Dry"
2001:
Starred in the based-on-fact CBS miniseries "Haven"
2002:
Had featured role in the ensemble comedy "Waking Up in Reno"
2002:
Cast as a New York socialite in "Maid In Manhattan"
2005:
Starred opposite Ian McKellen in the psychological thriller "Asylum"
2005:
Cast as Blanche DuBois in a revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" opposite John C. Reilly
2007:
Appeared alongside her mother, Vanessa Redgrave in the ensemble film, "Evening"
2009:
Played the roles of mother and daughter, opposite Vanessa Redgrave, in a one-night benefit concert version of "A Little Night Music" at Studio 54 in New York
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

St. Paul's Girls School: -
Central School of Speech and Drama: London , England -

Notes

She was named after the heroine in "War & Peace"

"Who's the mom and who's the daughter in that family can get to be a perplexing business." --agent Sam Cohn on the atypical relationships in the Redgrave family, from PARADE November 7, 1993

"Question: Has your realtionship with your mother always been good?

Richardson: We went through some difficult times when I was a young child, when she was more politically involved than she is now. But now we're really close."

--from DAILY NEWS, March 15, 1998

"I love my family and I feel priviliged to come from it. But sometimes there's an idea that it's like royalty in some way. What a load of crap! We're a family of working actors, It's like coming from a family of carpenters or plumbers who work in the family business, generation after generation, that's all. Because it's acting it makes it more public, but we're worker bees, not royalty lying back on the couch. It's a really tough profession that has big perks and big priviliges, but you also have to constantly expose yourself to rejection, criticism and humiliation." --Richardson to DAILY NEWS, March 15, 1998

"Straightaway I am confronted by the gross unfairness of what might be called Natasha's dilemma. For most of her life, she has been portrayed as Vanessa's daughter. Now she is Liam's wife. Truly the resemblance to her mother is spooky. Though smaller and slimmer, the same finely drawn features stare back, For a moment, as I listen to her speak, all caressing cadences ending in trembly drifts, it could be an impersonation. Then I realise that I am making the mistake of seeking the similarities rather than noting the differences." --Noreen Taylor writing in THE TIMES, March 16, 1998

"I could write you a book on why not to get involved with an actor. Because anybody who is good at what they do gets totally obsessed by it to the exclusion of other people. Because of the physical distance often involved. Because careers sometimes move at different rates. Because, oh God, there are so many reasons I never, never wanted to be involved with an actor. Ever. [Of course] that was before I met MY actor." --Natasha Richardson to MOVIELINE, December 1994

After her the death of her father, director Tony Richardson, she discovered the manuscript of his autobiography which was published under the title "Long Distance Runner".

About her father, Richardson told AMERICAN FILM in March 1990: "He likes to give advice and is one of my strongest critics, ruthless in telling me what's not good enough, By the same token, he tells me when something is great. I really know he means that, and he also thinks in terms of career and things like that,"

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Robert Fox. Producer. Married on December 16, 1990; separated in 1993; divorced in 1994.
husband:
Liam Neeson. Actor. Worked together in a Broadway revival of "Anna Christie" (1993); married on July 3, 1994.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Michael Redgrave. Actor. Born in 1908; died from Parkinson's disease in 1985 at age 77.
grandmother:
Rachel Kempson. Actor. Born in 1910.
mother:
Vanessa Redgrave. Actor. Born on January 30, 1937.
father:
Tony Richardson. Director. Died of complications from AIDS on November 14, 1991.
uncle:
Corin Redgrave. Actor. Born on July 16, 1939.
aunt:
Lynn Redgrave. Actor, author. Born on March 8, 1943.
sister:
Joely Richardson. Actor. Born on January 9, 1965.
half-brother:
Carlo Sparanero. Director. Born in 1969.
cousin:
Jemma Redgrave. Actor.
son:
Micheal Richard Antonio Neeson. Born on June 22, 1995 in Dublin, Ireland; father, Liam Neeson.
son:
Daniel Jack Neeson. Born on August 27, 1996; father, Liam Neeson.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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