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Actress Natasha Richardson dies after ski fall

AWARD-WINNING actress Natasha Richardson, a member of Britain's Redgrave acting dynasty, died yesterday at age 45 after a suffering a severe injury in a skiing accident in Canada earlier this week.

Richardson had been hospitalized in New York since Tuesday, surrounded by her husband, actor Liam Neeson, her two sons Michael, 13, and Daniel Jack, 12, and members of her immediate family.

"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," family spokesman Alan Nierob said in a statement.

Richardson followed her mother, Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave, and her father, film director Tony Richardson, into a career on stage and screen in England and in the United States. She won Broadway's Tony Award for playing Sally Bowles in the musical "Cabaret."

Richardson was injured on Monday when she fell during a private ski lesson at the Mont Trembant resort, about 75 miles (120 km) north of Montreal.

A spokeswoman for the resort said she appeared to be in good condition after the fall but her instructor called a ski patrol to take her to the bottom of the hill.

About an hour later, she complained of severe headaches and was admitted to a local medical facility before eventually being transferred to the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York where her family rushed to be with her.

Several media reports said she had suffered a severe head trauma, but that could not be immediately confirmed. Nierob's statement did not mention a cause of death.

Richardson was born in London in May 1963, and she trained at the city's prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama.

She was perhaps best known worldwide for film roles that included playing a young Lindsay Lohan's mother in the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap" and for her role in the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy "Maid in Manhattan."

But first and foremost she was a theater actress, equally at home on the stages of London's West End and New York's Broadway. She won a most promising newcomer award in 1986 for her London performance in "The Seagull," opposite her mother, then went on to win the Tony in 1998 for her role as songstress Bowles in "Cabaret."

Early in her career, she starred in "Patty Hearst," a 1988 drama about the U.S. newspaper heiress abducted by radicals.

She enjoyed a prolific television career, as well, with starring roles in the BBC production of Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts" and the 2001 CBS mini-series "Haven."

Her latest movie role was as a strict English boarding school headmistress in the 2008 teen comedy "Wild Child."

Richardson met Neeson, 56, on the set of the Jodie Foster film drama "Nell." The couple married in July 1994 and had two sons. Her first marriage, to filmmaker Robert Fox, lasted two years.

Richardson's sister is the "Nip/Tuck" star, Joely Richardson, and she is the granddaughter of the late British actor Sir Michael Redgrave and the niece of actors Lynn and Corin Redgrave.


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