Family members of Natasha Richardson returned to a New York hospital where the Tony Award-winning actress was reportedly taken with a serious head injury after falling on a Canadian ski slope.
Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson’s mother, arrived in a car with darkened windows and was taken through a garage when she arrived at the Lenox Hill Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at around 5 PM Wednesday. An hour earlier, Richardson’s sister, Joely, arrived alone and was swarmed by the media as she entered through the back of the hospital.
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.
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.
As reporters and photographers waited outside the hospital for word on Richardson’s condition, some passers-by stopped and expressed their sorrow over the turn of events.
One passer-by, Adrienne Cleere, said she was going to light a candle for the actress at a Roman Catholic church near the hospital.
“Everyone should pray for their two sons,” she said.
A reporter from the Toronto Star reported seeing a distraught Neeson crouched inside the back of an ambulance Tuesday at Montreal’s Sacre-Coeur hospital as Richardson, wrapped in blankets and with tubes covering her face, was loaded inside. Neeson had 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 was seen in photographs walking into Lenox Hill. 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. Richardson’s condition and the specifics of her injury could not immediately be determined.
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.”
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. 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; their sons are 13 and 12.