Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson injured in accident

New York, NY-4/22/08-7th Annual Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair Party at the State Supreme Courthouse -PICTURED:Drena DeNiro, Natasha Richardson

Natasha Richardson treated for brain injury after falling on bunny slope

Natasha Richardson faced a tragic final curtain Tuesday night as her heartbroken family gathered in New York to say farewell to the Tony Award-winning actress.
Felled by a skiing accident, Richardson had "been on life support since this morning," a source close to the family said yesterday. "She is brain-dead."
Her husband, actor Liam Neeson, and their two sons, Michael, 13, and Daniel, 12, were with her.
So was Richardson's mother, legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave. Richardson's sister, actress Joely Richardson, was also helping them deal with this "absolutely dire and terrible" situation, the source said.
Late last night, Joely fought back tears and declined to comment as she took her stricken sister's sons into Lenox Hill Hospital, where Natasha was on a ventilator.
It was a sudden, tragic finale for the 45-year-old actress, whose late father was Oscar-winning director Tony Richardson.
What made the loss even harder to accept was that Richardson didn't appear to be badly hurt when she wiped out while skiing on a bunny slope at a Canadian resort Monday afternoon.
Her sons were with her at the time. Richardson, laughing at her own clumsiness, refused at first to go to a doctor, witnesses said.
Tuesday night, there were tears as Richardson's family prepared to follow the heart-crushing choreography that goes with making the decision to let a loved one go.
"The rule of thumb is: You have two neurological exams, 12 hours apart, to show that there is no evidence of higher brain activity," said Dr. Philip Stieg, chairman of New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell's department of neurological surgery.
"If that is so, the patient is brain-dead; they are clinically dead."
At that point, he said, "The family has two options:
"You turn off the ventilator, the heart will stop beating, and that is it," he said. Or, the family can keep her alive a bit longer "and allow them time to say goodbye."
The tragedy sent shock waves down Broadway.
Richardson won her Tony in 1998 for playing Sally Bowles in "Cabaret." She is "theater royalty," said William Ivey Long, who designed her costumes.
"Natasha is strong, but when you hear about something so horrible you think about those vulnerable characters" she has played, Long said.
"Natasha is one of the greatest actresses of her generation," added Todd Haimes, artistic director of the Roundabout Theatre Company. "Incredibly sweet, gracious."
Richardson has another strong tie to Broadway - she met her husband when they starred together in "Anna Christie."
At the time of her accident, she had been preparing to co-star with her mother in a Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music."
Over at the Cafe Luxembourg on Amsterdam Ave., one of Neeson and Richardson's favorite haunts in Manhattan, maitre d' Travis Bloom said she will be sorely missed.
"Him and Natasha, their family are regulars here," Bloom said. "They are incredibly sweet, very gracious, a very unassuming group of people. Our hearts go out to their family in this troubled time."
A novice skier, Richardson was hurt after she fell at 3 p.m. Monday at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec.
Richardson did not appear to be seriously hurt, but the ski patrol took her by sled to the bottom of the hill.
"She showed really no visible sign of injury and she was talking and showed absolutely no sign of confusion," said Lyne Lortie, a spokeswoman for the resort.
"It was right in the middle of the slope so she didn't hit anyone or a tree. It was a fall as anyone can do. It wasn't a violent fall at all."
The instructor and members of the ski patrol accompanied Richardson to her room, where she again refused to call a doctor.
"She said she was fine," another spokeswoman, Catherine Lacasse, said. "She had a headache, she had no signs of impact, no bleeding." An hour later, Richardson had a pounding headache and "agreed to call an ambulance," Lacasse said.
The actress was not wearing a helmet when she fell into what appeared to be soft, wet snow, Lacasse said.
"We recommend it, but there's no law that obliges people to wear helmets," she said.
Neeson rushed to her side
Richardson was taken to a Montreal hospital, and before she was wrapped in blankets and flown to New York - joined by a medical team - the Internet was swarming with uncorroborated reports that she was at death's door.
Neeson, her husband of 15 years, was shooting a movie in Toronto when he learned his wife was hurt and flew immediately to Montreal. Tuesday, he accompanied the British-born star on her final journey home.
A Toronto Star newspaper reporter who saw Richardson being loaded into the ambulance wrote that she was "lying heavily wrapped in blankets in an intensive care bed" with "tubes covering her face."
Experts said she exhibited the classic symptoms of a subdural hematoma, or bleeding between the brain and the skull.
One minute, the victim appears to be fine. Then, as the tiny brain bleed turns into a torrent, the patient quickly succumbs - often within the span of an hour.
Neeson, 56, starred in "Schindler's List."
Richardson starred in such movies as "The Handmaid's Tale," "Patty Hearst" and "The Parent Trap." Most recently, she was on TV as a guest judge on the Bravo hit "Top Chef."
With Elizabeth Hays, Kerry Burke, Heidi Evans, Erica Pearson and Karen Rivera


Blogger Coffee Maker said...

Natasha Richardson really was a charming actress in so many ways; she will be missed

10:58 PM  

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