Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Jumaat, Mac 20, 2009

#306. Tribute : A Look Back At Natasha Richardson's Impressive Career

The accomplished actress made her mark on stage and screen. As news of actress Natasha Richardson's death spread on Thursday, and tributes poured in from former colleagues, her fans and friends were left with more questions than answers. How could such a seemingly minor accident result in death? Could anything have been done differently?

But as those questions are sorted out in the weeks and months to come, Richardson has left behind an impressive body of work.

Born into acting royalty — her mother was "Julia" Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave, father was the Oscar-winning director of "Tom Jones," Tony Richardson, and sister Joely Richardson currently stars on "Nip/Tuck" — Natasha trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and got into the family business in the mid-'80s. After winning the London Drama Critics' Most Promising Newcomer Award for her performance in the play "The Seagull" alongside her mother, she landed her first substantial movie role playing Mary Shelley in director Ken Russell's biographical thriller "Gothic."

Richardson gave one of her finest performances under the direction of "Taxi Driver" writer Paul Schrader; once again getting biographical, she starred opposite a young Ving Rhames, playing kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in the 1988 film of that name. In 1989, she appeared opposite Paul Newman and John Cusack in "Fat Man and Little Boy," a criminally underrated Roland Joffé drama about the creation of the world's first atomic bomb.

As her career really began to take off, several significant events in Richardson's life would begin to take the actress away from the silver screen with increased frequency. There were two marriages, first to "The Hours" producer Robert Fox in 1990, and then to Oscar-winning actor Liam Neeson in 1994. Also during this time period came the AIDS-related death of her father in 1991, which began a lifelong crusade for the actress, as she would join multiple groups and collect millions of dollars to battle the disease in the years to come. Coupled with her continued love for the stage (she won the London Drama Critics' Best Actress Award for "Anna Christie" in 1993), Richardson was seen less and less by film buffs.

The beautiful actress roared back in the mid-'90s, however, starring opposite Jodie Foster in the Oscar-nominated drama "Nell." In the film, Richardson played a psychology student eager to study an isolated woman raised in the backwoods of North Carolina. The movie cast her opposite future husband Neeson.

Although commercial fare would follow in the years to come — she played the mother of two Lindsay Lohans in the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap" and a socialite in the 2002 Jennifer Lopez vehicle "Maid in Manhattan" — Richardson never abandoned her love for the acting craft. In 2001's too-often-overlooked "Chelsea Walls," she worked alongside Rosario Dawson and Vincent D'Onofrio in the trippy, experimental directing debut of Ethan Hawke.

Natasha Richardson's greatest career achievement, however, came on the stage. In 1998, she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, starring in a revamped version of "Cabaret" that was co-directed by "American Beauty" filmmaker Sam Mendes and "Memoirs of a Geisha" director Rob Marshall. In 2005, she'd appear on stage for the last time as Blanche DuBois in a revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire," opposite John C. Reilly.

Her final film, the Emma Roberts comedy "Wild Child," is expected in theaters later this year. In 2007, Richardson appeared opposite Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, Toni Collette and her mother Vanessa Redgrave in the drama "Evening." The film cast her among a who's who of actresses, as Richardson held her own in one of her final films.

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