Taking Natasha Richardson off life support was arguably the most challenging decision Liam Neeson has made in his life. The silver lining was that his wife’s death saved three people.
“Schindler’s List” star Liam Neeson has had an impeccable career in the entertainment industry. Sadly, he lost his first (and only) wife, Natasha Richardson, over a decade ago.
Her unexpected death left him and their children in a state of shock, especially because she was in a coma for a couple of days. Here’s what happened to Richardson and how she saved the lives of three people after her death.
Born in May 1963, Natasha Richardson was an English actress best known for portraying the title character in “Patty Hearst” in 1988. Apart from working in Hollywood, Richardson was also a respected Broadway actress who even took home a Tony Award.
Her love story with Liam Neeson began on Broadway. They worked together in the early 1990s theater production of “Anna Christie.” Even though she was married to Producer Robert Fox, they felt attracted to each other.
At the time, Richardson and Fox’s marriage was already falling apart. The late actress once admitted that her romance with Neeson was “kind of bad timing” because of the state of her marriage, but she genuinely fell in love with Neeson.
Additionally, Neeson once confessed he had never felt such an “explosive chemistry” with another actor or actress. As a result, it soon became evident to him that they were meant for each other.
However, Neeson was a ladies’ man and not that committed to their relationship. On her 30th birthday, he merely sent her a letter from the “Schindler’s List” set with a joke about how she was catching up with him.
She didn’t think the joke was funny as it was more like a card a “buddy” would send. Richardson then asked what their relationship was, and that’s when he knew he was in love with her. He explained:
“That was when I knew I really loved this person. I thought, ‘This is real and genuine and is something that has to be protected.'”
In 1994, Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson tied the knot on a farm in New York. They welcomed their first child, Micheál, in the spring of 1995, and their second son, Daniel, was born in 1996.
At the moment, Micheál and Daniel are involved in showbiz. Micheál made his acting debut in 2013’s “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” and has even worked with his famous father a few times, including in 2019’s “Cold Pursuit.”
When Neeson made it to the hospital, Richardson was already on life support.
On the other hand, Daniel graduated from Tulane University in 2019 and worked in the special effects department of “Suicide Is Easy” in 2014. He also owns an environmentally friendly clothing line and a tequila brand.
Unfortunately, Micheál and Daniel have been motherless since their teenage years as Richardson tragically and unexpectedly passed away in 2009.
NATASHA RICHARDSON’S ACCIDENT
On March 16, 2009, 45-year-old Richardson was at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Québec, Canada. She was taking ski lessons at the beginners’ trail when she fell and hit her head against the hard-packed snow. She had no helmet on.
Even though she didn’t think much of the fall, her instructor asked the ski patrol to ensure she was fine. They called an ambulance, but she insisted she was okay and signed a waiver to decline medical help.
Natasha Richardson returned to her hotel room after walking about 300 yards with her ski instructor, who went with her to make sure she was fine.
She then called Liam Neeson, who was working in Toronto, telling him about the fall. She started having headaches and showing signs of confusion, so she called another ambulance.
Once at the hospital, her vital signs seemed fine, and she could breathe with help from oxygen, but her orientation skills worsened. A couple of hours later, another ambulance took her to a Montréal trauma center.
When Neeson made it to the hospital, Richardson was already on life support. The X-rays revealed her brain was being pushed against the side of the skull. Doctors informed the actor that Richardson was brain-dead.
Neeson didn’t want to be “wallowing in sadness or depression” for his son’s sake.
NEESON AND RICHARDSON’S PACT
As hard as it was, Neeson remembered the pact he and his wife once made. They promised to “pull the plug” if the other ended up in the situation Richardson was at that moment. He said:
“I told her I loved her, said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this, you’ve banged your head’ […] that was my immediate thought, ‘Okay, these tubes have to go. She’s gone.'”
On March 18, 2009, Richardson passed away. An autopsy later revealed the head bump caused an epidural hematoma – blood pools between the brain and the skull.
Neeson once confessed that his wife’s death never felt real. Still, he was proud that she donated three of her organs – her heart, kidneys, and liver – so three people were saved because of her.
COPING WITH NATASHA RICHARDSON’S DEATH
The actor has been candid about how challenging coping with Richardson’s passing has been. He admitted the grief hit him like a wave, and he sometimes struggled with feelings of instability.
Apart from that, he threw himself into work to get through the worst times. In the nine years following her death, he appeared in 34 movies. Neeson revealed that he didn’t want to be “wallowing in sadness or depression” for his son’s sake.
Micheál once admitted his mother’s death put him in a “head spin.” Given that it was so sudden and the result of an accident, it messed with his mind.
He revealed he just held onto the “tiny little memories” – like her laugh, energy, or cooking – to get by. Apart from that, Micheál was grateful that his mom worked in so many films because he could watch her alive and well in them.
Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson’s eldest son pointed out that she was a terrific mother and that Daniel was his dad’s boy, but he was his mom’s boy. Rest in peace.