March 17, 2009 / 12:34 PM / 10 years ago

Natasha Richardson badly hurt in ski fall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actress Natasha Richardson, a member of Britain’s Redgrave theatrical dynasty, was severely injured while skiing at a Canadian resort and was returning to New York on Tuesday with her husband, actor Liam Neeson, according to media reports.

Actress Natasha Richardson looks at her husband Liam Neeson as they arrive for the Conde Nast Traveler's annual readers choice award show in New York City in this file photo from October 16, 2006. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The New York Post, New York Daily News and London’s Evening Standard newspapers all said Richardson, 45, the daughter of the actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave, suffered a life-threatening brain injury. The Post and Daily News reported the actress was being transferred to New York.

Richardson was skiing at the Mont Tremblant resort, about 75 miles north of Montreal, when she fell on Monday during a private skiing lesson. The resort said the actress appeared to be in good condition after the fall but later felt unwell. She was taken first to a local hospital and then to the Montreal hospital.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said Richardson left Canada on Tuesday afternoon on a private plane, accompanied by medical staff.

Her British and U.S. representatives declined comment.

Richardson and Neeson own homes in Manhattan and in Millbrook, New York, a community north of the city.

Richardson was treated at Montreal’s Hopital du Sacre-Coeur. A hospital spokeswoman said an agent for the family told her the actress had left Canada. She did not know Richardson’s condition.

Oscar-nominated Neeson, who was filming in Toronto, flew to be with his wife in Montreal, some media reports said. Neeson and Richardson have two sons, aged 12 and 13.

The resort said that after the fall Richardson’s instructor called a ski patrol who took her to the bottom of the hill.

“She seemed to be fine and had no obvious injuries,” resort spokeswoman Lyne Lortie told French-language public broadcaster Radio-Canada. Patrol members escorted her back to the hotel and later called an ambulance after noticing she was not well.

Lortie said she was surprised by reports of a serious head injury because Richardson “spoke without any confusion, she knew where she was, she was in full control of herself.”

Richardson, whose father was the director Tony Richardson, followed her family’s footsteps into a career on stage and screen.

Perhaps best known in popular culture for playing Lindsay Lohan’s mother in the 1998 remake of the Disney movie, “The Parent Trap,” Richardson has been equally at home on New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. She won a Tony award, Broadway’s highest honor, in 1998 for her role in the musical “Cabaret.”

Richardson met Neeson on the set of the Jodie Foster film drama “Nell,” and they married in July 1994.

Corin Redgrave, Richardson’s uncle, told London’s Evening Standard newspaper: “I have heard this morning from a family representative about Natasha’s accident and am very saddened.”

Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Kate Kelland in London and Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles, editing by Patricia Zengerle

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