Actress Natasha Richardson 'critically ill'

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The Independent Online

The British actress Natasha Richardson was hospitalized after falling on a beginner's trail at the famed Mont Tremblant ski resort during a lesson, the resort and published reports said today.

IrishCentral.com reported that the Tony Award-winning actress and wife of Liam Neeson was in critical condition with a head injury.

Producers confirmed that Neeson immediately left the Toronto set of his upcoming movie, "Chloe," for Montreal, a publicist for the film said in an e-mail.

British actress Natasha Richardson was in critical condition in a Montreal hospital after being severely injured in a skiing accident in Quebec, according to published reports.



It was later reported that she had been taken from the hospital for a flight to a US hospital.



People.com and IrishCentral.com reported that the Tony award-winning actress and wife of Liam Neeson suffered a head injury.

People.com said Richardson was initially taken to a hospital near the luxury Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec, and was later transferred to the Montreal hospital.

A family member confirmed Richardson had had a skiing accident.

"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."

Mont Tremblant issued a statement that said Richardson fell in a beginners trail while taking a ski lesson and later reported not felling 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," the statement said.

The ski resort said as an additional precautionary measure, the ski instructor as well as the ski patrol accompanied Richardson to her hotel where they again recommended she should be seen by a doctor.

"Approximately an hour after the incident Mrs. Richardson was not feeling good," the statement said.

An ambulance was called and Richardson was brought to the Centre Hospitalier Laurentien in Ste-Agathe and was later transferred to a hospital in Montreal.

Mont Tremblant spokeswoman Catherine Lacasse said Richardson was getting a private lesson and that she said she was 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."

An employee at Hôpital du Sacre-Coeur in Montreal said they did not have a Richardson at the hospital after initially saying they did early Tuesday.

Richardson, 45, is the elder daughter of Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave and the late director Tony Richardson, and belongs to a British acting dynasty.

Her maternal grandparents were the actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, and her uncle Corin and aunt Lynne Redgrave are also both actors. Sister Joely Richardson is also an actress, best known for starring in TV series "Nip/Tuck."

Richardson's films include "Gothic," "A Month in the Country," "Nell" — in which she appeared with future husband Liam Neeson — "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 Award in 1998 for playing Sally Bowles in "Cabaret."

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 the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York.

She married Neeson in 1994, and the couple has two sons.

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