Michaél Richardson was only 13 when his mom, actress Natasha Richardson died. Now he’s 28 and following in the footsteps of his mother and famous Irish father Liam Neeson. He speaks lovingly of his mother and says he wishes he could have “adult conversations” with her.
In has been almost 15 years since she died in a tragic skiing accident. Her son Michaél said he still keeps her memory alive in a very special way. Keep scrolling to read his emotional interview on the subject.
The award-winning actress Natasha Richardson, the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave, died in March 2009 at age 45 after suffering a severe brain injury while skiing in Canada.
Natasha was with her 13-year-old son Michaél when she fell on a beginners’ slope during a private ski lesson at a resort about 75 miles north of Montreal, Quebec.
The Wild Child actor refused treatment after her fall and insisted she was okay.
Escorted to her hotel room, she then called her husband, who at the time was filming in Toronto.
Neeson recalled the conversation where she said she’d “taken a tumble in the snow.”
Three hours later, the Handmaid’s Tale actor complained of massive headaches and was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with severe brain trauma.
Neeson, who left filming to be at her side, shared one of the last things he said to his wife of 15 years: “Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s…I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s…this is what’s gone down.” The star of Taken, who’s remained single since, continued, “We’re bringing you back to New York. All your family and friends will come.”
Richardson died the next day, surrounded by her husband, her two sons Michaél, 13, and Daniel, 12, and members of her immediate family, including her mother, actress Vanessa Redgrave.
“I think the pain was a little too overwhelming. I think the mind is very powerful, and subconsciously, or unconsciously, it can protect you. That’s what it did when she passed. I just pushed it aside and didn’t want to deal with it.” Michaél said. “It was so sudden. When it’s unexpected and it’s just a complete freak accident, it really sort of messes with your mind.”
In addition to having a superstar as a dad, Michaél’s mom was part of a British acting dynasty that dates back to the 1800s. Acting was a natural path for Michaél.
Michaél channeled his pain into the 2020 film Made in Italy, where he plays the on-screen son of his real-life father. In the comedy-drama, the father-son duo are navigating the loss of a wife and mother and go to intense emotional places where the “parallels were so apparent…that it felt like my mom, in a spiritual sense, had a hand in it.”
And acting, especially in films with his father, allows him to remember Natasha “and to go through the grief, and properly heal.”
“It can send you for a bit of a head spin, and so you just latch on to the tiny little memories, whether it’s her laugh or her energy in the room or her cooking. I do have her films to go back and watch her in, which I’m incredibly grateful for.” Michaél said.
Miachaél, who admits to not having seen every movie his parents made, said he does have his favorites.
With his dad, it’s Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Schindler’s List that earned the star his best-actor Oscar nod.
From his Tony Award-winning mother’s catalog of performances, Michaél chooses the 1998 Disney remake of The Parent Trap, where Natasha stars as the loving mom to a young Lindsay Lohan.
“Just based off of who she is and how I remember her, it has to be The Parent Trap. That’s more or less what she was like. She was this sweet, amazing mother figure–my best friend. She had these amazing, big welcomes when we’d come home or she would come home. I’m so lucky because I have her captured on film.” It is so bittersweet; while it is heartbreaking that all he has of his mother are the films she acted in, it is also a blessing that he atleast has something to remember her by.
Richardson’s longtime friend, Andy Cohen–the host of Watch What Happens Live– also relates her role as the devoted British mom on The Parent Trap to her real-life character.
“You watch her in The Parent Trap, and she’s kind of playing the perfect mother…That’s reminiscent of how she was as a mom.” Cohen continued, “She was not a checked-out superstar. She was involved and engaged and wonderful and loving. I mean, I think of her every day. So, I can’t imagine being her son and losing her. It’s heartbreaking to me still.”
Michaél, who’s keeping his mother’s memory alive by honoring her family legacy in film, is credited with the TV series Big Dogs and a leading role in the 2021 film On Our Way, where he stars with his grandmother Redgrave. He can also be seen in The Rising: 1916, an upcoming film about the Easter Rising Rebellion in Ireland.
And his biggest wish is that he could share his experiences with his mom.
“She was a terrific, terrific mother. What I wish is I could have just these adult conversations with her, these random questions about the industry or music.”
It is so sweet that Michaél Richardson selected The Parent Trap as his favorite film starring his mom! He is fortunate that he has something to remember her by and can see her alive in the films she did.
What are your favorite Natasha Richardson films? Let us know in the comments!
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