Richardson's family gathers near injured actress

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NEW YORK (AP) - Members of Natasha Richardson's family gathered at aNew York hospital where the Tony-winning actress was reportedly takenwith a serious head injury after falling on a Canadian ski slope.

Richardson,45, part of the Redgrave dynasty of British actors and the wife of LiamNeeson, was flown from Montreal to New York on Tuesday after theaccident, a person close to the family, who asked not to be identifiedbecause of the sensitivity of the matter, told The Associated Press onTuesday.

Richardson's condition was very seriousand her family was highly distressed, The New York Times reportedWednesday, citing two people close to her family who spoke on thecondition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak toreporters.

A reporter from the Toronto Starearlier reported seeing a distraught Neeson crouched inside the back ofan ambulance at Montreal's Sacre-Coeur hospital as Richardson, wrappedin blankets and with tubes covering her face, was loaded inside. Neesonhad immediately left the Toronto set of his upcoming movie, "Chloe," tobe by her side in Montreal, a publicist for the film said.

Laterthat evening, a somber looking Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother,was seen in photographs walking into Lenox Hill Hospital in New YorkCity. Two boys, identified in photos as her sons, Michael RichardAntonio Neeson and Daniel Jack Neeson, and a young woman identified asa niece, Daisy Bevan, were seen leaving the hospital early Wednesday.It couldn't be determined what Richardson's condition was, or what shewas being treated for.

Richardson is the elderdaughter of Oscar-winning Redgrave and the late director TonyRichardson. She fell Tuesday during a private lesson Monday at thefamed Mont Tremblant ski resort.

"We know thatshe has had an accident but we really do not know any more details,"said Kika Markham, who is married to Richardson's uncle, CorinRedgrave. "We are very concerned."

A statement from the Mont Tremblant resort said Richardson fell on a beginners trail and later reported not feeling well.

"Shedid not show any visible sign of injury but the ski patrol followedstrict procedures and brought her back to the bottom of the slope andinsisted she should see a doctor," said the statement from the resort,about 80 miles northwest of Montreal.

The skiresort said the instructor and a member of the ski patrol accompaniedRichardson to her hotel, where they again recommended she be seen by adoctor. Mont Tremblant spokeswoman Catherine Lacasse said Richardsonsaid she seemed fine at first.

"An hour later shesaid she didn't feel well. She had a headache, so we sent her to thehospital," Lacasse said. "There were no signs of impact and no blood,nothing."

The New York Times quoted Lyne Lortie, a spokeswoman for Mont Tremblant, as saying Richardson wasn't wearing a helmet.

Richardson'sfilms include "Gothic," ''A Month in the Country," ''Nell" (in whichshe appeared with her future husband), "The Parent Trap" and "Maid inManhattan."

Trained at London's Central School ofSpeech and Drama, Richardson has had extensive stage experience in theWest End and Broadway. She won a Tony in 1998 for playing Sally Bowlesin a revival of "Cabaret."

Her maternalgrandparents were the actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, andher uncle Corin and aunt Lynn Redgrave are both actors. Sister JoelyRichardson is also an actress, best known for starring in the TV series"Nip/Tuck."

In January, Richardson and her motherplayed the roles of mother and daughter in a one-night benefit concertversion of "A Little Night Music," the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheelermusical, at Studio 54 in New York.

She married Neeson in 1994, and the couple have two sons, aged 13 and 12.


Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London, Amy Luft in Montreal and Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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