Britain continues to sustain high levels of theatrical excellence, perhaps because Brits are intrinsically theatrical, but more likely because schools and theatres remain strong training grounds and because merit, not absurd notions of equality, still prevail on the stage and screen.
Actress Natasha Richardson, who died yesterday after a fall skiing, had to contend with a famous stage family. There were people who thought she had an unfair advantage, but her theatre triumphs bear witness to her personal talent and dedication.
Born in May 1963, the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Richardson and the granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, Natasha Richardson was educated at St Paul’s Girls School and trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.
She met Schindler’s List star Liam Neeson on the set of the film Nell and married him in 1994. They had two sons.
Her experience on stage included a number of Shakespearean roles, among them Ophelia in Hamlet and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 1986 she won the London Drama Critics’ most promising newcomer award for her performance as Nina in The Seagull. She won a Tony award for best actress in a musical for her performance as Sally Bowles in the 1998 Cabaret on Broadway.
She was always radiant.
"I wake up every morning feeling lucky — which is driven by fear, no doubt, since I know it could all go away," she told The Daily Telegraph in 2003.
Cat saw Richardson in a remake of the Parent Trap, a light-hearted film in which two young twin girls try to bring their divorced parents back together. Natasha plays the English mother. Cat thought she was one of the most charming women on screen. Here are the last scenes, rather poignant today.