Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

In quotes: Natasha Richardson tributes

Natasha Richardson

Luminaries of the entertainment world pay tribute to actress Natasha Richardson, who has died at the age of 45 following a skiing accident in Canada.

KEN RUSSELL - FILM DIRECTOR

Film-maker Ken Russell directed Richardson in Gothic, her 1986 screen debut in which she played Mary Shelley. The 81-year-old's tribute appeared in The Times newspaper.

I chose Natasha because of her ephemeral delicacy and intelligent beauty in her debut stage role as Nina in The Seagull.

Natasha was under pressure having such an enormously complex burden for her first film role, but she was always poised, prepared, focused and very, very bright.

Ken Russell
Ken Russell hailed the actress's 'translucent physical beauty'
She was a talented person, full of skill, insight, poetry and searing intellect.

Then there is that translucent physical beauty of Natasha's, which, alas, almost upstaged her. Her physical presence was so unique and warm, inviting yet cool, vulnerable yet proud.

Her beauty was golden, that's the word that keeps coming to mind. A chip off her mum's perfect bone structure, yes - but her very own blend of tenderness and fire.

She was one of the few modern actresses who was as smart as she was pretty, and as gentle as she was fierce. I loved her unashamedly.

DAME JUDI DENCH - ACTRESS

The Oscar-winning star worked with Richardson on the 1987 TV production of the Henrik Ibsen play Ghosts.

She had an incredibly luminous quality that you seldom see, and a great sense of humour.

I thought she was a really great actress and seemed to simply shine in both film and theatre.

It's always difficult if you have parents in theatre, it puts a very strange pressure on the children.

I have no doubt [great work was to come]. It's been so shocking, really shocking - I hope everyone leaves the family alone to pick up the pieces.

SAM MENDES - FILM AND THEATRE DIRECTOR

Oscar winner Sam Mendes' 1998 Broadway production of Cabaret saw Richardson win a Tony in the lead role of Sally Bowles.

Natasha Richardson and Sam Mendes
Richardson and Mendes pictured together in 2002

Natasha combined the best of Redgrave and Richardson - the enormous depth and emotional force of a great actor on the one hand, and the intelligence and objectivity of a great director on the other.

She was one of a kind, a magnificent actress.

She was also an amazing mother, a loyal friend, and the greatest and most generous host you could ever hope to meet.

It defies belief that this gifted, brave, tenacious, wonderful woman is gone.

KEVIN SPACEY - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, OLD VIC THEATRE

There are no words to express how tragic Natasha Richardson's untimely passing is for the theatre community.

Kevin Spacey
Spacey said Richardson's stage presence would be sorely missed

Her passion, devotion and talent will forever be etched on those who saw her work on the stage. The bloodlines of greatness were always there and she committed herself to every role she tackled.

All of us at the Old Vic Theatre Company mourn her loss and send our heartfelt wishes to Liam and her family.

We hope that the warmth we all feel about her will bring some comfort to those closest to her, who shared her life, her wit, her style and know that she will never be forgotten.

MICHAEL PARKINSON - FORMER CHAT SHOW HOST

I met her a couple of times, I know Liam [Neeson] quite well, I've interviewed him two or three times.

My thoughts are with him. It's a terrible, awful tragedy. They are a close-knit family, they will be able to share their grief together, that is the only consolation.

Liam is one of the nicest guys I've met in the business, and so was she. They were very unshowy people, they did a job, got on with their lives, enjoyed their lives - it's very sad.

MICHAEL WINNER - FILM-MAKER

It's a terrible, terrible thing. It's always tragic when people of such buoyancy and life are taken away on what appears to be utterly trivial events.

She was a wonderful actress - the whole family is incredible - and she had not yet fulfilled her possibilities.

Whenever you met her, it was like a joy. It's a twinkle and a sparkle that has left the world.

GAVIN HENDERSON - PRINCIPAL, CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH AND DRAMA

We at Central are stunned by this news.

Natasha has been a shining example to so many students, her photo is ever present in our board room and her name is etched on the steps to the main entrance.

We hope to establish a scholarship fund in her memory.

Natasha Richardson studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London from 1980 to 1983.

RALPH FIENNES - ACTOR

The star appeared alongside Richardson in the 2002 romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan.

Ralph Fiennes
Fiennes starred with Richardson in maid in Manhattan

She was a star - a great actress, a beautiful woman, a fiercely loyal friend, a brilliant and generous companion.

She was an adoring and loving wife and mother. She was unique.

I cannot imagine a world without her wit, her love, her mischief, her great, great talent and her gift for living. I loved her very much. She was a supreme friend. I shall miss her deeply.

LINDSAY LOHAN - ACTRESS
She was a wonderful woman and actress and treated me like I was her own. My heart goes out to her family. This is a tragic loss.

Lohan co-starred with Richardson in the 1998 film The Parent Trap.



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