Advertisement

Joely Richardson haunted by having to wear sister Natasha’s shoes at actress’ funeral


Joely Richardson is haunted by having to wear her sister Natasha Richardson’s shoes to the tragic actress’ funeral.
The ‘Event Horizon’ star, 59, was left heartbroken when her older sibling died from a brain injury in March 2009 aged 45 after a fall while skiing in Quebec, Canada, and says she was in such a rush to be by Natasha’s bedside when she was moved to Lenox Hill hospital in New York she didn’t pack any clothes.
She told The Times about making her dash to America from London where she had been filming the BBC drama ‘The Day of the Triffids’: “It was the weirdest thing. We didn’t know it was going to be the end.
“Work released me – I was covered for insurance for a few days. I grabbed a tiny bag and jumped on the plane to New York. As a result, I didn’t have any clothes or anything with me.”
Natasha – called Tash by Joely and the rest of her family – died two days after Natasha arrived in New York.
She said: “So when it came to the funeral I had to borrow clothes and shoes of Tash’s, because I didn’t have anything of my own.
“I was suddenly aware I was speaking to people in the church wearing my sister’s shoes and it was just terrible, awful, devastating.
“And then, of course, on a different level I had to step into them.”
Joely, whose mum is actress Vanessa Redgrave, 87, grew up considering Tash her “safeguard”, saying: “The family dynamic when we were growing up was that Tash had always been the very brilliant coper, manager.
“I was the wild tomboy, climbing trees, playing tennis. She was the domestic goddess.
“We rarely saw mum, so she’d be busy, filling the fridge, doing all the cooking.”
Joely added Tash also became a “great matriarch” when she married actor Liam Neeson, 71, with whom she had two sons, Micheál, 28, and 27-year-old Daniel.
But the mum-of-one, who has actress daughter Daisy, 31, with her film producer ex-husband Tim Bevan, 66, said there was a role reversal after Tash’s death when she had to become her family’s support system.
She struggled with the switch, adding: “It didn’t come to me easily. It was a very strange transition that took years to happen. I wasn't doing it consciously. I was just getting on with it as anyone does when someone dies and the family absolutely goes into crisis.
“It wasn’t just about children being left without a mother. It was about the ramifications for me. I hadn’t lived a day of my life without Tash. I didn’t know the world without her.”