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Actress Natasha Richardson Dead at 45, After Ski Accident

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One function of celebrity is to alert the rest of us to hard truths, to teach us the lessons of love and grief. Among these is the cruelest jest of fate: a child's death that precedes his or her parents.

That instructive obscenity slammed home today with the death of Natasha Richardson, a distinguished British actress who was a third-generation star of the noted Redgrave acting clan, and elder daughter of the great and controversial Vanessa Redgrave.

Richardson died two days after a seemingly unremarkable fall while skiing in Quebec. She lost consciousness and within 24 hours had been in three hospitals — the last in New York City, her adopted home, where Redgrave and other family members, including Richardson's actor husband Liam Neeson, stood loving watch. She was 45.

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