One of Liam Neeson’s sons is changing his last name to honor the late actress Natasha Richardson, People is reporting. The actress passed away in a skiing accident in 2009, and was survived by husband Neeson and their two sons, Micheal and Daniel. The two boys were only ages 13 and 12 at the time of her passing. Micheal, who is now in his 20s, is in the process of changing his last name to Richardson in honor of his mother. Richardson’s mother, actress Vanessa Redgrave, clarified that this was not a slight against Neeson but instead just a way for a son to feel closer to his mother.
“That wasn’t because he wanted to avoid his father’s fame, which is enormous,” Redgrave explained. “He wanted to hold his mother close to him — because she was a remarkable actress. Absolutely remarkable.”
Richardson’s tragic death occurred when she was only 45-years-old. She was with a skiing instructor at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant when she experienced blunt force trauma after falling on Nansen, which is supposed to be a beginner’s slopes. Richardson was not worried at first and even denied needing to go to the hospital twice. The situation escalated quickly, however, and Neeson has spoken to the press about her traumatizing death.
“I spoke to her and she said, ‘Oh darling. I’ve taken a tumble in the snow.’ That’s how she described it,” Neeson recounted to Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes in 2014.
While Richardson continued to play the fatal injury off at first, her condition quickly deteriorated and she was rushed to Montreal hospital. Neeson was filming in Toronto during the incident, and left set immediately after hearing the seriousness of her brain damage.
“I was told she was brain dead. And seeing this X-ray it was, like, ‘Wow,'” he recalled. “But obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s – I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s – this is what’s gone down. And we’re bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.’ And that was more or less it.”
The couple had married in 1994 and once agreed with each other that they’d want to be taken off life support if they were in a vegetative state. Richardson was able to provide organs to three different people, and Neeson takes solace in the fact that Richardson would be “thrilled and pleased” by that.
Neeson has also said he wants to make sure he isn’t “wallowing in sadness or depression” for the sake of his children. While Richardson’s family has tried to stay as positive as possible, her son Micheal wants her memory to remain with him, now through changing his name.