March 19th, 2009
10:39 AM ET
I’m struck by the tremendous outpouring of grief and affection for Natasha Richardson because, by today’s standards - even given her renowned family - she was not a household name.
She made only a handful of movies; though she was renowned for her stage work, she was never in a long-running show. Indeed, it’s possible that the majority of people learning of her death -– and pondering its tragedy -– have never seen a Natasha Richardson performance. (I’m no exception; I never saw her on stage, and I can count on one hand the number of her movies I saw. However, iReporter pammer12 has followed her career extensively, and if you have, please send us an iReport or comment below.)
Moreover, she didn’t try to be a big star. She didn’t participate in a reality show. (Addendum, 11:35 a.m.: As is noted in the comments, she did, popping up in "Top Chef" just last month. Duly noted - but I guess my point is, she didn't debase herself in a "Real Housewives"-style show. She liked to have "a laugh," as she said about doing "Maid in Manhattan.") She didn’t make huge blockbusters. She didn’t live her life in public, cause scenes in airports or wear crazy revealing clothes “forcing” her to shoo away paparazzi.
She was, simply, an incredibly talented actress, a woman of class, a mother, a wife.
It’s sad that only with her loss do many of us appreciate what this means. There are so many celebrities (or “celebrities”) nowadays we forget that some –- many -– are performers of real talent. Anyone who’s seen an electrifying stage performance, or been moved by a screen actor’s understated power, knows its value.
It would be nice if, in thinking about Natasha Richardson, people went out and rented one of her films - “Patty Hearst,” say, or “Evening.” Or gave a donation to their local theater company. Because it’s only when we reward such work will we get more Natasha Richardsons.
- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
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