Natasha Richardson is a famous actress. But not outrageously so, like Angelina Jolie or Reese Witherspoon. She's likably famous. She won a Tony, she's been working since she was a small child, and when her unpretentious movies like The Parent Trap and Maid in Manhattan come on television, you'll watch them. Because you like her. Which is why the tragedy of her skiing accident hits so strangely home. Actresses like Natasha Richardson aren't supposed to be in the tabloids, much less for something so horrendous. We can't stop thinking, or talking about it.
Yesterday, Time Out New York reported that the actress was dead. She is not. When Perez Hilton e-mailed them about this, they apologized for the "semantics issue." The celebrity blogger was rightly outraged. As the afternoon went on, conflicting reports about the gravity of her situation surfaced. As outsiders to this story, we didn't know who to believe. When the New York Post and TMZ are disagreeing on a story, what do you report? Now, according to most news sources that we've seen, she's in New York with her family, and her condition is very bad. The city tabloids report that she is brain dead, but since her family and friends are keeping this issue to themselves, nobody but them knows exactly what's going on. You could say that her loved ones are behaving exactly right in this situation, not taking precious time to explain what's going on to people who don't even know Natasha. It's scoop-happy instant-media vultures that are behaving wrongly.
UPDATE: Liz Smith reports that Richardson, who was in the company of her family today at Lenox Hill Hospital, has been taken off life support.
Natasha Richardson Is Hospitalized in New York After Ski Accident [NYT]
NATASHA LEFT BRAIN DEAD AT 45 [NYP]
Actress Natasha Richardson, who suffered head injury in ski accident, 'is brain dead' [NYDN]