Broadway was a magical backdrop to actress Natasha Richardson’s life, which was cut tragically short on Wednesday, March 18. And, as a mark of respect, all the theaters on Broadway dimmed their lights on Thursday, March 19.
The actress was expected to be buried Sunday in Millbroook, NY after a heartbreaking wake at the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue in New York.
Richardson's husband, the Irish superstar Liam Neeson, was the last person to leave the wake Friday evening.
Neeson and the couple's two teenage sons, MIchael and Daniel, were joined by Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave and sister, Joely Richardson.
Both Neeson and Richardson were big supporters of the American Irish Historical Society and the venue was all the more poignant as Richardson's mother, had attended the launch of this website there just last Sunday evening.
Several actors, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Laura Linney, attended the wake where Richardson's body lay in a mahogany casket engraved with an Irish claddagh.
Broadway set the stage for Richardson's great romance with Irish actor Liam Neeson. They first met on the set of Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie” in New York in 1993.
Patricia Harty, the editor of Irish America magazine, was there to see it. “The chemistry between the two was just as palpable off stage as on,” she said.
Neeson, who had already been in relationships with Julia Roberts, Helen Mirren, Brooke Shields, Sinead O'Connor and Barbra Streisand, was single at the time while Richardson was married to director Robert Fox.
When the play ended, Neeson left the U.S. for Poland where he would play Oskar Schindler in his Oscar-nominatiion performance in "Schindler's List."
He sent Richardson a last-minute birthday fax from Poland signed "lots of love, Oskar." Richardson was straightforward in her response. "This is like a letter from a buddy. What is our relationship?"
Whatever transpired between the two, it was enough for Richardson to take the plunge. She left her husband and flew out to Poland.
Richardson later said: "When everyone assumed it, we actually weren't at that point. We fell in love later. Well, he certainly fell in love with me later."
In 1994, the couple married. Their son Michael was born the following year, and was joined by Daniel in 1996.
Richardson once explained that her and her husband's personalities were opposites, but well suited.
"We have a joke that I see the glass half full and he sees it half empty," she said. "He's more laid back, happy to see what happens, whereas I'm a doer and I plan ahead. The differences sometimes get in the way, but they can be the very things that feed a marriage too."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, today paid tribute to Richardson.
She told how she first met Richardson at an event around 1994 at the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.
Richardson was pregnant at the time and she did readings of Seamus Heaney poetry with Neeson.
Brennan Glucksman said it would be hard to imagine a happier couple at the time.
"What I remembered from her was a total lack of artifice - she was so natural in every sense of the word, very secure, unlike a lot of people in her business. She was truly a wonderful person," Brennan Glucksman said.