March 20, 2009 at 08:20 PM EDT

Friends and colleagues have spent the past two days paying their respects to Natasha Richardson, who died March  18, after a tragic skiing accident.

Amy Sedaris (Richardson’s costar in Maid in Manhattan), exclusively to EW
“You think you’re not going to use the word shocking because everyone says

that. But I just can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable to me [that she’s gone].

“Maid in Manhattan is where I met her. She was so fun, always

wanted to try different things. I just followed her lead, and it was perfect.

She was such a pro. We worked together those few days and really hit it off,

then we became friends. She was the ultimate hostess. She would have amazing

dinner parties up at her house. And her recipes — oh my god, she was so

good. I learned about duck fat from her — that was her secret ingredient. People

always ask me, who is my favorite hostess? And I always say Natasha. She was

cool and just classy. She was so [devoted to] her kids and Liam. She did

everything for them. I always had such a good time with her because you’d just

laugh. She had a really good laugh. There can’t be a picture of Natasha not

smiling. She was just radiant.

Michael Apted (who directed Richardson and her future husband, Liam Neeson, in Nell), exclusively to EW

was very, very accomplished [as an actress]. She had to play a Southern

girl. She was a very educated upper-class English woman, and you just

saw her become a Southern lady…. The wonderful thing about her was how

nurturing she was. I’ll never forget the impromptu dinners she would

have for us. We didn’t have much life outside the set, but she made

everything more comfortable for us. Everybody speaks that she was a

great actress, but she was more than that — she was a great woman. The

flowering of her relationship with Liam, that was a joy to watch.”

Paul Schrader (who directed Richardson in Patty Hearst, her breakout film role, and The Comfort of Strangers), exclusively to EW

“She had that kind of common touch that can come to those who are to

the manor born. It seems like a contradiction. But she never had the

kind of insecurity about being an actress in the first place. She was

raised in London and France and Los Angeles. When she was 13 she played

Ophelia for an audience of her mother and father and her grandfather.

She was always at ease in that world. It gave her a kind of confidence

and security. She knew she was good and whatever happened it would be

all right.”

On Thursday, other celebrities who knew and worked with Richardson issued statements offering their condolences:

Lindsay Lohan (Richardson’s costar in The Parent Trap)
“She was a wonderful woman and actress and treated me like I was her own. I didn’t see much of her over the years but I will miss her. My heart goes out to her family. This is a tragic loss.”

Robert Duvall (Richardson’s costar in The Handmaid’s Tale)
“Natasha was a lovely woman and a joy to work with. My thoughts and prayers go out to Liam and his wonderful family.”

Ralph Fiennes (Richardson’s costar in Maid in Manhattan and The White Countess)
“For everyone who knew and loved her, Natasha’s death is a terrible, devastating loss. She was a star. A great actress, a beautiful woman, a fiercely loyal friend, a brilliant and generous companion. She was an adoring and loving wife and mother. She was unique. My thoughts and prayers go out to Liam and her beautiful sons, Micheál and Danny and to all her family.  I cannot imagine a world without her wit, her love, her mischief, her great, great talent and her gift for living. I loved her very much. She was a supreme friend. I shall miss her deeply.”

Helen Mirren (Richardson’s costar in The Comfort of Strangers)
“Natasha was a great actress, a fantastic mother, a loving wife and a whirlwind of energy, with an infectious love of life expressed firstly by her wonderful deep laugh.  Anyone who knew her will be in mourning today.  I hope that Liam and her sons are helped in their pain by the great love and sympathy that is coming to them from people all over the world.”

Meryl Streep (Richardson’s costar in Evening)
“Tash was the warm sun in the center of a large constellation of

family, friends, all of those lucky enough to know her. She is

irreplaceable in our lives; she gave us so much, so generously. Her

legacy is the love that connects us all.” 

Mia Farrow (Richardson’s costar in Widows’ Peak)
“Tasha is irreplaceable. I cannot think of anyone kinder, more

generous, thoughtful, smarter or more fun. She is godmother of two of

my children. The Neesons and Vanessa [Redgrave, Richardson’s mother]

have always made me feel a part of their wonderful family. My thoughts

and prayers are with them.”

Sam Mendes (director, Cabaret, for which Richardson won a Tony award.)
“She was one of a kind, a magnificent actress. … She was also an

amazing mother, a loyal friend and the greatest and most generous host

you could ever hope to meet.”




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Jodie Foster (Richardson’s costar in Nell)
“Natasha was brilliant, beautiful, funny, talented beyond measure,

as emotionally raw as she was razor sharp. … May Liam, her beautiful

boys and her loving family hold her close as they move through this

tragic moment.”

Oprah Winfrey (on her talk show)
“I just want to say how deeply saddened I am, we all are, by the

sudden passing of actress Natasha Richardson yesterday. Our thoughts

and prayers are with her husband Liam Neeson, their two sons, the rest

of their family and friends. Yet another reminder of how fleeting life

can be and how precious. We need to value every moment.”

Kelly Ripa, on Live with Regis and Kelly
“She was a lady. I can’t tell you enough what a good person she was, and fun and vivacious and the most full of life.”

Julianna Marguiles (exclusively to
“She was a great friend, a wonderful wife and an excellent mother. She knew how to make everyone feel comfortable and at home. This is such a loss to us all.”

Jane Fonda (on her personal blog), who worked with Richardson’s mother, Vanessa Redgrave, on the film Julia.
“I first met her on the set of Julia. She was a little girl but already beautiful and graceful. It didn’t surprise me that she became such a talented actor.”

More on Natasha Richardson:
Natasha Richardson dies at age 45
Natasha Richardson autopsy confirms ski accident as cause of death
Natasha Richardson: Career retrospective (photo gallery)
Natasha Richardson: A critical appreciation by Lisa Schwarzbaum


Natasha Richardson; Mike Marsland/; Helen Mirren: Scott Gries/Getty Images; Ralph Fiennes: Niki Nikolova/”)

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