Neeson opens up on wife's '09 death

Feb. 18, 2011 at 11:50 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Liam Neeson says no one recognized him at the Canadian hospital where his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, was being treated after her skiing accident.

Richardson died of a head injury in 2009.

Neeson, star of "Schindler's List," "Love Actually," "Taken" and "Unknown," talks about rushing to her side at a Montreal hospital in the March issue of Esquire.

"I walked into the emergency -- it's like 70, 80 people, broken arms, black eyes, all that -- and for the first time in years, nobody recognizes me," Neeson told the magazine.

"Not the nurses. The patients. No one. And I've come all this way, and they won't let me see her. And I'm looking past them, starting to push -- I'm like, '(Expletive,) I know my wife's back there someplace ...' So I went outside. It's freezing cold, and I thought, What am I gonna do? How am I going to get past the security? And I see two nurses, ladies, having a cigarette. I walk up, and luckily one of them recognizes me. And I'll tell you, I was so (expletive) grateful -- for the first time in I don't know how long -- to be recognized. And this one, she says, 'Go in that back door there.' She points me to it. 'Make a left. She's in a room there.' So I get there, just in time. And all these young doctors, who look all of 18 years of age, they tell me the worst. The worst."

He said when he returned to shooting the film "Chloe" shortly after Richardson's funeral he "was still in a bit of shock."

"But it's kind of a no-brainer to go back to that work. It's a wee bit of a blur, but I know the tragedy hadn't just really smacked me yet," the actor explained. "I think I survived by running away some. Running away to work. Listen, I know how old I am and that I'm just a shoulder injury from losing roles like the one in 'Taken.' So I stay with the training, I stay with the work. It's easy enough to plan jobs, to plan a lot of work. That's effective. But that's the weird thing about grief. You can't prepare for it. You think you're gonna cry and get it over with. You make those plans, but they never work. It hits you in the middle of the night -- well, it hits me in the middle of the night."

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