It has been a tragic week, and there have been many great, and all well-deserved things written about Natasha Richardson, and so today I am really struggling to write something meaningful and fresh. I want to tell you something you haven't already heard or read, and I want badly to get it right. Yes, Natasha was a great beauty, an incredible and indelible actress, and a great mom, but above all — to me — she was a loyal friend.
Natasha was the kind of person that you'd be lucky to meet even for one moment in a lifetime.
Natasha knew how to live life. Every second of it. She knew how to have a great time, had more energy than you can imagine, and could make me or anyone else howl with her wicked sense of humor. She had a way with words that left me floored almost every time we spoke; I
gather she got that from her dad, the late director Tony Richardson. She left messages that should be considered mundane but were worthy of pressing 9 (to save).
Her voice could seduce a priest, and don't get me started on her French. I used to make up stupid slogans for products and have her repeat them in voiceover mode to see how she could sex them up. I guarantee that if you heard Natasha say, "Evian: Feel the viscosity," you would buy two cases and want to have sex with the bottle. A friend of mine begged her to record his outgoing message so everyone could be seduced by his machine. She did and they were. Her deep, throaty laugh could fill a room or a packed theater.
An invitation from Natasha was never taken lightly and always resulted in memorable fun. She had an unbelievable talent for bringing people together who might never have met, and who now consider themselves real friends. She was the greatest home cook (she wouldn't accept the title "chef") and hostess. She took care in every detail of a table setting, seating, music, menu, a pre-dinner cocktail and after-dinner digestif. I learned enough from her about cheese, wine, fish, pig, poir, limoncello, and the ins and outs of a mojito to fill a book.I was so happy that she agreed to come on Top Chef last season, but I won't take credit for twisting her arm — she did it for amfAR, a charity for which she worked tirelessly after her dad died of AIDS in 1991. What Natasha wanted was a cure for AIDS and she meant to keep helping until it was found. To her, that was the only answer and a goal that HAD to be met.
A few weeks ago I escorted her to amfAR's benefit at Cipriani, where she was to give a speech. I'd been with her before to this same event, and each year she lamented that hers was the speech that included the semi-laborious, detailed info about research and technology. Once she began speaking, though, it was obvious why they gave her what might be considered the boring bits to read; you could hear a pin drop in the room because everyone was captivated by Natasha's voice and presentation. She sold it.
Tash was very much a lady and cared deeply about manners and etiquette. She was old-fashioned and hated the idea that texting and e-mailing were increasingly becoming acceptable means of communication. In fact, she did not "get" this blog or the idea of me blogging one bit, and we talked about this on many occasions. She worried I worked too hard and this blog played into that concern, which became the topic of many conversations. She had strong opinions and loved a debate. She loved being an American citizen, but was energized by her travels around the world. I could go on and on, and I won't.
I loved her, I'll miss her, and I will never ever forget her.