I stand back and watch what happens to members of my old family. This time with astonishment. What happened shouldn’t have happened. SOMEBODY should have been keeping an eye on Natasha. At the age of 45, you don’t decide to learn how to ski. It’s too late for that kind of risk-taking. Her ski instructor up there in Canada, don’t they have a set of rules? Like, "Sorry, you’re too old. And even if you don’t care, there are many outside of your family who do!" Someone is feeling very guilty right now, whoever it was that encouraged her to take up skiing. I’m afraid that when you become a celebrity, your life is no longer your own. I guess I’m lucky, in a way. I chose at an early age to become somewhat invisible.
I first knew Tasha when she was 3 years old, and her sister Joely just 2 years old. In those days, I wielded a camera (yes, I have some pics, private pics, of them peeking over the side of the bathtub.) Lynn and I helped their mother over a difficult time, for she was soon to be giving birth to Carlo, and was rather a lot of the time away from home. I took the above picture of the sisters welcoming their new brother into the family, and released it to the press with Vanessa’s permission.
By then we were starting ours, Benjy in 1968 (he’s now a Captain flying for Delta, with 2 kids.), and Kelly in 1970, (now with 3 kids of her own.)
Benjy and Lynn live a stone’s throw from each other and from Liam and his 2 sons, way up in the countryside North of New York. He will be away filming much of the time. I hope Lynn and Ben will come to the rescue with some love and sustenance for The Neeson family. And perhaps my youngest daughter Annabel will help them too.
While I’m at it, I want to mention my very youngest son, Zachary, who just turned 18. The law kept him and me separated for the last 8 years, but I found him at last, and he’s in the "gifted child" section of North Hollywood High. He has been thoroughly alienated from me, and doesn’t want to meet me or deal with me. That’s his right and privilege of course, but I’ve made sure he knows where to find me if he changes his mind (and I hope it won’t be when I’m having a R.I.P’ing time at Hollywood Forever.)
What am I doing these days? Well, I have this wonderful wife I found on the Internet, and I’m finding a new direction with Stand-up comedy, hope to get back into the acting field again, book-ending my life with the craft, and am writing my memoirs, which are kind of interesting.
Meanwhile, yes, I’m very proud of my family. They have the right genes, and I hope they don’t waste them. I feel for the Neeson family. My heart goes out to them.
MORE on Tasha at Sunday 3/22/2009
An inquest under Quebec law should be requested and held as soon as possible. Already, witnesses are telling conflicting stories (was she laughing and being playful at first or sitting holding her head? Did she tumble down the Bunny slope or the larger beginners’ slope? Why and how did she decline a helmet? What was she wearing, a parka covering her head? How many people were actually with her, and who were they? How about other skiers, what did they see? Was the ground examined where she hit her head? Who dismissed the first ambulance? Who called the second ambulance?).
Keep the lawyers out. They would love to sue. That takes time and "I don’t recall" answers. Get the truth out now, while public interest is hot. Here’s the site for the Quebec coroner. The coroner can get sworn statements. Already witnesses are saying "My lips are zipped!", afraid of lawsuits. Coroner’s hearings and Inquests can be swift and powerful and can get facts that may be useful later if need be.
But I am troubled by the fact that she was hastily flown to New York. Certainly, Montreal hospitals have state-of-the-art equipment, but they helped get her out of Canadian jurisdiction, fast, with the flimsiest of excuses (the family wants to say goodbye.) Nobody can prove where she died. Which means that legally the Quebec coroner cannot claim jurisdiction, nor can the New York coroner, and the recreational skiing area will avoid any risk to its reputation. The result being that there will be no inquest, and nothing will be learned from an inquiry because there won’t be one, just the NY medical examiner’s "cause of death". Legal shenanigans?