Liam Neeson opens up about grief, America & Ted Kennedy

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Liam Neeson was interviewed this morning on Good Morning America by Diane Sawyer. He was there to promote his new film Five Minutes of Heaven, a true story set in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Accord in the late 1990s. Diane went off topic quickly, asking the haggard-looking Liam how he was doing. Liam admits that he and his two boys (Michael, 14, and Daniel, 12) are “taking each day as it comes” since Natasha Richardson’s death in March. Liam also volunteered his sincere condolences to the Kennedy family with the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy early this morning:

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“We’re taking each day as it comes,” a subdued Neeson said of his family’s coping with Richardson’s untimely death after a March 18 ski accident. “I’m still getting extraordinary condolence letters from American people that’s deeply, deeply touching, and that’s partly the reason why I’ve recently become an American citizen. I’m still a proud Irishman, but I’ve become an American citizen, and I’m very, very proud of that.”

Neeson also acknowledged the passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy, whom the actor first met when he was 10 years old during a visit to the Kennedy ancestral Irish homestead. Kennedy was one of those who contacted him following the March death of Richardson, 45.

“I met him a couple of times over the years, and he wrote my family a very, very beautiful touching condolence letter when Natasha died,” said Neeson. “He was a special man. It is the end of an era.”

Neeson, who is appearing in the new film Five Minutes of Heaven, says he’s been moved by the letters from so many Americans. “[That] is partly the reason that I have recently become an American citizen,” says the star who was born in Northern Ireland. “America has been very, very good to me. I am still a proud Irishman … but I have become an American citizen, and am very proud of that.”

[From People]

God, I’m sitting here welling up with tears. The news about Ted Kennedy is sad enough on it’s own, but hearing Liam talk about how Sen. Kennedy sent him a beautiful letter of condolence is just heartbreaking. I might need to have a little one-person Irish wake here at the computer this afternoon. Oh God, and when Liam talks about becoming an American citizen… well, this daughter of an immigrant always chokes up with naturalization stories. I find them so moving… and it’s the kind of story Sen. Kennedy would have loved too. Here come the tears… f-ck it, I’m finding a video of someone singing “Danny Boy” and pouring myself a shot of whiskey. For Teddy. And for Liam.

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33 Responses to “Liam Neeson opens up about grief, America & Ted Kennedy”

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  1. KDRockstar says:

    I will join you with that virtual wake, though I am Scottish, not Irish.

  2. atticus says:

    I was adopted in infancy from Vietnam, became an American citizen at the age of 8, remember that day very clearly and will join you in your wake. Your post made me tear up, too.

  3. ash says:

    Great write up. I can’t make a toast at work, but I can certainly raise up my granola bar. (It’s all I have at my desk)

    <3 Liam

  4. Prissa says:

    LOVE. THIS. GUY. Glad someone mentioned Ted Kennedy on this site. RIP.

  5. Tammy King says:

    Ted Kennedy was one of, if not the greatest senator in our time. For anyone who doubts his political accomplishments here is a link

    http://kennedy.senate.gov/senator/timeline.cfm

    R.I.P. Senator Kennedy, you will be greatly missed.

  6. Eileen Yover says:

    A fellow Irish Gal is raising her green tea (whiskey will follow after the boys soccer practice!) for Liam and Mr. Kennedy.

  7. Diane says:

    I have heartfelt feelings for Liam. He simply belongs in the category of good man, good dad, and I don’t see him as ever being the same without his beloved Natasha.

  8. leuce7 says:

    Unbelievable how Liam Neeson could behave even MORE classy than he already has throughout his ordeal.

    Cheers, Liam and Ted Kennedy. *Raises whiskey glass*

  9. Kaiser says:

    Thank you for that link, Tammy. In case anyone wants to read more about Teddy, HuffPo seems to be devoting all of their frint page coverage to his life and career. Here are some of his best quotes:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20090826/us-obit-ted-kennedy-quotes/

  10. girl says:

    May God comfort and keep both the Neeson and Kennedy families.

  11. Zoe says:

    yep, daughter of an immigrant here too, raising a cup of Yogi to Liam, Natasha and Teddy.

    Kaiser, are you going to write up the Ted Kennedy story? Is someone working on it?

  12. Kaiser says:

    I don’t think we’re going to do a Kennedy R.I.P. post, just because he wasn’t really a celebrity. It’s an interesting human interest story, though… I don’t know. I guess we can just treat this like an open post to have an Irish wake and talk about how much we love Teddy & Liam.

  13. Bellatrix says:

    I understand there’s quite some tearing up going on here… So here’s a Danny Boy version to lift everyone’s spirit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCbuRA_D3KU

  14. Annie says:

    Ted Kennedy was an amazing person and a strong fighter for equality and he will be missed.

    And my heart breaks for anyone who has to deal with loss.

  15. TaylorB says:

    Ted Kennedy wasn’t a perfect man, he made many mistakes (as all humans do) and battled his own demons, but in the long run he bested the demons and overcame the obstacles that were either thrust upon him or those of his own creation. He was a great legislator, a friend to those who knew him well, and a tireless fighter for folks who didn’t have a voice when they needed one most. He will be missed by Republicans, Democrats and Independants alike.

  16. Rosalee says:

    beautiful and sad..

  17. fizXgirl314 says:

    that is sooo touching…. Finally someone who has something good to say about Americans! makes me proud…

  18. TaylorB says:

    46,

    I don’t think that anyone here is suggesting that Chapaquitic is to be forgotten or made light of or to besmirch the memory of Mary Jo. Perhaps people would like to, on the day after his passing, remember the good things he did in life and the contributions he made that were good. Trash him all you want tomorrow, the next day and the day after that… but please show a bit of respect and give those who miss him a day to mourn his passing.

  19. Sleepy says:

    RIP to Natasha, Ted Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy (her accomplishments are very underrated) and RIP to Dominick Dunne!! :( Am I the only one wanting the summer of 2009 to be over? It’s the summer of death!

  20. gee_gee says:

    Such a class act.

  21. JustV says:

    Sleepy,

    Thank you letting us know of the passing of Dominick Dunne, I was unaware of his death and I have always respected his work. My condolences to the Dunne family.

    My condolences to the Kennedy family and all who were touched by Ted and Eunice Kennedy!

  22. Mairead says:

    Its very fitting that Liam Neeson is paying tribute to Ted Kennedy, because he was a very strong influence in bringing peace to Northern Ireland through political pressure on the British and Irish governments. Not just during the Clinton era, but back in the 70s.

    Kaiser, just one little correction though, Liam’s son’s name is actually Micheál not Michael. The “e”
    comes before the “a” because of Irish spelling rules. It’s also pronounced slightly differently.

  23. Mairead says:

    I would like to propose what I think is a slightly more apt song than Danny Boy, “She Moved Through the Fair.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdrqkMvCx3I

    (I tried looking for the Mary Black version, as Ted Kennedy was supposed to be very fond of her singing, but the version on YouTube doesn’t have the Padraic Colum lyrics. Sinead O’Connor did provide a version to Liam’s film, Michael Collins, but it’s a bit screechy for my tastes)

  24. Tina says:

    i love Liam! im so sorry for his loss :( <3

  25. liam says:

    i do’nt think he looks haggered i think he looks HOT

  26. adamantia claus says:

    CLASS ACT. This is a MAN, folks, Natasha knew what she was doing. I’ve written on here before about this guy, but I’m doing it again, what a man.
    As a former NYer who grew up there during the 60s to the 80s when the Kennedys were a power to ge reckoned with in that state, they did ALOT of good good thingds for NY and alot of the educational and summer programs that benefitted me were started by them. Their personal demons notwithstanding they always seemed genuine in their zeal for public service. So GODSPEED Teddy may you finally be reuinted with your brothers and sisters that have gone before you and thank you for everything you did for so many NY youngsters. Same for Dominck Dunne another class act.
    Whew – what a summer huh guys?

  27. mandy says:

    liam puts all those other misbehaving celebs in their place and reminds us what true talent is all about, be it onscreen or off.

  28. minx says:

    Wow.. it’s so nice to read about a celeb that’s actually real, dignified, with a heart and soul. I’m sure he misses Natasha daily.. I’m still in disbelief she’s gone. Ted Kennedy was one of those people who actually made a difference.. What a sad day for America. Truly the end of an era.. Liam put it so eloquently.

  29. the original kate says:

    love liam – smart, classy, handsome, talented. natasha was all those things as well – what a lovely couple they made.

  30. trichatillomaniak says:

    I love thw way he loved his wife. Devotion personified. He is eloquent, and still. A gentle, gentle man.

  31. Lily says:

    wcvb.com
    wbztv.com
    rememberkennedy.com

  32. Lily says:

    rememberingkennedy.com

  33. getoveryourselfalready says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you, Liam! Our hearts and prayers are still with you. Hope you find peace and happiness again soon. xoxo