The family of actress Natasha Richardson, who died following a skiing accident this week, have held a wake for her in New York.

Richardson’s husband, actor Liam Neeson, and the couple’s two teenage sons were joined by her mother Vanessa Redgrave and sister Joely Richardson at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan.

On Friday night, theatres in London’s West End dimmed their lights in tribute to the actress, who was renowned for her stage work. A similar gesture was made at Broadway theatres on Thursday.

Neeson was present to see the tribute on Broadway, along with her mother and sister, as well as actors Laura Linney, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

In London, the lights went down in 52 theatres “as a mark of respect for both Natasha Richardson and her immediate family and for the Redgrave family as a whole who have made such a unique contribution to British theatre”.

Meanwhile, it emerged that the 45-year-old’s life could have been saved if she had worn a rented ski helmet costing just £6.

Staff at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Canada, where the accident happened, said she had refused the offer of a helmet.

“We are heartbroken that we didn’t do more to persuade her to wear one,” a staff member at the resort told The Sun.