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Broadway workers remember Natasha Richardson

The Broadway stagehand and the owner of the famed Sardi's restaurant agree: Natasha Richardson was one great lady. She treated people with respect, and wore her celebrity lightly, with humility.

The day after Richardson's death, Dan Mendeloff, a stagehand who worked with her on the set of "Cabaret," recalled the actress's mannerly treatment of cast and crew alike during the 1998 remounting of the show at the Henry Miller Theater.

"She treated people with respect. It was never 'You're the crew, and I'm the star,' " said Mendeloff, 40, who lives in Long Island City. "If anything, she was always supportive. It was lovely to work with her, and lovely to be around her. She really was a vision."

Once, he recalled, Richardson realized she was calling Mendeloff "Don" instead of "Dan."

"She said, 'Dan, I owe you an apology. I called you Don.' She was absolutely mortified and very embarrassed. I never noticed because of her accent," he said Thursday with a smile, as he stood outside the Roundabout Theater where he was working, wearing his "Cabaret" stagehand crew jacket.

On "Cabaret's" opening night, Richardson gave each crew member a shot glass engraved with the show's name "to fit that Kit Kat Club theme," Mendeloff said.

At Sardi's restaurant, Broadway's unofficial Hall of Fame in the heart of the theater district, owner V. Max Klimavicius said Richardson and her husband, actor Liam Neeson, were in the restaurant on many Broadway opening nights.

"I would look at them and say 'What a loving married couple.' You could see how close they were," Klimavicius said. "And she was always humble. I got the feeling that she wanted to be recognized for what she earned, and not because she came from a family that really is theater royalty."

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