Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Farewell Heath Ledger

I was saddened to hear the news of the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger on Tuesday. He was a talented young actor who died far too soon. Below is the article from the New York Times:
Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain” earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan with sleeping pills near his body, the police said.

The police said Mr. Ledger, 28, was found naked on the floor near the bed in an apartment in SoHo that he had been renting. The chief police spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the police did not suspect foul play.
“There was no indication of a disturbance,” he said, adding that there were no signs that Mr. Ledger had been drinking. Nor were any illegal drugs found in the loft, which takes up the entire fourth floor. Neighbors said Mr. Ledger had occupied it for several months.

Police officials said that a bottle of prescription sleeping pills was found on a nearby night table, but that they did not know whether the pills had anything to do with Mr. Ledger’s death. Officers who checked the apartment found other prescription medications in the bathroom. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be conducted on Wednesday.
Mr. Browne said no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.
Mr. Ledger had become a familiar figure in his SoHo neighborhood — and something of a fixture in gossip columns — since moving there after he broke up with the actress
Michelle Williams
, who played his wife in “Brokeback Mountain.”

There were reports of hand-holding and lip-locking with various actresses and models, and sightings at restaurants and cocktail bars. He had clashed with paparazzi in Australia, but in New York, where there is no shortage of problem-causing partygoers, “he certainly wasn’t one of them,” said Paul Sevigny, an owner of the Beatrice Inn, a West Village club that Mr. Ledger frequented. “He was really polite and nice,” said Mr. Sevigny.

The police said Mr. Ledger’s body was found after a masseuse arrived at the apartment at 2:45 p.m. for her regular appointment with Mr. Ledger. A housekeeper let her in and knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. No one answered.

The housekeeper and the masseuse pushed open the bedroom door and saw Mr. Ledger, unconscious, on the floor. They shook him but could not revive him, and then called for help, the police said. The housekeeper told officers that she had heard him snoring in the bedroom around 12:30 p.m., the police said.

As word of Mr. Ledger’s death began circulating, fans and camera crews converged on the street outside the apartment, at 421 Broome Street, between Crosby and Lafayette.

Neighbors said Mr. Ledger was friendly. Julie McIntosh, a hairstylist at a salon a few doors down the block from the apartment, said she saw him on the street once or twice a week. She said she had seen him with his 2-year-old daughter a couple of times.

“He seemed happy,” she said, recalling how she had run into him outside the salon last month and joked, “When are you going to come in and let me wash your hair?”

Others in the crowd said their first reaction to word of his death was disbelief. Nicole Vaughan, 24, a law student at New York University
, was in a seminar about Jesus when someone sent her a message about Mr. Ledger. She checked the Web, then walked to the apartment “because of the way our generation is; we sort of feel we’re a part of each other’s lives.”

More recently, Mr. Ledger had made the rounds in Manhattan.
A cocktail waitress at a downtown hotel bar that regularly draws celebrities said he showed up one night last week with some friends, ordered bottled water, as he always did, and stayed for an hour or two. “He looked fit,” said the waitress, who would give her name only as Renee for fear of jeopardizing her job. “He looked healthy.”

The Associated Press reported that his father, Kim Ledger, called his death “tragic, untimely and accidental.” An uncle, Neil Bell, said the family was taken by surprise. “He was in good spirits and having a wonderful time on this Terry Gilliam
movie,” he said, referring to “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” scheduled for release next year.

Mr. Bell, whom Mr. Ledger once cited as the inspiration for his character in “Brokeback Mountain,” added: “They were all flying to Vancouver for a shoot on this movie. Heath flew into New York to go home for a bit.”
Mr. Ledger’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said that she was too upset to talk about Mr. Ledger’s death.


WAT said...

If I feel bad about this, how must his close friends, co-workers, and family feel?

This is all too sad. A handsome fellow he was...


Diane J Standiford said...

Such a sad and odd story, why would pills be "...all over the floor..."? I think this will be a natural cause death.

TWISI said...

incredibly sad.

Tammie Jean said...

Such a shame...

Tammie Jean said...

Such a shame...

Steven said...

It's a shame to see a life end so soon. I was always amazed by the accent he had in Brokeback Mountain and then his "real" voice. It was weird to eventually hear the "real" one.

shell said...

It is always a tragedy when someone so young dies, no matter the cause.

Cheryl said...

This was such a shock. I wouldn't have been surprised had it been one of the celebrities that live so recklessly. This is so sad. I hope they find it's accidental. That may be wishful thinking, though.

Kerry and Rachel said...

So sad. Too young.


very sad. As a mom I am pained by the rest of his parents life of unanswered questions and the pain that they "couldn't be there" to help him. I do though believe that it was accidental. The way each body reacts to medication is different, sometimes you mix the right medications and your body reacts the wrong way. So terribly sad.
So tragic! May peace come soon for His family, daughter, friends..

Canadian flake said...

So very tragic...I will keep his family and his daughter in my prayers.

Sheila said...

My son called me from college when he heard about this death. I hate the speculation engaged in by the media. This was someone's son.

zen wizard said...

Shocking, sad, and unexpected.

Olivia said...

If it had been one of the wilder set, like Lindsay Lohan or Amy Winehouse, I'd not be surprised, but Heath was one you rarely heard about in the scandal pages, or at all, unless it was about a movie.

I hope this doesn't become another of the unsolvable celebrity deaths. The responses from Hollywood personalities have been unusual in their thoughtfulness...

Jimmi said...

This is sad. I wish we wouldn't have to get the shock of hearing about all these Hollywood deaths with the actors only being in their 20's. So much of Hollywood's youth are living reckless lives. They need to start looking out for themselves because clearly no one else is. Very Sad!

Naomi said...

This was so sad Rick and a terrible waste of such a young and talented life. It was all over the news here.


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