Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger Found Dead In His NYC Apartment

Heath LedgerHeath Ledger, the Oscar nominated Australian actor, was found dead today at 3:35 PM ET in his downtown Manhattan residence. The NYPD is stating that the death is possibly drug related. Ledger, best known for his work in A Knight’s Tale, Monster’s Ball, and Brokeback Mountain, was 28 and is survived by his 2 year old daughter Matilda with fellow actress Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek, Brokeback Mountain). (link, link)

Initially, the New York Times was reporting that the apartment Ledger was found dead in was owned by fellow celebrity Mary Kate Olsen, but that Heath had been living there. That erroneous report has since been denied by Olsen’s publicist. (link) For more details on how his death was discovered please click here, here or here.

Here are some interesting quotes from an AP article appearing on USA Today.com:

Curiosity about Ledger's final performance will likely stoke further interest in the summer blockbuster. Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan said this month that Ledger's Joker would be wildly different from Nicholson's. "It was a very great challenge for Heath," Nolan said. "He's extremely original, extremely frightening, tremendously edgy. A very young character, a very anarchic presence that taps into a lot of our basic fears and panic."

Ledger told The New York Times in a November interview that he "stressed out a little too much" during the Dylan film and had trouble sleeping while portraying the Joker, whom he called a "psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy."

"Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night," Ledger told the newspaper. "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going." He said he took two Ambien pills, which worked for only an hour, the paper said. (link)

Heath Ledger as The Joker

What a sad, sad loss. I’m at a loss for words considering I’ve blogged so much about Ledger and his upcoming role as The Joker in The Dark Knight the past few months. He was a very talented actor and still had a long, distinguished career ahead of him. I have always enjoyed his work and was really looking forward to his latest performance. I really hope his death is not drug related, but as we’ve seen too many times before, for some reason drugs and young performers seem to go hand in hand. It's such a shame too, because we’ve already lost so many talented young artists to drugs and it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. As details leak out, I’ll update this post with more information.

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