Breaking news on Yahoo as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 is that 28 year-old actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his NYC apartment earlier in the afternoon. According to the Associated Press article, Ledger’s housekeeper found his body at 3:26 p.m. after she went to tell him that his massage therapist had arrived. Police say that he was found naked in his bed with a number of sleeping pills and other prescription drugs nearby. NBC News reports that it was either an accidental overdose or a suicide. His father spoke about him, in a video on www.FoxNews.com, claiming there is no way it was suicide, thanking the world for their support, and to please allow the family to grieve. What is so eerie about the whole scene is that just two-and-a-half months ago, in an interview, available on www.FoxNews.com, with a visablly uncomfortable and fidgety Ledger about his movie I’m Not There, he speaks fatherhood and death:
“You learn more about yourself through your child, I guess and, and I think you also look at death differently….like…..I, I, um, it’s like a Catch-22….like, I feel good now about dying now, because I feel like I’m alive in her, you know, but at the same hand you don’t want to die because you want to be around for the rest of her life. It’s kind of like an interesting kind of little set-up.”
Ledger leaves behind two year-old daughter Matilda Rose, born to him and his ex-fiancee Michelle Williams in October of 2005. He and Williams split up last August 2007.
Heath Ledger was born in Australia in 1979. He stole the hearts of American girls when he starred in 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You, starring opposite Julia Stiles. Other notable roles included parts in The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, Monster’s Ball, The Four Feathers, Lords of Dogtown, The Brothers Grimm, and Casanova. He was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for his portrayal of a gay cowboy in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. His most recent theatrical release was the Bob Dylan movie I’m Not There, playing the more masculine version of the folk singer. According to imdb.com he also played The Joker in the upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight and had just started filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
One week ago, 25 year-old actor Brad Renfro was also found dead in his home, with rumors of a possible drug overdose. An autopsy was done two days later, but it will take six weeks for results to return.
Christopher Bowman, former US men’s figure skating champion and child actor (Little House on the Prairie) was found dead in his hotel room on January 10, 2008 from an apparent drug overdose.
Lately, many young Hollywood celebrities have been making headlines for having substance abuse problems. Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan tend to monopolize the headlines of tabloids and legitimate magazines alike. It was a hot topic during the interviews prior to the Golden Globes. Patricia Arquette commented on the dangers of the paparazzi and how dangerous they can be. She also said that artists all have self-destructive tendencies, only some are better at it than others. Later, Ellen Page, another young Hollywood star, said that she feels that there is a lack of compassion for Young Hollywood and is grateful that she was able to grow up away from it all.
Heath Ledger will not be the final casualty of the harried Hollywood lifestyle. Let’s hope it’s longer than a week before the next one falls.
Hays, Tom. Heath Ledger found dead in NYC at age 28. Yahoo News. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080122/ap_on_en_mo/obit_ledger
Heath Ledger on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005132/
Heath Ledger found dead in NYC apartment. MSNBC.comhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22788914/
Heath Ledger on fatherhood, death. Fox News Video.www.foxnews.com
Heath Ledger’s family calls actor’s death ‘untimely and accidental’. www.foxnews.com
Carroll, Larry. Brad Renfro Dead At 25. MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1579719/20080115/story.jhtml
Brad Renfro–Autopsy after his unexpected death. My Park Magazine.http://www.myparkmag.co.uk/articles/celebs/celebrity-gossip/brad-renfro-autopsy-after-his-unexpected-death.jsp
Petski, Denise. Men’s figure skating champion Christopher Bowman dies at 40. http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/20080110-2142-ca-skatingchampion-death.html
Coventry, Andrea. In Lieu of the Red Carpet, the Interview. Associated Content. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/539069/in_lieu_of_the_red_carpet_the_interview.html