Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

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Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by ISLANDGIRL5 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:34 am

To me this story is so sad. He was so young, only a year older than me, and had so much going for him. What a tragic waste of life. :cry:
Autopsy due for Heath Ledger, dead at 28

By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer
36 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Heath Ledger turned down more teen movies after starring in the romantic comedy "10 Things I Hate About You," waiting for the kinds of grueling, intense roles that would become his trademark.

The decision set him on a career path toward "Brokeback Mountain" — the film that earned him an Oscar nomination.

Two years later, Ledger was found dead Tuesday by his housekeeper and masseuse — lying naked and face-down at the foot of his bed, with prescription sleeping pills nearby, police said. He was 28.

Shocked fans set up a makeshift memorial of flowers and notes on the sidewalk in front of his Manhattan loft. One note said, "I couldn't find anything bad about you."

Authorities said the death was a possible overdose, but were awaiting the results of an autopsy set for Wednesday.

It was a shocking end to a career built on unpredictability. Ledger avoided the safe path in favor of roles that forced him to bury his Australian accent and downplay his leading-man looks: a tormented gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain," a drug addict in "Candy," an incarnation of Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There."

In what may be his final finished performance, he took a rare role in a guaranteed summer blockbuster, playing Batman's nemesis, the Joker, in the upcoming "The Dark Knight." But the role was nothing he could phone in; it forced him to rebrand a character last played on the big screen by Jack Nicholson.

"I had such great hope for him," Mel Gibson, who played Ledger's father in "The Patriot," said in a statement. "He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss."

Ledger split last year with Michelle Williams, who played his wife on the set of "Brokeback Mountain." The two had a daughter, the now 2-year-old Matilda, and had lived together in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill neighborhood.

Early Wednesday, Williams and Matilda left Trollhattan, Sweden, where the 27-year-old actresss had been shooting scenes for the upcoming film "Mammoth," said Martin Stromberg, a spokesman for film production company Memfis Film.

"She received the news at her hotel late last night," Stromberg said, adding he had not spoken to the actress after she learned of Ledger's death.

The actor's personal strife was accompanied by professional anxiety.

Ledger said in an interview in November that "Dark Knight" and last year's "I'm Not There," took a heavy toll. He said 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 New York Times. "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going." He said he took two Ambien pills, which only worked for an hour.

News of Ledger's death spread quickly from the crowd of 300 people that gathered Tuesday outside his apartment in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where those with close ties to the actor included Naomi Watts, who dated him after they met on the set of "Lords of Dogtown," a fictionalized story about the birth of modern skateboarding.

Ledger was born in 1979 in the western Australian city of Perth to a mining engineer and a French teacher, and got his first acting role playing Peter Pan at age 10 at a local theater company. He began acting in independent films as a 16-year-old in Sydney and played a cyclist hoping to land a spot on an Olympic team in a 1996 television show, "Seat."

Speaking in Perth, Ledger's father said Tuesday the actor's death was "tragic, untimely and accidental."

Kim Ledger called his son "down-to-earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving, unselfish" and "extremely inspirational to many."

"Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life," he said. "Please now respect our family's need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately."

After several independent films, Ledger moved to Los Angeles at age 19 and starred opposite Julia Stiles in "10 Things I Hate About You," a reworking of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." Offers for other teen flicks came his way, but Ledger turned them down, preferring to remain idle than sign on for projects he didn't like.

"It wasn't a hard decision for me," Ledger told The Associated Press in 2001. "It was hard for everyone else around me to understand. Agents were like, `You're crazy,' my parents were like, `Come on, you have to eat.'"

He began to gravitate toward more independent films after roles in "Monster's Ball," "The Patriot" and "A Knight's Tale." His work in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain" earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.

In the 2006 film "Candy," Ledger played a poet wrestling with a heroin addiction along with his girlfriend. Neil Armfield, who directed Ledger in the film, said the actor had "handled his career incredibly well," steering himself toward more challenging roles.

"He made a decision about four years ago to stop being led by producers and managers and to forge his own way," Armfield told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

He brought the same intensity to "Dark Knight." Glimpsed in early teaser trailers, Ledger is more depraved and dark than comical. The film's 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 was a widely recognized figure in his Manhattan neighborhood, where Michelle Vella said she frequently saw him carrying his 2-year-old daughter on his shoulders, or having ice cream with her.

"It's a shock; he's so young," said Taren Dolbashian, who also had seen Ledger with his daughter. "He always seems so happy."

___

Associated Press writers Sara Kugler, Amy Westfeldt and Adam Goldman contributed to this report.
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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by youre my dreamgirl » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:36 pm

This is such sad news. I feel so bad for all his family and friends, especially his young daughter. My heart goes out to her. I just really hope that the press leave them alone to grieve but sadly, I don't think that this will be the case.

Rest in peace.

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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by DreamerM&L » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:53 pm

When I first heard the news i thought it was fake.. a movie stunt or something like that but then i realised that this was not fake...this was totally unexpected and tragic. He still had not reached his potential and im sure he will be remembered for his films. I feel sorry for his family and friends especially his daughter. The press should stay away and respect their wishes to be left alone

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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by Raychelxluscious » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:27 pm

I was crushed when I found out about it. He was one of my many celebrity crushes, and he was such a talented actor! I loved him in the Patriot and Brokeback Mountain. He was simply brilliant, and I looked forward to seeing him in the new Batman movie.

It's still hard to believe. It's just goes to show that you never know when you're time is up, or who's next.

I feel so badly for his family and friends, for that little girl who will grow up with only pictures as memories of her father. Terrible.
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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by LizMichael 4 Ever » Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:34 am

Last night I saw a montash sort of thing for him on the news and was thinking "what give?????". Then the ancor woman said that he died........ I just couldn't believe it. He was/is one of my celeb. crushes. When I saw '10 Things I Hate About You', I fell for him. But he was such a great actor and it's saddening to see his flame extingwish so soon.

I hope the press leave his family and friends alone. And my heart goes out to his daughter. He will never get to see her grow up.



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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by singerchic4 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:08 am

I feel so sorry for his whole family. Michelle Williams grew up here in San Diego and lots of my friends knew her growing up. I feel just awful for her and her daughter. I know that she and his family cared for him deeply. This is just a tragedy.

My prayers are with you and your family Heath, you will be missed.
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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by girl afraid » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:19 am

I'm still in shock over this, it's a tremendous loss. My thoughts and prayers are with little Matilda, his family back home here in Australia and Michelle. :(

Also, those vile morons of the Westboro Baptist Church are planning to picket his funeral.....I try not to wish ill on anyone but I seriously think that they deserve to rot in hell. Hopefully they won't bother flying halfway around the world to do so.
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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by ISLANDGIRL5 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:45 am

girl afraid wrote:Also, those vile morons of the Westboro Baptist Church are planning to picket his funeral.....I try not to wish ill on anyone but I seriously think that they deserve to rot in hell. Hopefully they won't bother flying halfway around the world to do so.

Okay, that disgusts me. But I read that they have ruled out traveling to Australia, where it's reported his funeral is going to be held (rightfully so, considering his family is there, and that's where he was born). But, they have committed to protesting/picketing any memorial service or program honoring or remembering him held in the US. All because he starred in Brokeback Mountain. I'll admit, I've never seen it, and have no desire to, but I can't believe someone could use that movie as a good excuse to hate someone else so much that you can't even let them rest in peace after they're gone. How terribly sad and tragic is that outlook on life?
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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by Raychelxluscious » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:49 pm

It is disgusting. It's because he portrayed a homosexual. Mind you, these are the same people protesting fallen soldiers funerals, because "God hates the US," and some how homosexuals tie into that. :roll:

It's repulsive and really makes you weep for our future.
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Re: Heath Ledger, Gone at the age of 28

Post by singerchic4 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:56 pm

ISLANDGIRL5 wrote: But, they have committed to protesting/picketing any memorial service or program honoring or remembering him held in the US. All because he starred in Brokeback Mountain. I'll admit, I've never seen it, and have no desire to, but I can't believe someone could use that movie as a good excuse to hate someone else so much that you can't even let them rest in peace after they're gone. How terribly sad and tragic is that outlook on life?
I agree. I may or may not have liked that movie...but how could you protest an actor's funeral or remebrence because he was doing his job? He wasn't really a "gay cowboy who lived on Brokeback Mountain", he was an aussie, an actor, a father and a talented person. That's why they call it "acting" people. Yesh, do you think people would protest Brad Pitt's funeral because he was a hit man in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and 'killed' people in that movie? No! I'm not trying to say that they are exactly equal in every way, but seriously! And this is coming from someone who never had a desire to see Brokeback Mountain, its not my taste. But, I must still defend that protesting a man's funeral because he was in the movie is just too big of a stretch for me. A role is a role here people, they call it fiction for a reason.

And his family deserves the right to mourn in private! Its hard enough that the whole world has to pick this whole thing apart like this and that his daughter lost her dad...how can a person dare use a funeral as a means to protest a lifestyle? I would never accept my church picketing a memorial service. It is tactless and disrespectful to the family. Especially when the person who is being buried and remembered didn't even live the lifestyle of which the group is protesting! That makes no sense what so ever. If a group wants their feelings known, they need to find a more appropriate forum in which to do so. Bottom line. That is my two cents.

All of that aside, how can you not love the guy who starred in movies like "10 Things I Hate About You", "Ned Kelly", "A Knight's Tale", "The Patriot", and many many more. Gosh, I'm going to miss him. I need to go watch one of his movies right now, just to get over it... :cry: I've never cried so hard when his character died in the Patriot! Most people of my generation will tell you that was one of the saddest scenes of our generation. Its right up there with Bambi's mother! I just can't believe he's dead in real life now too...
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