Author Topic: Heath Ledger - News Accounts  (Read 364290 times)

Offline Phillip Dampier

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts - Special Report from London
« Reply #50 on: January 23, 2008, 12:53:51 pm »
Jack Nicholson on tragic death of Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger: 'I warned him'
{Thisislondon}
 
The news of Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger's death in a New York apartment has caused shockwaves around the world, but it didn't come as a surprise to one Hollywood star.

A revealing – if ambiguous - comment made by Jack Nicholson hints he was aware Ledger was battling personal demons.

The acting veteran, who played the Batman's most famous Joker, said in London last night: "I warned him.”

The comment came as the 28-year-old's family rejected speculation Ledger committed suicide.

An intial autopsy carried out by the New York City Medical Examiner was "inconclusive", according to U.S. reports.

The official investigation was launched after a police spokesperson confirmed sleeping pills - both prescription medication and non-prescription - were found in the vicinity of the actor's body.

In Perth, his home town, Ledger's father Kim read out a statement in which he insisted the death was an accident.

Surrounded by his ex-wife Sally and their sobbing daughter Kate, he said: “We confirm the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda.”

He went on to describe his son as "a down to earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving and selfless individual who was extremely inspirational to many."

Kim continued: "Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life that few had the pleasure of truly knowing him."

It has been revealed Ledger made a friend promise to call and “wake me up” hours before his death.

Film director Shekhar Kapur said Ledger had asked him to call the next morning during a conversation on the eve of the tragedy.

Kapur, who directed Ledger in The Four Feathers, telephoned him on Monday after arriving in New York from London.

“I last spoke to him the night before he died. He said he could not see me that night but really wanted to meet me the next day. He made me promise that I would call him in the morning and wake him up. I tried. Little did I know that his soul had already left his body,” he said.

He added: “He was one of the most gentle, the most honest, most caring, and most compassionate persons I had met.”

The actor was found dead at a SoHo, Manhattan residence, where he had been staying on a temporary basis.

Sources told Mail Online today that Ledger had been battling substance abuse problems - including an addiction to heroin - for some time.

"He had a stint in rehab last year when he was treated for heroin," a source told The Daily Mail, adding that Ledger was increasingly introverted at the time of his death.

There are claims the strain of playing the Joker in the new Batman film may have proved too much for the star – in a recent interview he told how the role of a “murderous psychopath” had left him “sleepless and exhausted”. He is also said to have recently suffered pneumonia.

He was only sleeping around two hours a night, with reports speculating his reliance on sleeping pills lead to his "accidental overdose".

A housekeeper at Ledger's New York City apartment made shocking discovery of his body face down on a bed at 3.20pm local time on Tuesday afternoon.

Minutes earlier, the housekeeper had opened the door to a masseuse, who had an appointment with the actor.

The Hollywood website TMZ.com reported that Ledger was in cardiac arrest when emergency services arrived on the scene.

The actor's body was moved to the floor but subsequent attempts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead at 3.35pm, at the scene.

Police are treating Ledger's death as possible suicide or an accidental drugs overdose.

Officers have blocked anyone from entering the apartment and said a full autopsy will be carried out on Ledger's body on today.

His remains were removed by police in a body bag from the apartment three hours after his death.

Ledger's ex-fiancée Michelle Williams and their two year old daughter Matilda flew from a film set in Sweden to their home in Brooklyn following tragedy.

“You can't begin to imagine the state she's in,” an executive on the film told the Mail Online.

Her father Larry Williams said: “It has just broken everybody's heart in my family. I think Tennyson got it right in the poem he described someone as having died at a young age but burning the candles at both ends. And oh what a beautiful flame he made. That was Heath.”

He said Ledger was devoted to the couple's daughter.

"The saddest thing is his daughter whom he just loved dearly. The Tennyson poem is just so true. His years were few but he left a beautiful legacy."

An insider disclosed that the Oscar nominated star had been battling substance abuse problems during the later part of his life.

Perth-born Ledger took his break-up with Williams last September very badly, according to the source.

"Heath was shattered by his split from Michelle," the source told Mail Online, adding: "He became a recluse. He barely slept he was dealing with terrible mood swings."

Ledger spent the past several months mourning the loss of his relationship with Williams and friends say he had become an introvert, who was headed in a downward spiral.

"Heath totally wanted to be on his own these past few months since he and Michelle split in September," says a source. "She was very much in love with him, but the fact he continued to dabble in drugs kept their relationship from being one she could rely on.

"He adored his daughter Matilda, and when Michelle called it quits, he missed Matilda so much that he was thrown into a deep dark depression.

"Heath was living in New York to be close to his daughter. But he hardly ever ventured out anymore.

"His close friend and Brokeback co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal has been worried about him for months. And he knew Heath was sinking further into a depression. Jake is Matilda's godfather, and he and Heath had become really close since they did the film Brokeback together.

"Jake wanted Heath to get help, but he refused, and now it looks as though he may have died of a drug overdose.

"Michelle will be devastated by the news, because she always hoped he would get help and they could manage to work out their relationship for the sake of their daughter.

"Now poor little Matty is left without a father, and Heath has died a senseless death.

"He had so much to live for and he was so talented. He was working on a new film, and he had everything in life to live for. Now, tragically, he has thrown it all away at just 28."

Industry observers spoke last night of the increasingly "unhinged" way that Ledger has carried himself professionally and personally in recent months.

"It's easy to think an actor is just dressing bizarrely and acting weird on the red carpet to try to drum up some interest in themselves. But a picture is fast emerging, through discussions with his friends and work associates, that Heath has really been very out of it for months.

"And he's been battling some pretty serious demons. It's just so incredible that it was allowed to gone on unchecked for so long."

Ledger's former fiancée Williams failed to talk sense into her now deceased former partner.

"She cared for him deeply but his life was unmanageable," said the source. "As much as she wanted to stay together, he was a different person these past couple of years.

"The tragic reality was that he lost his grip on life."

As for Ledger's trip to rehab, the source said: "It was during his filming of The Dark Knight. Heath's addiction was really getting in the way of his ability to act. He went to rehab but left fairly quickly, within a number of days.

"Tragically, he never really faced up to his addictions. Had he done so, he would be alive today."

It was at the Venice Film Festival in September of last year that Ledger first started displaying signs of being floored by his split with Williams and at was then that friends noticed a change of behaviour in him.

After behaving oddly during a press junket at the festival on the Venice Lido all day on September 3rd, Ledger went alone to a party thrown by Italian designer Alberta Ferretti on a yacht moored off the main city at 10pm.

Ledger arrived dressed "as if he was homeless", said a source.

"It looked as if he was if he was trying to make some kind of point. He drifted around the party not talking to anyone for half an hour and then just walked off into the night like a lost soul. It was most odd.

"He and Richard Gere were both special guests at the party. But Heath was just like a ghost. It was obvious something awful had happened to him."

In an interview last November, Ledger spoke of the joy of fatherhood; "Having a child changes every aspect of your life – for the better, of course. The sacrifices are large, but what you get in return is even bigger than the sacrifices you make.

"I feel, in a sense, ready to die because you are living on in your child."

Chief among his celebrity confidants during the final stages of his life was fellow Australian Naomi Watts, who dated Ledger for two years after meeting on the set of Ned Kelly.

Ledger was currently in the middle of filming the Terry Gilliam movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death. Last weekend, he was photographed dressed as a clown on set in London.

The fantasy-adventure film about a travelling theatre troupe was scheduled for release next year.

Born in Perth, Western Australia, to race car driver Kim Ledger and French teacher Sally Bell, the actor left school at age 16 to pursue his acting career in Sydney.

After making his TV debut in children's TV series Clowning Around at the age of 13, Ledger made his first big screen outing in Australian drama Blackrock.

Ledger's breakout Hollywood role came in 1999 teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, alongside Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

After high-profile roles opposite Mel Gibson in The Patriot and Halle Berry in Monster's Ball, Ledger was firmly established as a leading man in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

Ledger was Oscar-nominated for his acclaimed performance as gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, but missed out to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Academy Award for Capote.

He can currently be seen in cinemas playing Bob Dylan in I'm Not There alongside Cate Blanchett and Richard Gere.

His performance as The Joker in Batman sequel The Dark Knight has already received a good reception from test audiences. The movie is expected to be a blockbuster when it is released this summer.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group, who produced the Batman movie, has issued a statement: "The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. The entertainment community has lost an enormous talent.

"Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person. Our hearts go out to his family and friends."

As well as his film career, Ledger also had a love for music and started a record company with American musician Ben Harper.

Ledger's demise comes just a week after the sudden death of another young Hollywood star, 25-year-old Brad Renfro. It is believed Renfro died of a suspected drug overdose.

Despite his high-profile relationships with Williams, Watts and Heather Graham, Ledger hated the media attention that came with his fame and had often hit the headlines for altercations with the paparazzi.

As well as his parents and daughter Matilda, Ledger is also survived by his sister Katherine, and half-sisters Olivia Ledger and Ashleigh Bell.


Heath Ledger's filmography

The Dark Knight (2008}
I'm Not There (2007)
Candy (2006)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
Ned Kelly (2003)
The Four Feathers (2002)
Monster's Ball (2001)
A Knight's Tale (2001)
The Patriot (2000)
Two Hands (1999)
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Paws (1997)
Blackrock (1997)
Clowning Around (1992)
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Offline Kd5000

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts
« Reply #51 on: January 23, 2008, 01:09:44 pm »
Phillip,what sort of reputation does the Melbourne Herlad Sun have. Are they a tabloid?

There article on Heath Ledger leads with the headline

"Heath Ledger dies battling drugs and depression"

Here's the link 

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23099380-661,00.html

I'm not posting the article because it says that there were generic prescriptions for Valium and Xanax as well as sleeping pills at the scene.  I haven't heard that before, i.e., anti-anxiety meds being involved. Don't know if they are just reporting rumors.

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts
« Reply #52 on: January 23, 2008, 01:27:16 pm »
From the New York Times:

January 24, 2008
Appreciation
An Actor Whose Work Will Outlast the Frenzy

By A. O. SCOTT

The defining performance of Heath Ledger’s tragically foreshortened career — more or less equivalent to what Jim Stark in “Rebel Without a Cause” was for James Dean — will surely be the role of Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain.”

A portrait of inarticulate love and thwarted desire, Ennis is a rich, complicated character succinctly sketched in Annie Proulx’s original short story and brought to heartbreaking life by the film’s screenwriters, Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, by its director, Ang Lee, and above all by Mr. Ledger himself.

Outwardly, Ennis presents a familiar image of rough-hewn western masculinity, and the longing that surges under his taciturn demeanor does not so much contradict this image as help to explain it. Ennis’s love for Jack Twist, whom he meets tending sheep on a Wyoming mountaintop in the early 1960s, takes Ennis by surprise and throws him permanently off balance. His lifelong silence, the film suggests, is less a sign of strength than of cowardice, a crippling inability to acknowledge or communicate the truth of his own feelings.

What made the performance so remarkable was that Mr. Ledger, without betraying Ennis’s dignity or his reserve, was nonetheless able to convey that truth to the audience. This kind of sensitivity — the ability to signal an inner emotional state without overtly showing it — is what distinguishes great screen acting from movie-star posing. And while Mr. Ledger was handsome enough, and famous enough, to be called a movie star, he was serious enough, and smart enough, to be suspicious of deploying his charisma too easily or cheaply.

In retrospect, the best thing that happened to him — the lucky break for his admirers, at any rate —may have been his early failure to live up to his apparent movie-star potential. He was the most likable of the young things in the Shakespeare-derived teen comedy “10 Things I Hate About You,” with his curly hair, high forehead and the permanent intimation of a smirk on his thin-lipped, angled mouth. And as often happens with young actors Hollywood, his good looks and easy charm looked like a ticket to the commercial big time. Dutifully, but also with sparks of playful, eager energy, he played period golden boys in “The Patriot” and “A Knight’s Tale,” a misbegotten (but not entirely unenjoyable) entry in the evergreen, ever-silly costume-action genre.

It is hard to know exactly when Mr. Ledger discovered his range, and set about trying to explore it, but it is clear that he covered a lot of ground in a very short time. He had a taste for portraying troubled, brooding, self-destructive young men, it’s true — the anguished second-generation prison guard in “Monster’s Ball”; the heroin addict in “Candy”; the unhappy film star in “I’m Not There,” in addition to Ennis — but the temptation to blend their fates with Mr. Ledger’s own should be resisted at all costs. Those roles should be seen less as expressions of some imagined inner torment than as evidence of resourcefulness, creative restlessness and wit.

Those same characteristics are abundantly evident in less well-known movies that should not be overlooked. Mr. Ledger was hilarious and eccentric in Catherine Hardwicke’s “Lords of Dogtown,” playing a shaggy old-timer on the Venice Beach surf- and skateboard scene, and affably mischievous in Terry Gilliam’s “Brothers Grimm,” alongside Matt Damon. Ennis Del Mar is complemented and complicated by Casanova, whom Mr. Ledger played in Lasse Hallstrom’s unfairly neglected biopic-as-sex-farce, which came and went too quickly in late 2005, during the ascendancy of “Brokeback Mountain.” It’s not just that the flamboyantly heterosexual Casanova is Ennis Del Mar’s opposite in obvious ways. He is also a creature of pure whimsy, a lighter-than-air confection of licentiousness and gallantry.

Which is not to say that Mr. Ledger’s performance is frivolous. Rather, it required intelligence, restraint and a tricky lightness of touch. Mr. Ledger’s had an unusual ability to mix lightness and gravity, an emotional nimbleness he displayed most fully, perhaps, in Todd Haynes’s “I’m Not There.” Of the six avatars of Bob Dylan in that film, his, an actor named Robbie Clark, is the most remote from Mr. Dylan’s various personae and closest to the prosaic world of love, fame and ambition. Bobby starts out full of youthful energy, heedless and in love, and finds himself a decade later adrift and disappointed, robbed of the happiness that early success had seemed to promise.

Again, it’s important to warn against looking in that film, or any other, for clues or portents. It seems to me that Mr. Ledger, in his choice of roles, was motivated above all by curiosity, and perhaps also by an impatience with the predictability and caution that can settle around the shoulders of talented young stars. In heroic roles, like “A Knight’s Tale” or “Ned Kelly,” he often seems bored, which may be why he so eagerly seized the chance to play the sociopathic Joker in “The Dark Knight,” the next installment in the “Batman” franchise.

The dismaying sense of loss and waste at Mr. Ledger’s death at the age of 28 comes not only because he was so young, but also because his talent was large and as yet largely unmapped. It seems inevitable that he will now be inscribed in the cult of the beautiful stars who died too young, alongside James Dean, Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe. Even before his death, he had been ensnared in a pathological gossip culture that chews up the private lives of celebrities, and Tuesday’s news unleashed the usual rituals of media cannibalism.

Mr. Ledger’s work will outlast the frenzy. But there should have been more. Instead of being preserved as a young star eclipsed in his prime, he should have had time to outgrow his early promise and become the strange, surprising, era-defining actor he always had the potential to be.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts - Funeral May Be Moved - Protests
« Reply #53 on: January 23, 2008, 01:32:35 pm »
The funeral for Heath Ledger may be held in his native Australia in lieu of a service in the United States with Tuesday's announcement by the Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church that he intends to disrupt and protest the funeral.

Phelps and his supporters, which run a website GodHatesFags.com, released a statement late last night that hundreds of protesters intend to picket and shout down any funeral service for the 28-year old actor found dead in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds? Phelps's usual bullshit grandstanding. If I remember correctly, the last time he pulled a stunt like this there were only a few members of his own famiily there.

He's too lunatic fringe for even the lunatic fringe.
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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts
« Reply #54 on: January 23, 2008, 01:37:40 pm »
Hundreds? Phelps's usual bullshit grandstanding. If I remember correctly, the last time he pulled a stunt like this there were only a few members of his own famiily there.

He's too lunatic fringe for even the lunatic fringe.

Actually they came to the UU church I work for shortly after the marriage bill was passed in MA & prtested.  I looked this man in the face and crossed their little hate line, went in and sang a performance of the Mozart Requiem.  Ironic isn't it.

Offline Kd5000

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts
« Reply #55 on: January 23, 2008, 01:39:07 pm »
Phelps has to pay out a USD 11,000,000 lawsuit settlement.  What happened to that?  I thought if you can't pay it, the courts can confiscate whatever assets you do have. Am I wrong???
=============================================================
Jury Awards $11 Million in Damages for Phelps Protest at Funeral
Members of Fred Phelps's fundamentalist Kansas church, ordered to pay nearly $11 million in damages to a grieving father, smiled as they walked out of the courtroom, vowing that the verdict would not deter them from protesting at military funerals.

Members promised to picket future funerals with placards bearing such slogans as ''Thank God for dead soldiers'' and ''God hates fags.''

''Absolutely, don't you understand this was an act in futility?'' said Shirley Phelps-Roper, whose father founded the Westboro Baptist Church.

The group believes that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. They say they are entitled to protest at funerals under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.

Albert Snyder sued the Topeka, Kan., church after a protest last year at the funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. He claimed the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.

A jury agreed. On Wednesday, the church and three of its leaders -- Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis -- were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress. Jurors awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages.

Snyder, of York, Pa., said he hoped other families would consider suing.

''The goal wasn't about the money; it was to set a precedent so other people could do the same thing,'' he said.

Appearing on NBC's Today show Thursday, Sndyer said that while his son was fighting for freedom for Iraqis, ''my son did not fight for hate speech.

http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid50136.asp

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts - Special Report from London
« Reply #56 on: January 23, 2008, 01:39:29 pm »
Heath Ledger's filmography

The Dark Knight (2008}
I'm Not There (2007)
Candy (2006)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
Ned Kelly (2003)
The Four Feathers (2002)
Monster's Ball (2001)
A Knight's Tale (2001)
The Patriot (2000)
Two Hands (1999)
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Paws (1997)
Blackrock (1997)
Clowning Around (1992)

They forgot Casanova.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts - Special Report from London
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2008, 01:42:47 pm »
Jack Nicholson on tragic death of Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger: 'I warned him'
{Thisislondon}

We can all see what's going to happen here, can't we? We're going to go from arguing over whether Jack was murdered to whether Heath died of an illegal drug overdose.

God, I hope not.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts
« Reply #58 on: January 23, 2008, 01:46:24 pm »
We cannot focus on the reasons, or the results.  Even if this were someone we didn't feel any kinship to, it wouldn't serve any purpose to debase ourselves by engaging in that kind of speculative clap trap.

We DO have to focus on the lessons we can learn from not only his life, but what his contribution to a story that has inarguably changed all of our lives has meant to us.  Don't ever let a moment go by where you can say "I love you".  That is the essence of community, and that is why we are here now!

I love you all very much.  Each and every one of you are precious to me.

Offline BelAir

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Re: Heath Ledger Dead - News Accounts - Autopsy Results
« Reply #59 on: January 23, 2008, 02:14:17 pm »
No more than I expected. They never get toxicology reports right away.

and what takes the longest is the tissue analysis (too look for heart disease, etc.)
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