Author Topic: Heath Ledger - News Accounts  (Read 361031 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #180 on: January 27, 2008, 03:44:58 am »


Heath's Death Could Be Natural Causes
Posted Jan 26th 2008 6:53PM by TMZ Staff




It sounds strange, but sources intimately connected with the Heath Ledger investigation tell TMZ it's possible the actor died of natural causes.

The reason they think that -- it's now appearing that the level of toxicity (from medication) in Ledger's system was low enough that it may not have caused his death. These sources say Heath's heart stopped. It could have been a heart attack but it's not certain, at least not yet. Although it's bizarre that a 28-year-old could die of natural causes, it happens.

We've also learned authorities do not believe the housekeeper heard Ledger snoring when she walked in his bedroom at around 1:00 PM. Sources tell us, a fireman observed rigor mortis in Ledger's jaw shortly after arriving on scene at around 3:30 PM. Sources say they now believe Ledger was dead for around three hours prior to their arrival, so they don't believe the masseuse could have heard snoring.

Authorities are also annoyed at news reports that there may have been a sinister plot to remove illegal drugs from Ledger's apartment before cops and firemen arrived. There are reports out there that the masseuse called Mary-Kate Olsen and a plot was hatched to have her bodyguard remove certain drugs. Authorities tell us that's impossible, because the cops were there the entire time the bodyguard was present and there would have been no opportunity to carry out such a plan. They say it's a made up story.

As we first reported, the masseuse contacted the bodyguard because she knew he was a licensed EMT.
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Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #181 on: January 27, 2008, 05:32:05 am »
Doesn't TMZ trash people much of the time?  Seems amazing they are basically saying what The Soup guy was saying, "So stop digging through the dirt, weasels."

I thought we were the only ones who knew he was so good and important.  Turns out a mighty lot of people feel that way.

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #182 on: January 27, 2008, 09:35:41 am »
from The Age, Australia:

Heath, worlds apart



January 27, 2008


Despite his soaring fame, Ledger's Perth home had a special place in his heart. Melissa Kent and Jacqueline Maley report.

AS HEATH LEDGER's body was stretchered out of a New York chapel yesterday, half a world away his home town grieved for a man torn between two lives. As the adulation, scrutiny, intense film roles and complicated relationships of his Hollywood life took their toll, Ledger never stopped yearning for the deep bonds of his Perth childhood.

"The beauty about being an Australian in Hollywood is we've got this sense of fearlessness that comes from knowing we can always go home," Ledger said in an early interview. "It's not a bad f---ing back-up plan."

For Ledger, home became a refuge so dearly cherished that during his last return over Christmas he took the unusual step of thanking the media for leaving him alone to relive his childhood.

"I would say they were probably the best years of his life. They were certainly some of the best years of my life," one of his long-time friends told The Sunday Age.

Perth in the 1980s, when Ledger was growing up, was as far removed as possible in attitude, spirit and distance from the fast-paced film world that was to become his life.

Far-flung, sleepy and safe, it was the backdrop for a carefree childhood and Ledger's was typical of most — a happy time spent ducking in and out of mates' houses around his Perth Hills home, playing sport and swimming at the beach.

As he grew older, Ledger and his friends would spend hours surfing at Scarborough Beach on weekends, playing hockey and cricket, and hanging out in the pits at Wanneroo Raceway watching his dad Kim race.

Ledger showed particular promise on the hockey field as a half-back for the Curtin Trinity Pirates, reaching state-level competition at 15.

Club president Ian Pestana recalls a talented player who had the potential to pursue the sport to the top level.

"He had a lot of potential to do very well as a sportsman," he said.

"He was very quick and had handy stick skills. His dad used to bring him down to training and would stay to watch. He really encouraged him."

A former teammate remembers Ledger as a kid who made friends quickly when he joined the team.

"We were pretty arrogant, we thought we were pretty good, but Heath just fit right in," he said. "After he joined the team, we won all the prizes. He certainly could have pursued hockey further, but I think he made the right (career) decision.

"We had a pretty awesome three years on the team. It was a great time I'll never forget."

Ledger didn't forget either — he recently made a donation to the club and came along to watch a grand final with his dad.

At Guildford Grammar School, drama replaced hockey as his first passion and it wasn't long before his emerging talent was noticed by casting agents.

One of his first acting roles was a TV ad for Chicken Treat — still fondly recalled by Perth TV audiences — which starred a young Heath basting a chicken, those famous blond curls sticking out from under his red and yellow cap.

From those humble beginnings his career began to take off, with roles on TV show Sweat and the Australian film Black Rock among the first serious revelations of his ability.

As his success continued, Ledger never forgot those friendships forged at school, on the hockey field and at the beach. He invited his group of close-knit buddies to share his success, often flying them to LA or New York to attend his film premieres or to stay at his apartment.

Guildford Grammar School principal Robert Zordan said the bond between Ledger and his mates was important to him.

"He established very close friends at this school and throughout his very successful film career he sent text messages to his mates and invited them to stay with him at his apartment in New York," he said.

"He was an earthy sort of character and the beaut thing is, stardom never went to his head."

Despite his normal, knockabout childhood, there was always something a bit different about young Heath.

A little more intense than his peers, Ledger showed early signs of the character trait that was to later influence his eclectic choice of film roles and penchant for delving into dark characters such as the Joker.

"He was super cool, you know. Even though he was one of us, he was very mature; a deep thinker," a friend said.

"Just the way he talked, sometimes it was like he grew up in the 1600s or something. His dad was a big influence in that way, I think."

While Ledger's tragic death came at a pivotal time in his career, the final few months of his short life suggested his life in New York was a far cry from the happy childhood he enjoyed growing up in Perth.

Despite enjoying the attentions of a string of beautiful women, including Helena Christensen, Mary-Kate Olsen and Gemma Ward, Ledger struggled to deal with the separation from his daughter, Matilda, following his split with fiancee Michelle Williams.

A week before his death, he looked "pretty banged up" while filming in a wintry London street, according to a witness on the set.

Ledger spent the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before his death in the Dickensian back lanes of Clerkenwell, East London, where he was filming scenes from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

"He was sitting in the corner, sneezing and coughing," said Cheryl Dougal, a barmaid at the Horseshoe, the 17th-century pub that was the location for the shoot.

"He looked pretty banged up."

The outdoor shoot continued despite the drizzle that clouded London in a slate-grey mist last week. As the temperature dropped into single figures at night, the actors were ferried back between takes to their trailers a few streets away.

Ledger arrived on set in full costume and make-up, wearing a white cloak, a helmet and a beak-mask, for his role as a shadowy outsider who joins the theatre troupe of Dr Parnassus, played by Christopher Plummer.

This week, Plummer said the London set had been cold. "You know how damp it gets in London. And at night the temperature drops horribly, and that little breeze gets up. You have to wear tonnes of stuff," he told Entertainment Weekly.

"Heath did have a terrible, lingering bug and he couldn't sleep at all. We all thought he'd probably got walking pneumonia."

Bur Plummer said speculation that Ledger committed suicide didn't make any sense.

"He was looking forward … he was in such a good, happy mood about the picture. Looking forward to going to Vancouver. He was enjoying the film thoroughly.

"I just left a very laughing, happy fellow, practically a few minutes ago. It's quite shocking because it's so incredible."

With THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/01/26/1201157738746.html
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #183 on: January 27, 2008, 09:41:29 am »
from The New York Times:

January 27, 2008

When Icons Die Young


By JENNY LYN BADER

A YOUNG man lying in bed seems at peace. You might recognize him, or not, as he is not in a familiar role. He is supposed to wake up but he never does, causing a surge of public sadness.

Heath Ledger passed away only Tuesday, but his transformation is already under way, from acclaimed actor to most-searched Internet term, from film star to cultural touchstone.

The blogosphere went into overdrive. In two days his memorial page on Facebook had over 30,000 members. The entertainment Web site TMZ generated over 74 pages of user comments. Hundreds of eulogies for the 28-year-old Australian appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald’s site.

What accounts for this need to pay public tribute? Successive generations have felt that impulse — the need to make sense of untimely death, and even justify it, by celebrating the dead young person in an outsize way, or, every so often, to attend the funeral of someone they don’t know.

When the actor Rudolph Valentino lay in state in 1926 at the age of 31, more than 50,000 fans showed up. In 1955, Baby Boomers grieved the passing of the 24-year-old James Dean, who received two posthumous Academy Award nominations on his way to the pantheon.

In 1994, Generation X-ers, too, lost a 20-something artistic legend, with the death of Kurt Cobain. Mr. Cobain proved an unfortunate role model to some younger followers, inspiring a few copycat suicides and fueling speculation that there could be a wave of such imitations. This phenomenon, known as the Werther Effect, takes its name from Goethe’s “Sorrows of Young Werther.” The popular novel featured a hero who like Mr. Cobain, stirred fans both to dress like him and die like him.

When Marilyn Monroe died of a drug overdose three decades earlier, the overall suicide rate in the United States briefly rose by 12 percent. Fortunately, perhaps due to all the therapy and anti-depressants available in the 1990s, Mr. Cobain never had quite the Werther Effect that Werther had.

Star suicides shock us, raising the question of whether celebrities, underneath all their glamorous trappings, are just as miserable and depressed as everyone else. The suicides of the abject rarely, but occasionally, attract attention, too.

In 1770, the starving poet Thomas Chatterton killed himself at 17. His talents were not recognized until later, when the Romantic poets began romanticizing his literary brilliance and tragic death. Two of those who praised Chatterton met tragic early ends themselves — Keats by tuberculosis at 25, Shelley by drowning at 29.

As of now, the death of Mr. Ledger seems unintentional. No matter: the unintended death of someone with so much to live for captivates the public, too. Consider the mania surrounding Tutankhamen more than 3,000 years after he died at age 18.

In generational terms, the death of a contemporary most frightens the young. When one notable lifetime ends, that generation begins to end, too. The death of someone cut down in the prime of life brings home our own mortality. Maybe our rendering them immortal is our way of not facing that inevitability.

Yet, ultimately, the sudden loss of a young luminary offers a powerful message, not only about death but about life choices. There is the dilemma of Achilles, the Greek hero who learns from his mother that he has two options: go home and live a long life or die at war and earn everlasting fame.

He chooses fame, and upon his early death is mourned by mortals and gods alike. When a 20-something superstar expires, one cannot help but wonder how many celebrities make Achilles’ bargain with fame. In a way it is comforting, perhaps even life affirming, for the majority of human beings, nonsuperstars, to think they have chosen the other course.

Then there are the hard-core fans. One big fan of Achilles was Alexander the Great, who pretty much conquered the known world by the age of 25. He died at 32.

Mr. Ledger was originally offered the role of Alexander played by Colin Farrell in the biopic. Instead he will be remembered for being a leading man who is all things to all people from Casanova himself to Ennis del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain” to a literal knight in shining armor. In a way he will even be remembered for his courage, in a day and age when playing a gay role requires courage. And today he seems poised to conquer at least some of the known world in another way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bader.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=heath+ledger&st=nyt&oref=slogin
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #184 on: January 27, 2008, 09:46:12 am »
from the Associated Press, by way of the New York Times:

January 26, 2008

Redford to Take on 'A Walk in the Woods'


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 3:51 p.m. ET

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- With the Sundance Film Festival nearly over, Robert Redford is going for ''A Walk in the Woods.''

Redford told The Associated Press that his next film project is an adaptation of the best-selling 1998 Bill Bryson book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. He will produce the film and star as Bryson, and Barry Levinson is expected to direct it.

''It'll be fun. I don't know when I've read a book that I laughed so loud,'' Redford said by phone Friday from California. ''Also it's a chance to take a look at the country. ... The backdrop is pretty terrific, if you stop to think of all the visuals that are possible as they go along that trail.''

After that, Redford said he'll tackle the ''inside, down-to-the mats story'' of how Branch Rickey helped Jackie Robinson break into major league baseball in 1947.

''What Rickey had to do, what Robinson had to go through, and the partnership they had to form, that's a story nobody knows,'' Redford said. ''It's just a fascinating story.''

Redford, who has been part of Sundance since its inception 30 years ago, said he and other festival-goers were shocked and saddened by the news that actor Heath Ledger died on Tuesday. Ledger had appeared in two Sundance films, 1997's ''Blackrock'' and 1999's ''Two Hands.''

''I just think he was one of those actors that was very, very special because he played so many different kinds of roles, and much of his work was more in the independent area,'' Redford said. ''That's too young to check out.''

As for this year's Sundance festival, which concludes Sunday, Redford said he was only able to see a few films, including ''U2 3D,'' ''In Bruges'' and ''What Just Happened?'' which was directed by Levinson.

Redford noted that there were more new filmmakers at the festival this year than ever before, and praised the ''crossover'' movies that have grown in prominence here: ''You're seeing music in film, you're seeing poetry in film, you're seeing animation.''

Redford reiterated his concern that the festival is being judged not by its films but by peripheral activities like the lavish parties companies throw to attract celebrities and promote the companies' products.

''I don't have any problem with a large part of this. It's just once some of the media began to focus on the other part, and then judge us by that, then that got frustrating,'' he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Film-Sundance-Redford.html?scp=12&sq=heath+ledger&st=nyt
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #185 on: January 27, 2008, 01:39:57 pm »
Heath Ledger Mourned In Private Los Angeles Memorial


Huffington Post   |   January 27, 2008 09:01 AM


Heath Ledger was mourned in a private memorial Saturday in Los Angeles attended by family, friends and former girlfriends. He was found dead in New York on Tuesday. His casket was taken from New York to Los Angeles late Friday afternoon.

The New York Daily News reports:


Security guards stood at the gates of the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary as LAPD officers swept the grounds after closing hours.

Soon after, three black SUVs believed to be carrying Heath's father and other relatives as well as his ex-fiancée, the actress Michelle Williams, sped onto the grounds. They left a half hour later.

Also spotted entering the chapel where Heath's coffin lay was actress Naomi Watts, who dated the Oscar-nominated actor for nearly two years...

Two SUVs also left Williams' Brooklyn townhouse early yesterday for the airport. Several bags of luggage and a car seat used by Ledger's 2-year-old daughter with Williams were loaded into the vehicles before they whisked several people away from the Boerum Hill home.



People Magazine reports:


A memorial that drew Naomi Watts and other friends and relatives of Heath Ledger was held in Beverly Hills on Saturday night, just hours after the actor's death was marked at a New York event.

A small gathering of black-dressed mourners, including the Australian actress, was seen in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel around 8 p.m. for the private event, a source said. Ledger's rep had said that no public memorial was planned for Los Angeles.




Us Magazine reports the Beverly Hills Hotel event was an intimate memorial dinner:

Around fifteen people wore black for the occasion as they reminisced about the 28-year-old actor who was found dead in Manhattan on Tuesday.

An onlooker tells Usmagazine.com, "Even though it was a sad occasion, everyone was smiling, hugging each other and holding hands. It was a really positive group."



His body is now expected to be taken to Perth by his family. Mary-Kate Olsen continues to maintain her silence over the 3 phone calls she received before 911, other than a brief statement she released on Friday. His inconclusive autopsy has toxicology results still pending.


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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #186 on: January 27, 2008, 01:58:36 pm »
Authorities are also annoyed at news reports that there may have been a sinister plot to remove illegal drugs from Ledger's apartment before cops and firemen arrived. There are reports out there that the masseuse called Mary-Kate Olsen and a plot was hatched to have her bodyguard remove certain drugs. Authorities tell us that's impossible, because the cops were there the entire time the bodyguard was present and there would have been no opportunity to carry out such a plan. They say it's a made up story.

Gah, who knows.  We're just going to have to wait for the toxicology tests.  I just got the People magazine with Heath on the cover and it's nothing but an article full of comments about Heath's "partying" and (illegal) drug use.

Offline Meryl

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #187 on: January 27, 2008, 02:04:41 pm »
Thanks for that article, John.  That's the first hard news we've had about an LA memorial service.  I'll update the first post on the Developments thread.

I'm very glad that it looks like Phelps and his crew have been thwarted in their plans to picket.  Thank goodness!  :P
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Offline dot-matrix

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #188 on: January 27, 2008, 08:33:56 pm »
I feel certain that Jake and Maggie were at this memorial




Ledger family heading home

Sarah-Jane Collins
January 28, 2008


A PRIVATE memorial service for Heath Ledger was held in Los Angeles yesterday. The 28-year-old actor's family and friends attended the service, which took place in Beverly Hills, the website etonline reported.

And in New York, at the G'Day USA Australia Day Ball, a letter from Ledger's father was read to the 1000-strong crowd of guests inside the Waldorf Astoria hotel's grand ballroom.

"Heath is, and always will be, an Australian," wrote Kim Ledger in a message read by John Olsen, the Australian consul-general in New York. "He adored his home. His last two weeks with us over Christmas in Perth were just bliss.

"Heath did not become an actor for the fame or fortune. He loved his craft and he loved helping his friends.

"My image of Heath in New York is him with his skateboard, a canvas bag and his beanie. That was Heath to me."

The actor's death last Tuesday shook the large Australian contingent of celebrities, politicians, trade officials and entertainers who gathered at the glamour event to celebrate the end of the two-week G'Day USA festival.

Ledger's body was removed from New York's Frank E. Campbell funeral home on Saturday in a wooden crate for the long journey back to Perth. His family flew to the US to escort his body.

Ledger's memorial in LA was a private affair, open only to family and friends, including many of the stars and directors who worked with him during his 20-plus film career.

"There are no plans for a public service," Ledger's US-based publicist Mara Buxbaum said in an email to the New York Times newspaper.

That decision was made to protect the family's privacy and avoid a possible confrontation with US religious fanatics who threatened to picket any memorial service for the star because of the actor's portrayal of a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.

In the days since his death there has been frenzied speculation over what killed the young star, after the results of autopsy on his body were inconclusive.

Reports in the British press have speculated that Ledger was heavily dependent on both prescription and illicit drugs, and had become increasingly anxious over custody arrangements for his two-year-old daughter, Matilda.

But a report on celebrity gossip site TMZ.com said sources close to the actor believed there was a real possibility his death was a result of natural causes.

"It's now appearing that the level of toxicity (from medication) in Ledger's system was low enough that it may not have caused his death," the site reported.

With AGENCIES


This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/01/27/1201368944851.html

Life is not a dress rehearsal

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #189 on: January 28, 2008, 10:10:55 am »
From The Age, Australia:

Hutchence's mother reaches out to Ledger family



January 28, 2008 - 10:35AM

The mother of late rock star Michael Hutchence says she has "shed tears" for Heath Ledger's daughter, who will never know her father.

Patricia Glassop has reached out to Ledger's mother Sally in an open letter to New Idea magazine, sharing the "heartbreak" of losing a son in the prime of his life.

"I wished I could pick up the phone to give you some consolation as I shed tears for your family, loved ones and Matilda," Ms Glassop said.

"I know how heartbreaking it is to see your son in a bodybag."

Ledger, 28, died in his Manhattan apartment on Tuesday, which would have been Hutchence's 48th birthday.

Hutchence died at Sydney's Ritz-Carlton hotel in November 1997, with the NSW coroner ruling he had committed suicide.

Some of those closest to him, including his brother, believe he accidentally strangled himself during a sex act.

Ledger had been tipped to play Hutchence during a biopic of the late INXS frontman.

Ms Glassop said Ledger's daughter Matilda would suffer most.

"(She), like my granddaughter Tiger Lily, will never know her father ... it breaks my heart to think about her watching his films, like Tiger watches Michael's clips," she said.

The cause of Ledger's death remains unclear, with authorities awaiting toxicology results to determine whether he may have suffered a drug overdose.

His body was removed from New York's Frank E Campbell funeral home yesterday in a wooden crate for the long journey home to Perth, where he will be farewelled by family and friends.

AAP

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/01/28/1201368992658.html
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