Author Topic: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...  (Read 361784 times)

Offline BennyBoy

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An Actor Whose Work Will Outlast the Frenzy
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2008, 05:50:07 pm »
From film critic 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 disinclination to realize his movie-star potential. He was the most likable of the young things in the "Taming of the Shrew"-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 in 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 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 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 BennyBoy

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2008, 05:56:12 pm »
Rare is the performance that can honestly be called a "revelation," but that's what it felt like to watch Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain." Not only did he bring iconic life and nuance to the existential loneliness of Ennis Del Mar, a taciturn but complex (and conflicted) character, but for such mature work to spring from the teen-idol star of "10 Things I Hate About You" and "A Knight's Tale" was... well, revelatory itself -- the astonishing revelation of a suddenly, fully developed actor whose juvenile efforts scarcely indicated he'd be capable of such moving depth and clarity. Ledger emerged as if from a cocoon, gleaming with promise and flexing his wings.

Only two years after he received his first Oscar nomination for this iconic, star-making performance, it seems unthinkable that we should be mourning his death, at the age of 28....

Ledger's work as Robbie Clark, one of six "Bob Dylan" figures in Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There" -- and the tantalizingly creepy advance stills of his makeup-smeared face as The Joker in Christopher Nolan's upcoming "Batman Begins" sequel, "The Dark Knight" -- proved he was somebody it would be a joy to watch morph and change over time. It never occurred to me that he wouldn't create an impressive body of work across a wide range of roles, and probably win more Oscar nominations for them, in the course of the rich and varied career ahead of him.

In "I'm Not There," he plays an actor who once played fictionalized Dylanesque folksinger Jack Rollins (played by his "Dark Knight" co-star Christian Bale, three years his senior and another of the most exciting actors of his generation) in a Hollywood bio-pic. It takes a fine actor to play a decent actor giving a not-so-good performance (yet still good enough that he might become a star because of the role). And in the scenes with his wife Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a romance that spans the Vietnam era from Godardian cafe conversations to domestic breakup melodrama, Ledger shines with youthful exuberance and intelligence.

"I would like to know what is at the center of your world," Claire says early in their acquaintance.

"Well, I'm 22, I guess I would say me," Robbie replies.

It's a favorite moment, both a confession and a sly evasion, from one of my favorite films of last year -- refreshingly candid, funny, bright, unpretentious. And now heartbreaking as well.

Jim Emerson
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Offline BennyBoy

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Tributes and memories
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2008, 06:29:49 pm »
A good article from CNN

An autopsy Wednesday morning on actor Heath Ledger was inconclusive, and a cause-of-death determination will take 10 to 14 days, a medical examiner's spokeswoman said.

The Academy Award-nominated actor was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said. He was 28.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday that Ledger was found face down in a normal sleeping position and not at the foot of his bed, as had been previously reported.

Kelly said technicians collected a $20 bill found in the apartment for testing, because of the way it was folded.

Flowers, notes and a candle were left by mourning fans on the sidewalk outside the Soho apartment building.

"You did great work and I know your fans were looking forward to what more you had to offer," read one note.

Ledger's former girlfriend, actress Michelle Williams, who was shooting a movie in Sweden, was informed of his death late Tuesday night, a movie production company spokesman said.

Williams left early Wednesday morning with 2-year-old daughter Matilda Rose, the spokesman said. Ledger was the child's father.

Ledger, Oscar-nominated for his role in "Brokeback Mountain," was found by a housekeeper trying to wake him for an appointment with a masseuse, said police spokesman Paul Browne.

Browne later told reporters some prescription medications were found in the room, including sleeping pills. He said the pills were not "scattered around," as had been reported.

No note was found, and there was no indication of foul play, Browne said.

The apartment did not belong to actress Mary-Kate Olsen, as initially reported by The New York Times' Web site and, citing police. Olsen's publicist told CNN the place is "not her apartment, was never her apartment."

In light of Ledger's death, President Bush on Wednesday postponed an event surrounding the launch of a public-service ad campaign warning against the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

"We thought it would be better to postpone the event rather than run the risk of anyone thinking that we were being opportunistic in highlighting the issue," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Ledger's family on Wednesday called his death "very tragic, untimely and accidental."  Watch family and other Australians mourn actor »

"Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life, but few had the pleasure of truly knowing him," Ledger's father, Kim Ledger, told reporters while standing with the actor's mother and sister in Perth, Australia.

"He was a down-to-earth, generous, kindhearted, life-loving, unselfish individual extremely inspirational to many."

Hollywood reacts

Condolences began pouring in from Ledger's friends and co-stars.  Watch the reaction at the Sundance Film Festival »

"I had such great hope for him," said Mel Gibson, who played Ledger's father in "The Patriot," in a statement.

"He was just taking off, and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

At the time of his death, Ledger had just finished playing the villain The Joker in "The Dark Knight," the latest installment in the Batman series. The film is to open in July.

The role disturbed him, according to The Associated Press. He called The Joker a "psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy."  Watch Ledger discuss taking on challenging roles »

"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 prescription sleeping pills didn't help, according to AP.

Ledger was born in Perth and named Heathcliff Andrew after the main characters of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights." He began acting at a local theater as a child.  Find out more about the actor »

Ledger's first American film was the teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You" in 1999, and he immediately attracted attention from Hollywood. He passed up several scripts before taking a role in the Revolutionary War drama "The Patriot" in 2000 and "A Knight's Tale" in 2001. He also played a supporting role in "Monster's Ball," among other films.  See a photo gallery of Ledger's life and career »

"In a way, I was spoon-fed a career," he said in a 2005 interview with Time magazine. "It was fully manufactured by a studio that believed it could put me on their posters and turn me into a product. ... I hadn't figured out properly how to act, and all of a sudden I was being thrown into these lead roles."

Controversial role

But Ledger was perhaps best known for his 2005 portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain," about two cowboys who had a secret romantic relationship. The role earned him an Oscar nomination.

"I felt that choices were being made for me, so I feel this has been my time now to find the good stories and test myself," Ledger told the Glasgow Herald in the 2005 interview. "It has been an interesting year, where I finally have a sense of accomplishment."

"Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life," Ang Lee, who directed "Brokeback Mountain," told AP.

"He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined -- a thirst for life, for love and for truth, and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him. His death is heartbreaking."

Asked how he felt about filming love scenes with another man, Ledger said he and his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal simply focused on their roles.

"We can't say that we weren't nervous about it," Ledger told Oprah Winfrey in 2006. "But once the first take was over, it's like, 'OK. So what? It's kissing another human being. How are we going to finish this scene? Let's get on with it and let's get out of here.' "

In a written statement, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it mourns Ledger's death, adding that his portrayal of Del Mar "changed hearts and minds in immeasurable ways."
« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 07:12:10 pm by MaineWriter »
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Offline BennyBoy

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Tributes and memories
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2008, 06:59:34 pm »
Tons more people have come out and expressed their sadness including Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and the Prime Minister of Australia.

SYDNEY, Australia - Michelle Williams is "devastated" by the death of former fiance Heath Ledger and said that "words cannot describe" the pain of losing the father of her child, according to

MTV News reported Williams was flying with their daughter Matilda to New York from Sweden, where she was filming, after learning about Ledger's death.

Meanwhile, Ledger's family rejected any suggestion Wednesday that the actor killed himself and joined fellow Australians in mourning one of their rising stars after he was found dead in a New York apartment.

The Australian-born actor was found face-down and naked at the foot of a bed in a Manhattan apartment Tuesday. Police said there were prescription sleeping pills near Ledger's body.

Ledger's family members faced a throng of journalists in the actor's hometown of Perth in western Australia and read a statement saying his death was purely accidental, though they did not say whether he died of an overdose.

"We, Heath's family, can confirm the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda," Ledger's father Kim told reporters. "He was found peacefully asleep in his New York apartment by his housekeeper at 3:30 p.m. U.S. time."

Kim Ledger remembered his 28-year-old son as a "down to earth, generous, kindhearted, life-loving, unselfish individual" who was "extremely inspirational" to those who knew him.

"Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life but few had the pleasure of truly knowing him," Kim Ledger said. "Please now respect our family's need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately."

Meanwhile, tributes from fellow Australians flooded in Wednesday, with Nicole Kidman calling Ledger's death a "terrible tragedy."

Cate Blanchett, who starred with Ledger in the Bob Dylan bio-flick, "I'm Not There," a role that earned her an Oscar nomination Tuesday for best supporting actress, said she was "shocked and saddened" at the news.

"I deeply respect Heath's work and always admired his continuing development as an artist," Blanchett said in a statement published by News Ltd. newspapers online. "My thoughts are with his family and close friends."

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expressed shock over losing "one of our nation's finest actors in the prime of his life."

Arts and Environment Minister Peter Garrett, former lead singer of the rock band Midnight Oil, called it "a terribly sad day" for Australia.

"This bloke was a great actor, a young talent and he had so much more to give," Garrett told reporters in Canberra. "So it's a shock that he's gone and a moment of sadness, I think, which will last for us in Australia and also for the film community as well."

Ledger received an Oscar nomination for his role as a troubled gay cowboy in the 2006 film "Brokeback Mountain," where he met Williams, who played his wife in the movie. The couple had a daughter, now 2-year-old Matilda, and lived together in New York until they split up last year.

Williams' father, Larry, a prominent stock trader fighting extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges, remembered Ledger as "a great talent."

"My heart goes out to everyone in his family and my family," Williams told Sydney's The Daily Telegraph.

Neil Armfield, who directed Ledger in his last Australian film, "Candy," 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 started working with the most interesting directors. He was so successful at breaking out of the teen idol image."

« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 07:11:51 pm by MaineWriter »
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Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2008, 07:30:34 pm »
I Cried For You (3:39)
Today's tribute video from the wonderful Cliffy4479

This video is loaded with Heathen treasure, and a lovely sad song.,1179.msg321995.html#msg321995

Offline Lumière

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2008, 07:36:52 pm »

At the sudden news of Heath Ledger’s death, celebrities are mourning the loss of a great Hollywood actor. Among them is John Travolta, who spoke to OK! only minutes after hearing the horrible news.

"He was not only one of the greatest actors but also my favorite actor," John told OK! at the opening night ceremonies of G'Day USA: Australia Week 2008. "I am devastated." Through tears, the Hairspray star confessed, "I would give back all my awards and nominations just to have him back... I and other actors need other actors to be inspired by. [Heath] was my actor."

John also retold the story of how he first met the young actor. "I'd wanted to meet him and I was very impressed with him from the beginning," he recalled. "His agent actually introduced me to him at a party... He was almost bashful about accepting compliments and he did not want to make a big deal out of it and he was a big deal.

"He was on top of the world and had everything going for him," John continued. "He was serious about his craft and looking forward to his work. I knew recently about the separation [from girlfriend Michelle Williams] but when you have the depth of character of feeling. It's a double-edged are also feeling those things in life; your sensitivities, your perceptions are almost an assault on you. So the beautiful thing that you get to use in your craft is the same thing that makes life harsher for you."

Also visibly upset at the G'Day USA event was Australian musician Kayven Temperley of the band Eskimo Joe, who grew up near Heath in Perth. "He used to live down the street from me," Kayven told OK!. "My girlfriend was his schoolmate. It's just so sad; he could have had so much more with his life."

Meanwhile, Heath's fellow Aussie, and dear friend of Heath’s ex Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman is shocked by the news. “What a tragedy,” the Oscar winner tells Extra. “My heart goes out to his family.”

As for musician Gavin DeGraw, he is not only sending his deepest regards to Heath’s family through a bulletin on Myspace, but also admired Heath. “I have truly enjoyed the talent that Heath has brought to the world,” he says. “Many times I have turned on the TV and seen him and thought, ‘I think I'd like to be that guy. He seems pretty cool... gets to make movies and has a good demeanor about him and such. That would be pretty all right for a day or two I think.’"

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2008, 08:17:43 pm »
Anything from Jake?

Or Naomi Watts?

Offline Eire1978

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2008, 08:23:03 pm »
R.I.P Heath Ledger:


Offline opinionista

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2008, 08:24:08 pm »
I guess both Jake and Naomi Watts are devastated by what happened, and in no mood to talk to the press. Maggie Gyllenhaal hasn't come forward either. If I were in their shoes, I wouldn't be in the mood either. They lost a friend, they deserve to grieve in private.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. -Mark Twain.

Offline opinionista

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2008, 08:34:36 pm »
TMZ posted this about Jake. I'm not sure how accurate is it, but here it goes. Sorry if this is already posted here at BM.

Where is Jake Gyllenhaal?

Jake Gyllenhaal has yet to be seen or heard from since the death of his close friend, Heath Ledger -- and people on the set of his new film are working hard to keep it that way.

Gyllenhaal is in New Mexico, currently filming his new movie, "Brothers." We're told there are no plans to shut down production, but Jake is very upset and doesn't want to talk to the media -- so the set has been closed to non-crew members and extra security has been hired.

Jake is the godfather to Heath's daughter, Matilda Rose.

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. -Mark Twain.