Author Topic: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger  (Read 9378 times)

Offline chowhound

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A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« on: February 10, 2009, 11:58:15 pm »
I thought that perhaps some might like to know something about the most recent biograpy of Heath Ledger - Janet Fife Yeoman's "Heath:A Family's Tale" - so I put together this brief commentary after finishing it the other day:

The most recent biography of Heath Ledger by Janet Fife-Yeomans is essentially another of those cut-and-paste accounts of Heath's life and early death. In other words, the bulk of the book
consists of quotes from various sources which are strung together in a chronological sequence to tell the story of Heath's life but with very little analysis or discussion of them to provide
the book with more substance. As often in tabloid journalism, a single sentence can form a paragraph and Fife-Yeoman's vocabulary can either be cliched - "ye olde movies featuring modern music"
is her description of A Knight's Tale - or rather vulgar "didn't give a toss", 'bullshitting" etc. I think a number of readers will grit their teeth when she reveals how "Heath was perved at by
an elderly gay man"; all she is alluding to is a fan who was gazing adoringly at Heath as he crossed a hotel lobby in LA.

Her section on Brokeback Mountain, like the rest of the book, consists mainly of quotes from what Ang Lee, Heath, Jake and others said about the movie at one time or another. These are not
without their interest but they do not form any coherent pattern. Indeed, her account often wanders all over the place. For instance, at one moment Heath is picking up the gay cowboy, Adam
'Bushy' Sutton, at Calgary airport and at the next, he's in a cinema with Michelle, watching Brokeback for the first time.

Apart from one pathetic page, there are no photographs of Heath or anybody else, come to that. A biography of Heath without photographs? It's crazy.

She does, however, provide more of Heath's family background than other biographies have done.  The main item she investigates is the mishandling (?) by Heath's  father, Kim, of Heath's grandfather's will which split the family in two and which, by the look of it, continues to prove divisive. Apparently, Kim's brothers - Heath's uncles - were not invited to the funeral. At the very end of the book Fife-Yeoman's wonders whether Heath was a victim of bipolar disorder and she then goes on to claim that a number of Heath's other relatives have similarly been afflicted in the past., though this claim the family has apparently denied.

I suppose the kind of book I'm looking for is one which is more serious and substantial than cut-and paste- journalism. Even in a biography of Heath, I'd love to find a writer who took the
films - Brokeback especially - seriously and was prepared to discuss the art and craft, not only of Heath, but of filmmakers like Ang Lee and Terry Gilliam as well. There have been some good,
academic essays on aspects of Brokeback but, so far, I've not come across anything which inhabits the middle ground between the gossipy, tabloid world on the one hand and academia on the other.
I can only hope that somebody, somewhere, is planning such a book.

Offline southendmd

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Re: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 11:22:43 am »
Thanks, chowhound, for the review and the warning. 

I can only hope that somebody, somewhere, is planning such a book.

Me too.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 08:00:41 pm »
I got the book today, it looks pretty.  ;D
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline oilgun

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Re: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2009, 08:23:30 pm »
I bought that book but haven't been able to even start it.  I get depressed at the thought of it.  I have the other one as well, Hollywood's Dark Star.  Haven't been able to crack that one open either, save to look at the pics.

Now I see there is a DVD being released today.  Anyone know anything about it?  I haven't checked IMDb or anything yet...

Offline Lumière

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Re: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 08:00:08 pm »
I thought Janet Fife Yeoman's book looked interesting until I read this:

"The book contains gross inaccuracies, false allegations (against Kim Ledger) and many incorrect and unsubstantiated comments about Heath in his youth, provided by estranged family members and some people who had little to do with Heath's life," quoted the Ledger family, as saying in a statement.

"Further, Fife-Yeomans has no right to infer that we (as Heath's family) in any way authorised this book. We have never contributed to or authorised any publications about our son," they added.

However, Fife-Yeomans said: "I stick by everything that I wrote in the book, and I never said it was an authorised biography."

Offline bailey1205

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Re: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2009, 08:14:44 pm »
I don't think I want to read it.

It will only make me more sad.

Offline KristinDaBomb

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Re: A new biograhy of Heath Ledger
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009, 02:36:17 pm »
Same here Bailey, same here.