Tuesday, January 22, 2008

R.I.P. - Heath Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in his New York apartment. He was found by his housekeeper who was waking him for an appointment with a masseuse. He was declared dead at around 3:30 pm by emergency medical personnel. Pills of some nature were found near his body. It's not known yet what type they were, possibly sleeping pills. Heath has a daughter with fellow Brokeback Mountain actress Michelle Williams. The couple split in September of last year.

This is just really sad and unfortunate news. I've always liked Heath Ledger's performances in the movies I have seen him in. The first movie I saw him in was The Patriot. He was stellar and very memorable as Mel Gibson's son.

And, of course, this summer we will all see what will end up being his final performance on the big screen as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Critics and Bat-fans were skeptical of Heath as Christopher Nolan's Clown Prince of Crime and up until last month's premiere of the trailer for the movie, no one was quite sure if he could pull it off or out-do Jack Nicholson's legacy. Internet buzz after the trailer debuted was just incredibly positive. Heath just seems to disappear into character. I was able to see the first 5 minutes of the film with the IMAX presentation of I Am Legend. He owns those minutes.

I fully believe that Heath Ledger will own this summer with his performance as The Joker and it will stand as a testament, along with his other roles, to his amazing acting ability. He definitely had a lot more to offer the world, and whatever is declared the official cause of his death, he will be missed by the world as a whole, in Hollywood, and by those who knew him and were close to him, in particular, his 2 year old daughter, Matilda. My condolences and prayers go out to her and Heath's loved ones.

Here are some quotes from Heath and one of his last interviews:

[on playing The Joker in The Dark Knight] "The Joker, so far, is definitely the most fun I've had with any character. He's just out of control -- no empathy, he's a sociopath, a psychotic, mass-murdering clown. And, I'm just thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying it. It's just exceeded any expectations I had of what the experience would be like."

[On daughter Matilda and being a father] "Matilda is adorable, and beautifully observant and wise. Michelle and I love her so much. Becoming a father exceeds all my expectations. It's the most remarkable experience I've ever had - it's marvelous."

"I only do this because I'm having fun. The day I stop having fun, I'll just walk away. ..I don't want to do this for the rest of my life....I don't want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. There's so much I want to discover." - Vanity Fair (August 2000)

(This is for his part in the Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" and he also talks about The Joker. And, I think it's really funny how figgity he is. Biting the clothes pin and whatnot. Just click on the picture.)

Little known Heath Ledger trivia - he tried out for the role of Max Evans on the short-lived hit sci-fi show Roswell, but lost out to Jason Behr.

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