Heath Ledger Found Dead at 28

22 Jan

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By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan residence, and police said drugs may have been a factor. He was 28.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Ledger had an appointment for a massage at the Manhattan apartment believed to be his home. The housekeeper who went to let him know the masseuse had arrived found him dead at 3:26 p.m.

A large crowd of paparazzi and gawkers began gathering Tuesday evening outside the building on an upscale block in SoHo, where several police officers guarded the door.

The Australian-born actor was nominated for an Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain,” where he met Michelle Williams in 2005. The two had lived in Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, until they split up last year.

He most recently appeared in “I’m Not There,” in which he played one of the many incarnations of Bob Dylan — as did Cate Blanchett, whose performance in that film earned an Oscar nomination Tuesday for best supporting actress.

Ledger was to appear as the Joker this year in “The Dark Night,” a sequel to 2005’s “Batman Begins.” He’s had starring roles in “A Knight’s Tale” and “The Patriot,” and played the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in “Monster’s Ball.”

Ledger grew up in Perth, and began doing amateur theater at age 10. At 16, he moved to Sydney to pursue an acting career, quickly landing TV movie roles and guest spots on Australian television.

After several independent films and a starring role in the short-lived Fox TV series “Roar,” Ledger moved to Los Angeles and costarred in “10 Things I Hate About You,” a teen comedy reworking of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Offers for other teen flicks came his way, but Ledger turned them down, preferring to remain idle than sign on for projects he didn’t like.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for me,” Ledger told the Associated Press in 2001. “It was hard for everyone else around me to understand. Agents were like, ‘You’re crazy,’ my parents were like, ‘Come on, you have to eat.”’

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Here’s a photo of Heath Ledger as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Photo courtesy AP.

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Hey Scene Now readers:

Sheena here. I’ve got to be away from the computer for the night, as I have a couple of errands to run and “American Idol” to watch (which seems so completely silly and stupid now, doesn’t it?).
Anyway, this USA Today story on Ledger’s death will be updated as more details become available.
I’ll post an “American Idol” blog tonight after the show and if there are any more significant updates on Ledger, I’ll post them.

11 Responses to “Heath Ledger Found Dead at 28”

  1. farley662 January 22, 2008 at 4:08 pm #

    Not cool! He is The Joker. I’m officially bummed out!

  2. tupelobizbuzz January 22, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Woah. TMZ is reporting he was found in an apartment owned by Mary-Kate Olsen. The plot thickens.

  3. sheenabarnett January 22, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    Now they’re saying it’s not Mary-Kate’s, but that his death was accidental.

  4. tupelobizbuzz January 22, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    Like, accidently took too many drugs?

  5. sheenabarnett January 22, 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    I don’t know. It’s way too early to say anything like that, which is why TMZ probably shouldn’t be posting things that aren’t 100 percent confirmed.

    None of that matters anyway – what matter is that everyone’s good thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  6. poprockcandy January 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    This is a week to the date that Brad Renfro died. Hollywood has got to address its drug problem. They do it to professional athletes and hourly workers. Why should Hollywood and the music biz operate differently?

  7. tupelobizbuzz January 22, 2008 at 5:19 pm #

    He’ll always hold a special place in my heart for “10 Things I Hate About You.” I love that movie.

    And what exactly could Hollywood do to curb the drug problem? Regular drug tests? I just don’t see that happening.

  8. poprockcandy January 22, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    Why not see that happening? Why do we hold celebrities to a higher, yet morally lower standard than the rest of the nation’s workforce?

  9. farley662 January 22, 2008 at 7:26 pm #

    They are trying to crucify baseball players for steroids, which are not that big of a deal compared to the drugs in Hollywood. They are allowed to preach their beliefs and try to act all high and mighty, why not hold them to the same moral responsibilities everyone else is expected to live by?

  10. poprockcandy January 22, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    Exactly. Entertainment is just disposable art made by human beings.

  11. Ginny January 23, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    I agree with tupelobizbuzz about “10 Things I Hate About You.” What a fun movie. I’m not necessarily a Heath Ledger fan, but he was much too young. How sad for his daughter.

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