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Actor Heath Ledger Found Dead in Manhattan Apartment


Actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a Soho Manhattan apartment this afternoon by his housekeeper.

BroomeThe NY Times reports: "At 3:31 p.m., according to the police, a masseuse arrived at the fourth-floor apartment of the building, at 421 Broome Street, between Crosby and Lafayette Streets in SoHo, for an appointment with Mr. Ledger. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of the bedroom Mr. Ledger was in. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger naked and unconscious on a bed, with sleeping pills — both prescription medication and nonprescription — on a night table. They attempted to revive him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. As the news reports spread quickly, throngs of people gathered in the neighborhood."

TMZ clears up the initial report that Ledger had been found in the apartment of Mary-Kate Olsen: "A cleaning lady for Heath arrived at the apartment first, followed soon thereafter by a masseuse. They both entered the room at around the same time and discovered Heath's lifeless body. The cleaning lady called police. The masseuse, we're told, called the bodyguard for the Olsens. She called him because they're friends and he's an EMT. The bodyguard was around the block at Ashley's and he immediately went over. By the time he arrived, the cops were already there. We're also told it appeared Heath 'had been dead for a while' and there were no visible signs of trauma. There was a pill bottle on the nightstand."

UPDATE - Ledger had pneumonia? TMZ is saying they were contacted by a rep from Heath's family with this information: The cops told the family Heath's death was accidental and there is no evidence to support the buzz that he may have committed suicide. They are particularly distraught over media reports that he may have taken his own life. The family says he was not that kind of person. As we just reported, Heath was ill with pneumonia when he died."

Michelle Williams "devastated"...

ParnassusThis is the last known photograph of Ledger while he was alive, taken on Saturday night on the London set of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Ledger will be remembered for his sensitive, Oscar-nominated work as Ennis del Mar in the groundbreaking film Brokeback Mountain. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Brokeback and won Best Actor awards from the New York and San Francisco Critics Circle.

Focus Features, producers of Brokeback, released the following statement: "Heath Ledger was a courageous actor, and a great soul. He gave us the gift of sharing his fearless and beautiful love —€“ of his craft, and of all who worked with him —€“ for which all of us will be eternally grateful."

Ledger most recently appeared as one version of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes experimental biopic I'm Not There (pictured). He had completed work on the next Batman film as The Joker opposite Christian Bale.

I'm Not There's director Todd Haynes issued a statement as well: "This is an unimaginable tragedy. Heath was a true artist, a deeply sensitive man, an explorer, gifted and wise beyond his years. There is no finer person on this earth."

Ledger was just 28 years old.

More on this tragic story as it develops...


A November 2007 NYT profile: "He is here in London filming the latest episode of the 'Batman' franchise,'The Dark Knight.' (Mr. Bale, as it happens, plays Batman; Mr. Ledger plays the Joker.) It is a physically and mentally draining role — his Joker is a 'psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy' he said cheerfully — and, as often happens when he throws himself into a part, he is not sleeping much. 'Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.' One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing."

HlvanityfairAnd here's a 2000 cover story Vanity Fair has just posted to their site, by our own Kevin Sessums, published just as Ledger's career was hitting its stride: "'When I act, I look at it as if I’m a mixing board in a sound studio. The pattern on the board is me. When I play a character, I go, 'I’ll turn these knobs down and these ones up.' But in order to do that I have to know myself. I have to know myself like an instrument. I’m just a saxophone,” he says, shrugging. 'I’ve always been very big on self-exploration and answering my own questions. For so many, it’s hell growing up. But I guess I’m blessed. I’ve really enjoyed it. I don’t let a lot get to me. I really don’t. As I keep saying, I break everything down. Everything. I look up at those stars,' he says, pointing at the sky above the Vltava River, 'and go, 'There’s no explanation for us to be here.' When anything is blocking my head or there’s worry in my life, I just—whoosh—go sit on Mars or something and look back here at Earth. All you can see is this tiny speck. You don’t see the fear. You don’t see the pain. You don’t see the movie industry. You don’t see this interview. You don’t see thought. It’s just one solid speck. Then nothing really matters. It just doesn’t.'"

Heath Ledger, Actor, Is Found Dead at 28 [nyt]

The Towleroad Guide to Brokeback Mountain [tr]

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  1. Not an idol worshiper here. Thought he was a good actor, especially in "Monster's Ball". Actually thought BBM was somewhat over-rated; not much "there" there with either the book or movie, for my taste anyway, and that's just my opinion. But I was sad to hear the news, because I'm always sad when lives are cut short, whatever the reason, whether it's accidental or intentional or just life biting someone's balls off and saying, "Fuck you."

    It's not about reason, RP. It's about what gets triggered, and how one feels. Might some responses be out of proportion, given the "real" impact any celebrity has on our lives? Possibly. But what's it to you?

    Posted by: JT | Jan 23, 2008 12:53:02 AM

  2. Well I wouldn't job to conclusions yet people...theres gonna be alot more to this story in the next couple of days. I live at 419 Broome and needless to say that I could have smelled something like this coming. And when I say "smelled" it wasn't an accuracy the NY Post printed a few days ago when Heath Ledger was spotted on in the subway station with his daughter, balling, and smelling of rot and filth. His PR people Buxbaum media really did a good job keeping this one quiet, but needless to say, those of us who would see him stumbling around SoHo(and vomiting on my front stoop at 6am)will won't be surprised when the autopsy reports come in.

    Posted by: The Truth Hurts | Jan 23, 2008 1:04:42 AM

  3. Will watch 'BBM' and '10 Things I Hate About You' again. RIP.

    Posted by: Gilli | Jan 23, 2008 2:00:52 AM

  4. First of all, my co-worker told me this this afternoon. I nearly shit myself. What a bomb to drop on me!

    R.I.P. Heath.

    But may I add that Larry King is an IDIOT?

    You would think he could TRY doing a little research before he asked such dumb questions. e.g. "are his parents still alive"? (Heath's father gave a statement which was brodcast on CNN before his show, with Heath's mother standing next to him). Oh, and he had to emphasize that Heath was NOT gay...(groan)

    Posted by: Lady Heather | Jan 23, 2008 2:04:16 AM

  5. Just too sad to comprehend. What a terrible loss.

    Posted by: John | Jan 23, 2008 3:24:47 AM

  6. RP,

    spoken like a true, log-cabin repug. YOUR god may love you, but MINE doesn't.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 4:21:22 AM

  7. Nic,


    I am very much a liberal.

    In fact, my partner of almost 8 years is currently working on a Democrats campaign for governor here in VA.

    Go read a book instead of crying your eyes out over someone you don't even know. Fool.

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 4:38:29 AM


    Posted by: ROBERT M. | Jan 23, 2008 4:40:02 AM

  9. RP,

    worrying about the economy and lamenting the untimely death of an influential actor are not mutually exclusive. i have a degree in english literature, so i dare say i read more books than you. moreover, there is no evidence that the actor committed suicide. FOOL!

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 5:04:19 AM

  10. Nic,

    I don't know why you are so angry. I saw that you tried to pick fights in the other threads as well.

    I'm not going to fight you though, so you have fun with that.


    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 5:08:06 AM

  11. RP,

    You said: "Isn't what happened with the US economy today slightly more important than some tool offing himself?"

    That sentence reveals that you believe money is more important than the life of someone who may have been suffering from depression. In light of the fact that you come from such a mindset, I suggest your spare time would be better spent looking for your missing heart as opposed to posting hateful tripe on the internet about a dead man who happened to be a friend to the GLBT community.


    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 23, 2008 5:31:21 AM

  12. RB,

    to paraphrase Mies van der Rohe, less is in ALL WAYS more. who picked a fight here?

    to quote you:


    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 5:33:51 AM

  13. Peter,

    OMG! That is f'n' hilarious!

    Get off the cross. We need the wood for fire.

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 5:37:07 AM

  14. PP,


    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 5:38:11 AM

  15. Nic,

    What are you even talking about?

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 5:39:49 AM

  16. RP,

    "Get off the cross. We need the wood for fire."

    could you be anymore trite?

    you've worked yourself into a lather. thankfully, i've decided to not pet the sweaty stuff.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 5:48:04 AM

  17. Peter,

    I believe that the economy possibly going into a major recession is more important from a news stand point than the death of a single actor (no matter how tragic you percieve it to be), and therefore more deserving of our time and discussion. The economy far more impacts the lives of people all over the world than one actor.

    I also think that the amount of distraught displayed by some of the people posting here is a little over the top. Lash out at me all you want, but I stand by my opinion.


    I never addressed you until you called me a "log-cabin repug" and wrote "[YOUR] god doesn't love me." Then when I told you am most certainly a liberal, you lashed out at me again. Next I told you I wasn't going to fight with you. You then tried to make fun of me.

    Obviously you have some pent up anger (you lashed out at someone in almost every thread tonight). You told two people tonight to "Shut the fuck up."

    Maybe you should go write some more of the AWESOME poetry and release some of that hostility.

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 5:53:25 AM

  18. "could you be anymore trite?"

    Like quoting a furniture designer?

    My god, you are amusing.

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 5:56:49 AM

  19. RP,

    you have cut me to the quick. i surrender. you are a better man than i. what's more, you have bored into my psyche and found me wanting. "oh, rose thou art sick..." you say to me. alas, woe is me; what can i do? you win. yoouuuu winnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. cough, gasp, cough....

    And, scene!!!!

    how do you like them AWESOME apples?

    you are no longer worth responding to.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 6:22:08 AM

  20. I'm allergic to apples actually. :p

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 6:24:37 AM

  21. Such lack of class and sensitivity you have shown thus far Sir. Everything has its place, and you are most definitely not whom to tell others what to do with their time. Please try to reflect within your capacity. Now let us continue to pay our respects to an Actor who was courageous enough to portrait us in a such a formidable way.

    Posted by: Rafael | Jan 23, 2008 6:31:01 AM

  22. "portray us" - sorry it is 6:44am here and I just got in from a long jog!

    Posted by: Rafael | Jan 23, 2008 6:46:25 AM

  23. i could't resist:

    a "furniture designer?" you are, indeed, profoundly ignorant. perhaps YOU should read a book, now and again.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2008 6:48:38 AM

  24. Rafael,

    With all due respect (I assume you are addressing me), this is a public forum. I am free to express my opinion here. If you do not like what I have to say, you can simply scroll on past my comments. I'm not trying to offend you here, but I simply don't see the logic behind the fanatical idol worship. People saying they have been crying off and on all day is just plain silly. I'm sorry, but I don't feel that a celebrity's life is more important than anyone else's life. I, again, stand by my previous remarks that there are more important issues. I'm appalled that in society today Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears get far greater discussion and coverage than say Darfur. For instance, a few major things happened in the economy yesterday (Bank of America reported a 98% loss, the Feds cut interest rates ¾ of a point, et cetera), but after the news of Ledger's death they were pushed out of the public consciousness.

    Yes. I understand fully that there is a time and a place; however, this forum is a blog. It is not the wake, and we're not discussing the death of Nobel Prize winner or a world leader. We're talking about a guy who happened to play gay in a movie. Somehow that makes him more important to a lot of gay people. I think it's an unsettling trend.

    Attack me for that all you want. I can take the punches.

    Futhermore, I never told anyone what to do with their time. In fact, you are telling me what to do with mine.

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 6:56:13 AM

  25. Van Der Rohe is an architect, but he is more famous for his furniture designs (id est the barcelona chair). In fact, along with Arne Jacobsen he is one of my favorite furniture designers.

    I even have books on him come to think of it.

    Posted by: RP | Jan 23, 2008 6:59:28 AM

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