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Heath Ledger's Last Portrait


On his last visit to Perth in December, Heath Ledger sat for artist Vincent Fantauzzo. Fantauzzo had planned to submit his portrait for the Archibald Prize this year, but released the image early with the approval of LEdger's family.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports: "The painting depicts the notoriously private actor as three separate images. The central, and largest, image is of Ledger, bare-chested, looking straight ahead, appearing pained and exhausted. The two background images are of Ledger wearing humorous expressions, whispering into the ears of his foreground image. Fantauzzo said he felt privileged to have worked with Ledger. 'Heath was a very private person, which is one of the reasons I was so honoured that he allowed me to paint him,' Fantauzzo told reporters. 'He was so easy and professional to work with. He didn't need any direction, (he was) absolutely focused. Once done, he was back to his usual charismatic self.' Ledger's childhood friend, hip hop artist N'fa, told Channel Ten News the actor couldn't wait to see the finished work. 'He was very excited about it. He was very excited to see the finished product,' N'fa said. N'fa said the picture had captured Ledger perfectly. 'This is the way he always was. He was always a thought ahead.'"

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  1. very intriguing...alot of thoughts come to mind after just one viewing...its like he's being given advice from and angel and a devil, and he's exausted making a decision.

    Posted by: cliff | Jan 28, 2008 12:16:10 PM

  2. haunting, whimsical and amusing... but i prefer to remember heath as ennis del mar in brokeback mountain, he is legend...

    Posted by: the queen | Jan 28, 2008 12:28:54 PM

  3. Daniel Day Lewis dedicating his SAG Award to Heath Ledge last night was very touching. What he said about Heath's performance in Brokeback Mountain was moving.

    But Javier Bardem said when accepting his award that his grandparents were actors in a time when actors were all thought of as homosexuals and prostitutes.

    Sounds pretty damn homophobic to compare being gay to being a whore!

    Posted by: he said what? | Jan 28, 2008 12:46:06 PM

  4. In the image in the middle, he looks latin. In the image on the right, he looks like an aborigine. In the image on the left he looks Native American. But he doesn't look like Heath Ledger in any of those images.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 28, 2008 1:21:41 PM

  5. scary, Heath looks much older than 28 in these photos, I think the pressure really aged him

    Posted by: James Fronds | Jan 28, 2008 1:52:49 PM

  6. I agree with Peter Parker. I never would have guessed that was Heath Ledger. Moreover, I never would have thought those were three images of the same person.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 28, 2008 2:17:47 PM

  7. I think it looks more like Joseph Gordon-Leavitt than Heath.

    Posted by: TEGAN3 | Jan 28, 2008 2:58:23 PM

  8. It's beautiful. I knew him at once, and it captures his essence.

    Posted by: milocat | Jan 28, 2008 3:22:00 PM

  9. Uh, is it me, or does that picture not look anything like him?!?!?!??!?!

    Posted by: GeeMoney | Jan 28, 2008 3:58:21 PM

  10. Man he has that Jim Morrison look. I find it amazing that his family could look at him (knowing that he is only 28) and not understand that he is whacked out and forceably take him to rehab. Shame on them. RIP dude.

    Posted by: Fred Flintstone | Jan 28, 2008 4:24:01 PM

  11. "Tired" is not "whacked out". Why do people always assume the worst? I had an employer who used to think my early-morning "hayfever head" was a hangover.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 28, 2008 4:53:07 PM

  12. Wow, that is a really haunting protrait!! While it is disturbing, I honestly also find it quite beautiful....the work of a very talented artist.

    I obviously have no way of knowing but it seems to reflect his recent state of mind quite well.

    Posted by: Scott | Jan 28, 2008 5:25:57 PM

  13. He really does look horrible in a Jim Morrison kind of way (FF beat me to that). You can tell something is going horribly wrong.

    Posted by: anon ( | Jan 28, 2008 6:40:11 PM

  14. I think it is a wonderful picture and that it captures what the person and artist were feeling at the time it was painted. I will greatly miss not seeing Heath in movies and feel a very great loss as will all. The one I feel the most for is his daughter who will never now how great a man he was and could have been.

    Posted by: ANGEL | Jan 28, 2008 6:50:54 PM

  15. You obviously don't know what a person looks like when they're exhausted being in this state can make on look like they're "high' strungout or wahtevver some are thinking ,let the man rest in peace and his family pray for them in this time of mourning .

    Posted by: kat14 | Jan 28, 2008 7:30:14 PM

  16. Thanks for posting this Andy, I still feel so sad that he's gone and could not watch my copy of BBM this weekend. The painting is lovely but it is somewhat disturbing, pointing him as a 'voice-hearer' (there is such a term). through media comments this week, I came to learn how alienated he seemed to be and so I do feel the painting seems to capture that. Perhaps in due course his family might say something more about how they interpret the portrait.

    Posted by: Sean R | Jan 28, 2008 8:15:25 PM

  17. The portrait is huge, look at the Aussie newspaper link. He looks properly exhausted: the painting seems to have predicted his tragic downfall, not unlike the way "Bully" predicted Brad Renfro's. Heath will always be Ennis Del Mar in my mind, the first macho gay man in a mainstream American movie. I suppose it's appropriate that Daniel Day-Lewis honored him, as he was one of the first macho gay men in British film via "My Beautiful Launderette". there's a nice tribute to him by fellow-Ausstalian Cate Blanchett here:,22049,23120116-5015791,00.html

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 29, 2008 1:21:38 AM

  18. Heath looks like Cheech or Chong... I'm not sure which is which.

    Posted by: Stenar | Jan 29, 2008 1:21:44 AM

  19. It's absolutely beautiful.

    Posted by: EM | Jan 29, 2008 2:45:31 AM

  20. Btw, the people saying the image looks "nothing like Heath" clearly did not see his final photos. He was aged-looking, had long, dark brown wild hair and a wistful expression. This is exactly Heath in his final days. You people are still envisaging him in a suit with cut hair -pictures from ceremonies that you see in magazines. That was not the reality of his final days.

    Posted by: EM | Jan 29, 2008 2:51:39 AM

  21. Fascinating. I think the painting captures the complexity of Heath Ledger's psyche. Absolutley fantastic IMO.

    Posted by: Island Girly | Jan 29, 2008 7:31:30 AM

  22. It's not going to look exactly like him because it's a paintng. It's not just some photo shopped pictures.

    Posted by: heathert | Feb 1, 2008 5:28:42 AM

  23. no matter what bad things people may say about Heath wont make any diference to billions and billions of fans out there and i know that he will always remain in my heart and forever in my soul.very sad picture in many you

    Posted by: Tammylee | Feb 1, 2008 6:46:26 AM

  24. I think the portrait has captured the mind of Heath and that was that he never stopped with his thoughts. I know people like this and it can be very exhausting for them mentally. I know for sure he was loved on screen and off and will be missed by many. Heath has definitly earned his angel wings.God Bless him and his Family my prayers are with you all. Rachael

    Posted by: Rachael | Feb 2, 2008 11:17:10 AM

  25. beautifully done very jesus looking I love it

    Posted by: Kathy | Feb 4, 2008 1:40:59 AM

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