Heath Ledger dies
January 22, 2008 1:57 PM   Subscribe

 
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posted by Busithoth at 1:58 PM on January 22, 2008


Just heard the news. Very sad.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:59 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by mattbucher at 1:59 PM on January 22, 2008


was just about to post this...

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posted by lisawin at 2:00 PM on January 22, 2008


Authorities are on the lookout for a "large bat-like creature" which was seen leaving the area.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:00 PM on January 22, 2008 [14 favorites]


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posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:00 PM on January 22, 2008


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?
posted by infidelpants at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by infinitewindow at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2008


I was just posting this and got the double alert on preview. Jesus, that's awful. He was a fantastic actor and had a 2-year old daughter, and was just about to appear in easily the most popular movie of the year (and likely a sequel)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by farishta at 2:02 PM on January 22, 2008


He was a good actor -- certainly better than a man that good-looking needed to be. A shame.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:02 PM on January 22, 2008


This really breaks me up. He was a superb actor. Like Jonny Depp, he was an exceptionally good looking man who never settled on just being a pretty boy, but actually set out to craft complex, surprising performances. He was originally supposed to play the Matt Damon role in The Brother's Grimm, but lobbied for the role of the nervous, intellectual brother, and turned in a great performance there. I suspect his Joker will be a classic, and, had he not died, one of many.

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posted by Astro Zombie at 2:02 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


w
t
f
young actors? First Brad Renfro, now this? Renfro wasn't too much of a shock but ...
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:03 PM on January 22, 2008


Somewhere a Hollywood producer is very very mad that he doesn't get a sequel.
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posted by cavalier at 2:03 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by dismas at 2:04 PM on January 22, 2008


I really liked 10 Things I Hate About You. And A Knight's Tale wasn't bad either.
posted by smackfu at 2:04 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Holy crap.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:05 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by BridgetR at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2008


Decent actor. Young guy. Sad all around.

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posted by eyeballkid at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2008


... adding, I hate making it sound like his success is what should make us extra-sad for him or anything, but Jesus Christ, I expected to see him in classics for another 20 years. I've never heard a single thing about him that suggested a drug problem or anything like that... he was a fantastic actor who had nothing but success and was on the rise, not in decline. I don't follow "celebrity" deaths that often but all I want to know right now is what the fuck happened.

Fuck. Just fucking awful.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


What a shitty day.
posted by cazoo at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2008


Holy shit, this is terrible. Poor Matilda.

On another note, is this going to derail The Dark Knight? Although that is not nearly what's really important here...

EVERYONE IN HOLLYWOOD LAY OFF THE DRUGS FOR A WEEK PLEASE.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:08 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by tristeza at 2:08 PM on January 22, 2008


Man, Renfro was no surprise at all but this just sucks.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2008


Very sad.
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by sveskemus at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2008


The police said they did not suspect foul play. Officials said pills were found near the body.

Damn.

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posted by cashman at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by leo. at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2008


sad. just sad. fabulous talent.
posted by kimdog at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2008


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That sucks, he just seemed to be coming into the peak of his career. The clips that I've seen of him as The Joker look really cool, it's going to be sort of odd watching that movie now.

ooga_booga, you lose points for recycling your snark from MetaChat
posted by octothorpe at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


vale possum.
posted by taff at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2008


I'd like to propose an addition to the side, pb. An API that does a Google News Search every 5 minutes. If it detects more than 10 stories containing an identical name and the word "dies", that name is added to a 24-hour blacklist for posts.

Seriously ... we are in such a rush to be the first one to do a FPP about a celebrity post that the "death posts" are almost never, nowadays, any meaningful concatenation of links about the events of the actor's death, or any meaningful retrospect of their career.

"Carol Burnett dead at 84."
"."
"."
"."
"."
"Damn, she was a fine comedienne."
"."
"."
"."
"."
"Loved her and Harvey Korman."
"."
"."
"Eh, she sucked."
"."

And so on. Come on, we can do so much better. But everyone's always going to want to be the one to break the news — and that's why the suggestion of a technological block was only half meant in jest.
posted by WCityMike at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2008 [70 favorites]


Oh man. One of the few young big name actors that I had respect for.

Very upsetting.

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posted by item at 2:11 PM on January 22, 2008


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I'm growing ever more weary of self-prescribed ill-fate of these young actors and performers, the really good ones, the ones who actually create art with their lives and become something more than just a pretty face on a magazine. We've more celebrities than we need right now. What we don't have is actual, honest-to-God talent.

Admittedly, when first I watched Heath Ledger, I wasn't entirely impressed. The Patriot didn't do enough for me to get me out for his next venture, Four Feathers. Dismissed it outright. Dismissed him entirely. My loss, I suppose. Because a few years later, he does Brokeback Mountain. For those able to get past the junior high giggle fog, his performance was stunning. Of a quality we just don't see at all, not any more.

And he just finished work on The Dark Knight. That is ... man, I hope his work was wrapped, because everything I've seen is telling me that his take on the Joker is going to be more ferocious and profound than anyone should ever rightfully expect from a villainous clown in a "funny book movie."

Peace be with him, but most of all with his family. And here's hoping that one day his children come close to understanding why. Somehow.
posted by grabbingsand at 2:12 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


Dear god I hope it wasn't suicide, at least for his daughter's sake.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:12 PM on January 22, 2008


FYI, all Carol Burnett is still alive (at least according to my frantic Wikipedia search).

And this is very sad and a bit shocking.

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posted by coolhappysteve at 2:13 PM on January 22, 2008


On another note, is this going to derail The Dark Knight?

The movie's finished but there's no knowledge if he was supposed to be in the third one or not. I can't imagine WB is going to shelf the movie over this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2008


I can't believe how badly I feel like watching 10 Things I Hate About You right now. *swoon of sadness*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's weird now because before it was older actors dying and my mom saying things like, "I remember their first role." Then she'd tell me about some commercial or movie that this older actor appeared in.

Now it's people I've seen come up. Remember the television show Roar and how terrible it was? From there to Brokeback Mountain seemed a second.

I'm starting to feel old.
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2008


Wow, seriously shitty
posted by prostyle at 2:15 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by inconsequentialist at 2:15 PM on January 22, 2008


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?

My money's on J.D. Salinger, at least sometime this year.
posted by item at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2008


... sorry, I mean principal filming is finished. He might have been needed for ADR in post-production but I imagine they can work around that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2008


This is extremely sad. My thoughts go out to his family and especially his young daughter.
posted by whatideserve at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2008


sad sad sad...
posted by wowbobwow at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2008


That's just too stinking young to be dead.

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posted by konolia at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2008


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?

Sorry to be morbid, but I think her name rhymes with Lamey Line-souse.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


Shocking. Too young.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by MythMaker at 2:18 PM on January 22, 2008


TMZ has the last picture taken of him, on the set of Terry Gilliam's latest flick this past Saturday.
posted by Poolio at 2:19 PM on January 22, 2008


Oh noes! I've been found out! Actually, you may note that I have re-edited the snark. This is snark 2.0, ladies and gents.

Seriously, I thought it was some sort of Dark Knight publicity stunt. It's a real shame it's true - the guy had talent and he wasn't just another pretty face. That opinion's based mostly on his performance in Brokeback Mountain and I was looking forward to his Joker this summer. What really sucks is that he leaves a two year old daughter behind.

I still think they should check on Christain Bale's whereabouts, though
posted by ooga_booga at 2:20 PM on January 22, 2008


How sad. He was very good in Monster's Ball and his version of the Joker looks (looked?) promising.

Seconding the hope that it wasn't suicide: I've seen up close how suicide can just totally fuck up young survivors.
posted by aerotive at 2:20 PM on January 22, 2008


Sources tell CBS 2's Scott Weinberger the death may be drug-related and that there were pills scattered around the room.

Fucking hell. Why. Fucking why.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:20 PM on January 22, 2008


in an apartment in Manhattan owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen

I would not have predicted this when I woke up this morning.
posted by Adam_S at 2:21 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:21 PM on January 22, 2008


In the spirit of expanding on my "." as WCityMike suggested, we just watched Lords of Dogtown over the weekend and loved his off the wall take as Skip.
posted by BridgetR at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2008


Woah.
posted by chugg at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2008


Fucking hell. Basically, what grabbingsand and XQUZYPHYR said. He had such talent and after his performance in Brokeback was just beginning to get recognized as being more than a pretty young face. He could have gone on to give some more amazing performances.

I was one of the people who were really puzzled as to why he was cast as the Joker when it was first announced, but after reading some interviews and watching the trailers I'd become really optimistic and by all accounts so far it sounded like he had done a great job with the character.

I hope it wasn't suicide.
posted by kosher_jenny at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2008


This is terrible.

So sorry. Fucking hell.
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posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2008


"The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen..."

O_o
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 2:24 PM on January 22, 2008


I would not have predicted this when I woke up this morning.

It's all very random.

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posted by jerseygirl at 2:24 PM on January 22, 2008


Very sad. RIP
posted by parmanparman at 2:24 PM on January 22, 2008


"The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen..."

Let's not go crazy yet! Just because she owned it doesn't mean it's the apartmen she lives in.... she might not even know him. Do you personally know the person who owns the apartment you rent? I don't.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:25 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


A loud chorus of "WHAT??" just sounded simultaneously from all the offices on my floor. Calling it a shock is an understatement.
posted by katillathehun at 2:26 PM on January 22, 2008


I have a 17 year old daughter who is completely dissolved in tears, making plans with her bffs to go down to Broome Street with flowers. She said, "Is everyone an asshole? I thought he wasn't an asshole!" Breaks my heart for the young people. He gets eternal props for the lovely job he did in Brokeback Mountain.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:26 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


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Additionally,
Terry Gilliam's latest flick? Really?

The fates just never cut Gilliam a break.
posted by Weebot at 2:26 PM on January 22, 2008 [21 favorites]


Somehow his performance in I'm Not There is even more poignant.

Dammit.

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posted by pxe2000 at 2:26 PM on January 22, 2008


Dammit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:26 PM on January 22, 2008


It's echoing all over this cube farm...
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:27 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I doubt that this will derail the release of Dark Knight. If anything, it'll shoot it to the stars. The WB has just been handed the ultimate viral marketing campaign, and they didn't spend one red cent to get it started. Ledger mentioned in interviews how he isolated himself to prepare for the role and kept an in-character diary involving the Joker's psychotic rantings. Combine these tidbits of bizarre behavior with his sudden, unexpected, tragic death, and you've got a subject that'll keep people talking about the movie until well after it's completed a successful theater run.

In a world full of hacks, he was a talented and dedicated actor. I just hope that the ghoulish interest in the manner of his death doesn't overshadow his work.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:27 PM on January 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Looked like he was just beginning to get really interesting too... Damn. I haven't seen Brokeback, but can believe his performance would be good, and do want to see Dark Knight (despite having many issues with the last Batman).

Does look to be another Terry Gilliam project screwed. And while he's definitely too young every sign points to him not being entirely happy, or at least hard to make happy, and I know if I was in an Olsen's flat I'd consider ending it all! Not entirely facetious I fear.
posted by opsin at 2:28 PM on January 22, 2008


Headline News is reporting that pills were found near the body and the pills were over the counter sleeping medication.


developing.
posted by Stynxno at 2:28 PM on January 22, 2008


Huh. Hadn't really thought of him as someone I thought particularly highly of, but being reminded of his work in this thread really is kinda making me bummed. Oddly, Skip from Lords of Dogtown is probably my favorite, and I don't care what anyone says, Knight's Tale was awesome.

Damn, why do I always notice how much I like people too late?
posted by freebird at 2:29 PM on January 22, 2008


i know that these things get around quickly, but i have to say i'm a little bit dumbfounded that the news (complete with insinuations as to the cause of death) was on the front page of the Times only an hour and change after the body was found, though i guess i shouldn't be. it just seems... crass?
posted by wreckingball at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2008


I remember one evening 4-5 years ago when a friend I sometimes buy dope from called me up. "Get the fuck over here!" he whispered. "Right the fuck now!, you want to be here!" was all the clarification I got before he hung up.

A few minutes later I was down the street in his basement, looking at Heath Ledger and a few random australian dudes, sitting around passing a joint. For some reason, when Heath was looking for weed while filming Brokeback Mountain, my friend's name came up, and the rest is history.

I got to tell Heath how much I liked his work, but I couldn't really figure anything else to say, so we all just grinned and giggled at each other through the haze. He apparently liked my buddy's stuff, bought some for the road, and 20 minutes later he was gone.

2 years later, I was walking down the street at about 1:30 am on a Friday night. I saw a large gaggle of people walking towards me on the same street, and as I got closer, I could tell from the loud voices that they were a bunch of rowdy Aussies. Just as I was stepping of the sidewalk to let them pass me, I noticed the guy at the center of the group... Heath Ledger.

"Hey, Heath!" I called, and gave a little wave. He clearly didn't recognize me, but he called back "Hey, mate! Having a good night?" and the rest was lost in the raucous all his buddies were making.

He seemed to me to be great sort of guy who appreciated his friends and having a good time with them. He had no arrogance about him. I always kinda figured our paths would cross again, and I'm sad to know he left behind a bunch of people who'll miss him.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2008 [48 favorites]


What a complete drag, I really enjoyed his work. A Knight's Tale was one of those go-to films when my wife and I were bored. There was romance and dancing for one of us, and kick-ass guys on horses whacking each other with sticks. (I leave it to you to decide who enjoyed what...)

I was so excited when I found out he was going to be playing the Joker. There are few actors that I believed could pull it off in a way that I believed the same way that I believed Bale could be Batman. I was stunned when I found out that they cast someone so well suited.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
posted by quin at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2008


Wow. I just found out about this. Was not expecting it it all.

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posted by liquorice at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2008


Cynically, my second reaction (after sadness) was to think "how many days will this knock other stories out of the headlines?" There's some pretty major stuff going down right now in the world and I suspect that what we'll be seeing for the next week is all Heath, all the time.

Not to diminish the tragedy, but if Anna Nicole Smith warranted a week of national mourning, a celebrity with actual talent and charisma passing on so young should lead to at least of month of tribtue and investigation.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2008


This is a terrible way to remind me that I still need to watch Brokeback Mountain.

This is really awful news. I feel very badly for his daughter, who is probably too young to have really solid memories of him to look back on when she grows up. It's just absolutely tragic.

It's hard for me to believe that he was only 28 - he's done so much, and he was so talented, he certainly seemed a lot older to me.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:31 PM on January 22, 2008


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He was a Ledger in his own lifetime.
posted by WPW at 2:31 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


This Ledger is now closed.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:31 PM on January 22, 2008


I'm in shock. I can't even think right now.
posted by spec80 at 2:31 PM on January 22, 2008


Very sad, the guy was really starting to hit his stride. By all accounts his Joker in The Dark Knight is phenomenal.
posted by oh pollo! at 2:32 PM on January 22, 2008


Wow... my fiancee and I just watched 10 Things I Hate About You on the weekend. How sad... and untimely.

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posted by Effigy2000 at 2:32 PM on January 22, 2008


I know some people don't like the dead-threads, but I think it's more than just a place to post the ".". Sometimes you read these threads to see how the person was thought of. Or experiences involving that person's contribution to society, both good and bad.

But yeah, this is bad news.
posted by ninjew at 2:33 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by schustafa at 2:33 PM on January 22, 2008


What a shame.
posted by ColdChef at 2:34 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by tomble at 2:34 PM on January 22, 2008


His role in Brokeback was so great that it was obnoxious to see Gyllenhaal on screen with him. I've never seen a pair of actors featured prominently where one is so badly out-acted by the other. Ole Jake really hurt that movie.

Sad to see this.
posted by xmutex at 2:35 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by billypilgrim at 2:37 PM on January 22, 2008


So very sad and unexpected. And what a terrible way to be found. It almost seems fishy how perfectly lurid the whole thing is.

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posted by Mr Bunnsy at 2:38 PM on January 22, 2008


This is heartbreaking.
posted by teleskiving at 2:39 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by fredosan at 2:40 PM on January 22, 2008


"Sometimes you read these threads to see how the person was thought of..."

Totally, ninjew.

I have sons just leaving their hothead teen years (when you start daring to think they might be safe...).

And I thought A Knight's Tale was daftly clever and sexy..

While "Brokeback" was glorious.

This is really a rotten one...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:40 PM on January 22, 2008


Why did you quit us Ennis?
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:40 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awful.
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 2:41 PM on January 22, 2008


Am I the only person who's literally never heard of this guy?
posted by Jairus at 2:42 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by lizzicide at 2:42 PM on January 22, 2008


Am I the only person who's literally never heard of this guy?

There are probably a few billion others, but if you've watched American movies over the past five years or so, yeah, he's a pretty big name.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:43 PM on January 22, 2008


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?

A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that about three people die every second, worldwide.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:44 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by josher71 at 2:45 PM on January 22, 2008


This really shocked me today. The Dark Knight seemed poised to shoot his profile right into the stratosphere. Even so, he was an actor that liked to challenge himself. I'm sad for his daughter though.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:45 PM on January 22, 2008


I don't know who this guy is. Told a friend just now, and she was stunned. She named off some of his movies. I never saw them.

For me it was John Belushi. That ripped me up inside, cuz I was a big fan, and I learned that day that mourning is a selfish act. I wasn't sad for him. I was sad because I was never gonna see any new material from him. He was never gonna make me laugh in a new way. I went though what's now called the various Stages of Grief.

I'm rather jaded now. If this Ledger guy died doing something he loved, why should people lose sleep over it? He loved dope more than he loved fame. I'd suggest you not give him another exhalation of breath. But then again, I can't practice what I preach: I still miss Jake.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:46 PM on January 22, 2008


Poor guy. Christ.

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posted by rtha at 2:46 PM on January 22, 2008


There are probably a few billion others, but if you've watched American movies over the past five years or so, yeah, he's a pretty big name.

I just looked up his IMDB profile, and I haven't seen a single movie he's worked on. (I had planned to watch Brokeback Mountain, but never got around to it.)
posted by Jairus at 2:46 PM on January 22, 2008


This is terrible. I'm roughly the same age and it's really sad to see actors whose careers you've watched develop over the course of your own life lose their lives at such a young age.

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posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:47 PM on January 22, 2008


Jalrus, you're a smart guy with lots of serious interests, so I'll try to be respectful.

You don't have to post every thought you have, particularly when it's likely to bug people who are in the process of fondly remembering a dead person.

The answer to your hypothetical question is no, but being universally known isn't a requisite for being a cool, talented, worthwhile dude. I'd never heard of you before today, but if you'd died I'd have kept my mouth shut.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:47 PM on January 22, 2008 [41 favorites]


Is it too early to start speculating that perhaps he was killed in some crazy love triangle with Mary-Kate Olsen and the 'masseuse' who discovered his body?
posted by mullingitover at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2008


I just looked up his IMDB profile, and I haven't seen a single movie he's worked on.

Thanks for popping in to share that, jairus.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just hope we don't have to see too many photos of the Olsen sisters in willowy mourning clothes.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


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posted by brundlefly at 2:49 PM on January 22, 2008


He loved dope more than he loved fame.

One wonders who your source is, since there has been absolutely nothing released by the NYPD to suggest that this was the case. As mentioned upthread, some over-the-counter sleeping pills were found near his body. That's so far from being an established cause of death that the two couldn't see one another on a clear day, using telescopes.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:49 PM on January 22, 2008


If you look at the updated story, they're now saying it's an apartment "inhabited by" Olsen. This is a really, really weird story, and I hate to be That Guy, but the fact that he was found by his, um, in-call "masseuse" just makes it all that much more lurid and slightly suspect.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2008


He loved dope more than he loved fame.

[citation needed]
posted by turaho at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


Surely the phenomenon of celebrity is now so ubitquitous that we could expect to be immune from its sullen spell when tragedy blights the spotlighted incumbent? No! - not when a callow youth, whose very profession is to inculcate empathy in his audience, is suddenly clutched to pale Thanatos' side. And are we wrong to care so? Never! Let's not be ashamed of compassion, dear friends, wherever we find it - there's so little of it about in these dark and troublesome times.

Let's celebrate the wonderful times we had together with Heath - oh, he didn't know us, of course; but were we not there in the darkened theatre, and yet by his side, in his adventures, romances, and even times of riotous farce? My nostrils recall him as the scent of popcorn, my ears as the tocsins, songs and dialogue of dolby-sound. Cinema stretched him to immense proportions on the flattened screen, each part of his being was there magnified to gigantic dimensions. A movie star! The acme of fantasies! Those were his titles; the applause of millions was his stipend. His life was a celebration of dreams - THAT is how we should remember him. And for that bum-sex movie he did - that was good too.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2008 [17 favorites]


He loved dope more than he loved fame

So you have no idea who he is but you have already established a cause of death?

Good job there.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:51 PM on January 22, 2008


Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

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posted by flashboy at 2:51 PM on January 22, 2008


.

What's strange is just this odd sense of "Him? Now? Why?" I sort of get this sense of...cosmic poetry, if it had been someone else, someone who had already become an icon. Kurt Cobain? Sure. Anna Nicole Smith? Ok. "That's not...surprising," she said slowly.

But him? He had just barely gotten started making a name for himself. There wasn't enough about him that the whole world was buzzing, and there wasn't enough about him that the whole world dismissed.

He just got cut down *sst* just as his career was getting started.

(Also, why do I vaguely remember some rumor about him dating an Olsen twin? I can't for the life of me figure out where I would hear that, and I can't find any evidence that even happened.)
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 2:52 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


He was a friend of a friend, who says she is shocked. she also says he definitely "liked to party", but then again who of his age/status doesn't?
posted by cell divide at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2008


Shocking. Sad. Especially for (and because of) his young daughter.

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posted by supercres at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2008


Did he love dope more than he loved fame?

What a stupid question, but the answer from my personal, first-hand experience is yes. He didn't seem to give a damn about being famous, but he loved to smoke up.

I don't think he loved it more than being alive, however. He seemed rather fond of life.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by desuetude at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2008


You don't have to post every thought you have, particularly when it's likely to bug people who are in the process of fondly remembering a dead person.

I'm not trolling, I've just never seen so many people upset over someone I've never even peripherally observed, and it's pretty spooky. I was honestly curious if I'm the only person who's never heard of him, or if he had a weird kind of niche fame.

Anyway, I'll leave now.
posted by Jairus at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2008


If you look at the updated story, they're now saying it's an apartment "inhabited by" Olsen.

Which story? The Times' story isn't updated, and TMZ is reporting the apartment is in no way related to Olsen.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:54 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


gah.

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posted by wells at 2:55 PM on January 22, 2008


Anyway, I'll leave now.

Am I the only person who has never heard of this guy?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:55 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


I had completely forgotten that he was in Monster's Ball. I thought the movie was quite good, though a tad overpromoted, but his performance in it was subtle and just as good as Berry's or Thornton's.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:55 PM on January 22, 2008


Y'know, back in the 60s and 70s, so many young celebrities died tragically at the height of their fame. And we just don't have it happen that often anymore so when it does, it just blows our minds. But since so few of them were really dying I think that's why people were able to laugh at things like Anna Nicole, she was a cartoon. Nobody really thought about it too seriously how short life is when you're self destructive.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:56 PM on January 22, 2008


Yeah, they've updated it again, it seems, and now it's back to just being owned by her. Evidently, someone over at NYT got a little eager there.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2008


He loved dope more than he loved fame.

[citation needed]


Allow me to be more succinct.

He loved whatever killed him more than he cared about you.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck. This guy was making some huge progress as an actor, too...dang.




.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2008


. indeed
posted by mmahaffie at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008


Surely the phenomenon of celebrity is now so ubitquitous that we could expect to be immune from its sullen spell when tragedy blights the spotlighted incumbent? No! - not when a callow youth, whose very profession is to inculcate empathy in his audience, is suddenly clutched to pale Thanatos' side. And are we wrong to care so? Never! Let's not be ashamed of compassion, dear friends, wherever we find it - there's so little of it about in these dark and troublesome times.

Yikes, if you're gonna do this sort of thing, be good at it.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


In spite of his Aussie background, he had been Brooklyn's favorite son for a few years, living in Boerum Hill and helping with his wife to oppose some egregious eminent domain scheme (Atlantic Yards) with an organization called Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. I always admired that he was down to earth enough to help out the community. His performance in Brokeback Mountain was the kind of molecular level of embodiment of a role that seems on par with a spiritual possession of sorts (Like Brando..definitely). Scary good.

He and his wife separated last year and he'd moved back to Manhattan to live with a new girlfriend, I'm not sure if that was MKO. I imagine he was gong through some rough times , and, I may be wrong, but I can't imagine Mary Kate Olsen possessing the intelligence and depth necessary to help him through whatever spiritual malaise was rotting his soul.

RIP
posted by Skygazer at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008


I nominate the quidnunc kid's comment up there as the official MetaFilter Heath Ledger obit. Do I hear a second?
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


You don't have to post every thought you have, particularly when it's likely to bug people who are in the process of fondly remembering a dead person.

"likely to bug people?" Jairus said he had never heard of Ledger before this. Nothing worse. He's hardly slandering the deceased.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008


So sad for their little girl.

.
posted by chihiro at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008


If this Ledger guy died doing something he loved, why should people lose sleep over it? He loved dope more than he loved fame.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by jtron at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


TMZ is saying that the death was acciental. TMZ has learned, through a source, that he had a substance abuse problem and had been clean for a year.

developing.
posted by Stynxno at 2:58 PM on January 22, 2008


He loved whatever killed him more than he cared about you.

Is being an ass like a sport for you?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:59 PM on January 22, 2008


Bummer.
posted by starman at 2:59 PM on January 22, 2008


Fox News just aired part of an interview Ledger did while promoting I'm Not There and he said something to the effect of how he was no longer scared of dying because he lives through his daughter.

Fox also says that the body is still in there. That's why all the cameras are there now, waiting for the moment for it to come out.
posted by spec80 at 2:59 PM on January 22, 2008


Headline news is reporting that it was Ambien.

TMZ has a live feed outside his NYC apartment.

More as it comes in.
posted by Stynxno at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2008


...some over-the-counter sleeping pills were found near his body.... That's so far from being an established cause of death that the two couldn't see one another on a clear day, using telescopes.

Yes, I'm sure he died of old age.

Are you serious? Far be it from me to, oh I don't know -- put two and two together and come up with a possible four? Until further results are posted by The Smoking Gun, dissected by TMG and his autopsy report is available for download to any sixteen year old with a an internet connection, this isn't too far of a stretch in the least.

That said, he was a very skilled actor and I loved everything he was in. This is a waste of talent.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2008


"Fox also says that the body is still in there. That's why all the cameras are there now, waiting for the moment for it to come out."

If this is true, it's revolting.
posted by chihiro at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jairus: "I'm not trolling, I've just never seen so many people upset over someone I've never even peripherally observed, and it's pretty spooky."

My sentiments exactly. Well... I'd use the word 'creepy' but essentially it's the same sentiments.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by moonlet at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2008


Which story? The Times' story isn't updated

The Times' site did briefly have a "5:44pm" update that characterized the apt as "inhabited" by Olsen. A "5:51pm" update changed it back to "owned by", with clarification from unnamed police sources. Someone's clearly working the phones, trying to figure out if there's a gossipy scoop to be had. Lovely.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by Silky Slim at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2008


Didn't take long but the tacky flickr tributes have already launched. An interesting way to publicly share the grief, but augh! That font is lurid, people. not that talking about it on metafilter is much classier, but still....
posted by wowbobwow at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2008


Suicide Suspected In Heath Ledger's Death
"Police are now saying they suspect suicide in Heath Ledger's death today at a Manhattan apartment owned, says the Times, by actress Mary-Kate Olsen. Prescription pills were found around the actor's 'naked and unconscious' body."
posted by ericb at 3:02 PM on January 22, 2008


The Times' site did briefly have a "5:44pm" update that characterized the apt as "inhabited" by Olsen. A "5:51pm" update changed it back to "owned by", with clarification from unnamed police sources

Innnnnteresting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:02 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, Zachsmind... I like Heath Ledger a lot more than I like you.

And I frankly think you're wrong about Heath... on two separate occasions, I witnessed him being unnecessarily social and friendly when he had no reason to, and every opportunity to be anti-social or cloistered. He seemed to care about people.
posted by chudmonkey at 3:03 PM on January 22, 2008


I never noticed him until Monster's Ball where his quiet performance really made me understand how good he was. His best work was ahead of him, and we're the poorer for his loss.

He wasn't a celebrity. He was a talented actor who could read a script and 'suit the action to the word'.
posted by emf at 3:04 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jairus: "I'm not trolling, I've just never seen so many people upset over someone I've never even peripherally observed, and it's pretty spooky."

Breaking news: Not everyone is you. Film at 11.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:04 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


"One of Ledger's close friends tells US magazine his death was shocking, but not surprising. 'We saw it coming. Heath has gone though a rough road of trying to get sober.'"
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on January 22, 2008


ZachsMind, I think you should reflect on the fact that, generally speaking, when you present a "controversial" opinion on the site, very few people ever agree with you and many more people become increasingly convinced that you're a complete tool. Showing your ass in an obit thread is probably not a real great idea for you.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:04 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Two Hands is one of my favourite movies. I think I'll watch it tonight.

What a huge loss. He always seemed like a really nice kid.
posted by goshling at 3:05 PM on January 22, 2008


One of Ledger's close friends tells US magazine

"Close friend" !=! "tells US magazine". I hope when I die, you will all take my vices to your graves.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:06 PM on January 22, 2008 [17 favorites]


Allow me to be more succinct. He loved whatever killed him more than he cared about you.

The issue is not whether he cared about me or anyone in this thread. (Personally, I enjoyed him in the handful of movies I'd seen him in and am looking forward to see his Joker this summer, but I'm not exactly what you'd call a fan.) The issue is you're bounding in pronouncing Ledger's love for whatever killed him when the guy's been dead for a few hours and the cause of death hasn't even been determined.

Allow me to be more succinct. How long do you have to wait after someone dies to start pulling stuff out of your ass about them?
posted by turaho at 3:07 PM on January 22, 2008


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?

A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that about three people die every second, worldwide.


Silly, it only matters when famous people die!

Seeing the Olsen name reminds me of something. With so much to do in NYC, and me moving away recently, I realize there are things one can only do there that I never took advantage of or got the chance to do. One of these was to somehow end up doing massive amounts of coke with the Olsen twins. Not that I even do massive amounts of coke, but to participate in that sort of well-deserved fall from grace/eventual shitshow I would make an exception.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:08 PM on January 22, 2008


Curious. Not only are some people posting inappropriate things in this thread, they are also belligerently, bafflingly unaware of what they're doing.

Is it not possible to interrupt the flow of piffle for even the briefest of times? Say, in a tribute thread?
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 3:08 PM on January 22, 2008


DCPI/NYPD is saying that it is not MKOlsen's apartment.
posted by spec80 at 3:08 PM on January 22, 2008


We take death pretty fucking seriously, apparently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:09 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kittens For Breakfast: "Showing your ass in an obit thread is probably not a real great idea for you"

Wasn't aware MeFi was a popularity contest. Thank you for the heads up.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:12 PM on January 22, 2008


C'mon, DevilsAdvocate... Jalrus chose to reveal that he had never heard of Heath via a hypothetical question, one that no one could actually answer. That's not a good or polite conversational gambit. And since the fact that Jalrus has never heard of Heath isn't relevant to a discussion of Heath's death, it was a bad conversational gambit with no hope of paying off anyway. It was akin to walking into someone's wake and saying "Why the long faces? Who's the guy in the box?"

An attack on Heath would have been infinitely more relevant in this thread than what Jalrus provided. Do you read every thread on the blue and wonder to yourself "Is Jalrus familiar with this topic?"
posted by chudmonkey at 3:12 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


What an absolute bummer.
posted by kosem at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2008


...aaaand now the Times has a 6:06pm update that deletes Olsen from the lede entirely, and has a denial from her rep. Not that the "newspaper of record" is bothering to cop to any of these revisions, mind you. Do newspapers still run Corrections, or is that considered News 1.0 nowadays?
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2008


Headline News Reports: "His role as the Joker was so troubling and demonic to him that he had trouble sleeping at night."
posted by Stynxno at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2008


I saw him in Santa Barbara a couple years ago at a film festival and he was wonderfully natural-seeming and great with the fans. And, as many have said, he was a tremendous actor (if you haven't seen Brokeback Mountain, go do so at once).

I don't really understand why people feel the need to post assholish comments about how little they care, but I'm glad there are so few of them.

.
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on January 22, 2008


Holy shit. I loved that guy. As an actor.
posted by puke & cry at 3:16 PM on January 22, 2008


My sentiments exactly.
When he posted those sentiments, he not only wasn't directly talking shit about Ledger, he also left the thread.
Just sayin'.
posted by agentofselection at 3:16 PM on January 22, 2008


waitholyshitWHAT?
... WHAT?
... Heath Ledger!
... No!

.
posted by Phire at 3:17 PM on January 22, 2008


“My money's on J.D. Salinger, at least sometime this year.”

How would you tell?

I dunno. Sad. But as to this suicide business - is it worse to live life in a prolonged self-destructive way (e.g. drugs) or to end it swiftly?
Not that he died either way (but apparently he had a substance abuse problem), but it seems that one is a concession the other is a choice.

Doesn’t help the survivors much I suppose. It’s a shame however it is.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2008


Wasn't aware MeFi was a popularity contest. Thank you for the heads up.

It's not a popularity contest, Zach, but it's not a who-can-be-the-biggest-asshole contest, either. There seems to be some confusion on this point; maybe the FAQ needs updating, I dunno.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


The Prozac or anti-depressant he needed, if truly a suicide, might sadly have taken a bit off his acting. I wonder if he knew that and cared more about his craft?

Sad indeed.

.
posted by narebuc at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2008


Do newspapers still run Corrections, or is that considered News 1.0 nowadays?

The City Room section that this post links to is a blog, so there's no editor and no corrections.
posted by smackfu at 3:20 PM on January 22, 2008


Not that the "newspaper of record" is bothering to cop to any of these revisions, mind you. Do newspapers still run Corrections, or is that considered News 1.0 nowadays?

Interesting question. I hope the news media will set the record straight if it's not MK's apartment.

Wow, I just got deva ju. Did someone die in someone else's apartment before? Must search history...
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:21 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


That live feed of the removal of the body is so morbid. Not that I am any better.

“You might let him die in peace, at least,” she shouted at the crowd, “is it a spectacle for you to gape at? With cigarettes! (Cough, cough, cough!) You might as well keep your hats on.… And there is one in his hat!… Get away! You should respect the dead, at least!”

Her cough choked her—but her reproaches were not without result. They evidently stood in some awe of Katerina Ivanovna. The lodgers, one after another, squeezed back into the doorway with that strange inner feeling of satisfaction which may be observed in the presence of a sudden accident, even in those nearest and dearest to the victim, from which no living man is exempt, even in spite of the sincerest sympathy and compassion.

posted by granted at 3:21 PM on January 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Do you read every thread on the blue and wonder to yourself "Is Jalrus familiar with this topic?"

No, but in general I don't find it particularly offensive when people come in and declare that they hadn't heard of the thread's subject before, as seems to happen in at least half of the threads around here. Sometimes it's complimentary ("Wow, what a great post! I'd never heard about that before.") Sometimes it's disdainful ("Is this something I'd need a television to know about?") Sometimes it's neutral, and sometimes it's unclear. I guess I don't see that Jairus's pronouncement should be automatically lumped in the "disdainful" category, particularly given his followup that his comment was sincere and not trolling.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:21 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]




I recently rewatched most of the flawed but decent adaptation of Luke Davies' Candy a few weeks back. Ledger made a film work that otherwise might not've. It's been popping up on the movie channels lately and I recommend catching it.
posted by item at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2008


Ave, vale, salve.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2008


"It's not a popularity contest, Zach, but it's not a who-can-be-the-biggest-asshole contest, either"

it's not? coulda fooled me.

and i'm not just talking about this thread.
posted by CitizenD at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


To elaborate on what Stynxno said above:

FROM THE NY TIMES 11-4-07

''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.

===

The latest copy of British film magazine "Empire" features Ledger as this month's cover story for his upcoming role as the Joker in the Batman: The Dark Knight movie.

In preparation for the role, Ledger stated that, "I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices".
posted by spec80 at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seconding that goshling. I've seen most of his movies and it's one of my favourites too.
posted by tellurian at 3:24 PM on January 22, 2008


Is there an opposite of a favorite? Cause I'd really like to use that on a few posts in this thread. Flagging isn't enough.
posted by empath at 3:25 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Jairus: "I'm not trolling, I've just never seen so many people upset over someone I've never even peripherally observed, and it's pretty spooky."

My sentiments exactly. Well... I'd use the word 'creepy' but essentially it's the same sentiments.

Yeah, because calling posters to this thread "creepy" doesn't make you any less a trollish jackass. Isn't there an open WGA strike thread you can flood with unintelligible tripe ZachsMind?
posted by eyeballkid at 3:25 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


And somehow my italics disappear.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:26 PM on January 22, 2008


First of all it is Jairus, not Jalrus, and I'm going to defend him as I've had several, pleasant conversations with him. I believe he was being earnest when he asked who it was, believing it to be someone with a cult following or otherwise not known in the mainstream. In fact, I have never seen Heath Ledger in a movie, I think his buzz was bigger than he was at this point. He was a terrifically talented actor, but has yet to have a film in the mainstream in the way someone like Jack Nicholson has. I think he was about to breakthrough, certainly since the success of Brokeback Mountain, but this is young Hollywood we are talking about, and if you don't follow films or celebrity news closely, there is a good chance the name recognition is lost.

This will completely change Dark Knight, as no one can view the film now without this tragedy surrounding it. Here's hoping that the film can give some sort of vindication and substance to his name, that which he apparently felt was missing from his life.
posted by geoff. at 3:26 PM on January 22, 2008


Man, that's really sad when ANYONE takes their life, but I guess we, as movie goers, felt a connection with this kid. He was talented, and we will all miss him. But his family could use prayers right now.
posted by Juryizout at 3:26 PM on January 22, 2008


.

This is just so sad. I remember being really moved by his performance in Monster's Ball. And he just broke my heart in Brokeback Mntn. Like someone said before I was looking forward to watching him for years from now. So very sad.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:28 PM on January 22, 2008


The candle that burns twice as bright burns only half as long. And the inverse goes too, ye longwinded gasbags.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:30 PM on January 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yessssssssssss, I think that means I will live forever!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:31 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


There's no reason to believe this was a suicide yet. It may very well have been accidental.
posted by empath at 3:31 PM on January 22, 2008


I’ll add, while I don’t have any personal connection with Ledger and so I don’t particularly ‘care’ in the conventional sense, his death does serve to remind us how precarious life is and how much of a gift we are to each other. Simply because he was more visible.
And indeed, because he more visibly shared his gifts with us. It doesn’t make his death special or more of human loss than anyone else’s death. But it doesn’t make it less either.
When Sinatra died, my mom, who was a big fan, was pretty sad.
Well, I couldn’t mourn, the man died at an old age after living a full and healthy (and in some respects enviable in material success alone) life filled with music and the joy of sharing his talent with others.

Death is a loss. This can be said of anyone. And we do feel it more keenly when it’s the death of someone close to us.

But such visible deaths marked the passing of facets of our lives that are irrevocably lost. A future that is now dark to us and a life and talent we can celebrate but no longer share in.

And so it’s true that it’s just the loss of a ‘celebrity,’ but in a real sense it’s a loss nevertheless.
And we know - I know just as you all know, it reminds us of our own mortality and the people who ARE close to us who may not be as widely celebrated whos lives we do share, who are also mortal.

Act accordingly.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:31 PM on January 22, 2008 [16 favorites]


Did someone die in someone else's apartment before? Must search history...

ThePinkSuperhero, don't know if this is what you're thinking of but Mama Cass and Keith Moon both died in an apartment owned by Harry Nilisson.
posted by item at 3:33 PM on January 22, 2008




Publicist for Mary Kate Olsen says she does NOT own the apartment (nor has she ever owned an apt in that building.)

NYC Medical Examiner's office says an autopsy will be performed tomorrow.
posted by spec80 at 3:34 PM on January 22, 2008


First reports said he was staying in an apartment of Mary-Kate Olson, who was off doing publicity for a movie in which she starred with Oscar winning (and three other times nominated) Sir Ben Kingsley. This indicates to me that he may not have actually died, but instead discovered a tear in the universe somewhere within that apartment.
posted by TimTypeZed at 3:35 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


On the Celebrity Death WTF-o-Meter, I think this comes in below Bruno Kirby but above River Phoenix.

Phil Hartman is still number one on the chart, though.
posted by notmydesk at 3:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


(In fairness, Sir Ben Kingsley appeared in Uwe Boll's Bloodrayne. If anything, starring in a film with Mary-Kate Olsen is a step up.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm pretty darn upset about this and a little bit baffled about why I am, so I think it's a fair question. I respect Ledger and have seen and enjoyed a couple of his movies, but it's not like I was a charter member of the Heath Ledger fan club. I think it's just terribly sad and unexpected, and it's a reminder that life can be awfully cruel sometimes. I've known some people who died when they were a similar age, also with apparently bright futures, and in similar circumstances, and it's about the saddest thing I can think of. So yeah: it's about the particular guy who died too young, and it's also about the fact that it reminds us all how precarious life is. The fact that Ledger was primarily known as a talented actor and not as a fodder for Hollywood gossip magazines probably makes it seem worse.
posted by craichead at 3:37 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Caught this while doing my daily patrol of the 24-hour cable news noise machine. Don't think you could call me a Ledger fan, exactly, but he never turned in a performance I didn't enjoy. I've been stoked to see him as the Joker since news of that casting broke, and it's a real drag that he's perished at such an early age.

But like I said, I was watching this on the noise machine. And the blurbs on the bottom of the screen have been pretty absurd. On FOX News, the blurb they ran under the Ledger stock footage read something to the effect of "Authorities believe death was accidental."

Now, exposure to FOX News is like exposure to uranium, so I moved on quickly. Next channel up was Headline News, where the blurb was "Suicide likely in Ledger's death."

Fucking hell. I know what it's like to write a headline under deadline pressure, but it never calls for making shit up. I'd love to see CNN and the whole lot switch the blurbs to something honest, like "Ledger's death: details to follow autopsy" or, "Ledger: We'll know something tomorrow, and repeat it all day" or "Expect to hear about Heath Ledger for the rest of the month"
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:39 PM on January 22, 2008


Having actually sifted through all the comments in this thread (and hating more than a few of them) I'm still... stunned by how much I care. I feel like crying right now, and the only movie I've seen him in is Ten Things I Hate About You which I adored beyond measure when I first saw it, and still love now.

And even though the implications that his role as the Joker may have affected his pysche are scary and saddening, they make me respect him that much more - he was pretty, exceedingly so, yet he still pushed himself so hard...
posted by Phire at 3:39 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


From his IMDB Biography:

"I'm not good at future planning. I don't plan at all. I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow. I don't have a day planner and I don't have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future."

His poor daughter. And Michelle, too - they didn't split all that long ago and now her little girl isn't going to have a daddy. I remember seeing both of them on a talk show a year or so ago, and they seemed like a really nice, relaxed young couple. They talked about their daughter and how much they loved living in NYC. I think there's a curse on the cast of Dawson's Creek. Look at "Kate Cruise."
posted by SassHat at 3:39 PM on January 22, 2008


In fact, this is about how my Celebrity Death WTF-o-Meter shakes out as present (Top 5).

1) Phil Hartman
2) Bruno Kirby
3) John Denver
4) Heath Ledger
5) River Phoenix
posted by notmydesk at 3:39 PM on January 22, 2008


The funny, well not funny, but odd, thing is how much his Joker looks like Brandon Lee's Crow, which was similarly posthumously released. Just a coincidence I guess.
posted by hnnrs at 3:40 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


If it's true that he was clean for a year and recently relapsed, it's especially awful because such deaths are predictable and potentially preventable.

If you must relapse-- and you aren't trying to kill yourself-- start with a very, very low dose. Your body doesn't have a tolerance any more: the dose that used to barely get you off can kill.

It's particularly sad when people die of ignorance around this stuff. Of course, when people relapse, they tend to be in a "fuck it" state of mind and might not care: but at least if you know about dramatically reduced tolerance after abstinence, you know you are taking an excess risk.
posted by Maias at 3:41 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hm, someone upthread mentioned the last picture of him taken on saturday but there's another supposed last picture of him allegedly taken yesterday. It was on gawker but isn't there anymore. I don't have any way to verify that though.
posted by puke & cry at 3:41 PM on January 22, 2008


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?

Don't forget Suzanne Pleshette. So Ledger makes three. (Renfro being the first)
posted by cazoo at 3:41 PM on January 22, 2008


What a shame.

I'm reminded of Hank Williams, who also OD'd, in 1953 at age 29.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:41 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by Kiell at 3:42 PM on January 22, 2008


Such a waste of talent, whether this was an accidental or purposeful death. I feel bad for his daughter, and for his ex, who will have to somehow explain to a two-year-old that daddy isn't coming back. And from what I've seen, he adored his daughter.
posted by annieb at 3:43 PM on January 22, 2008


Ah, here's the gawker post.
posted by puke & cry at 3:43 PM on January 22, 2008


Turaho: "Allow me to be more succinct. How long do you have to wait after someone dies to start pulling stuff out of your ass about them?"

I have files listing things I want to say about famous people when they die.

Many of you are turning this into a personal attack against me, which is quaint, but if you ever expect any obit thread in MeFi to be nothing but a lovefest, you gotta nother think coming.

The beautiful thing about MeFi is there's a wide spectrum of opinions that get to be expressed, and they are all equally valid and viable. Not just yours. Not just mine.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:48 PM on January 22, 2008


According to police sources:

-two drugs were found at the scene - one prescription, one not.

-The maid or housekeeper called Mary Kate Olsen and her security team responded to the apartment adding to initial confusion with reports that it was her apt. It currently appears not to be hers.

-there is no reason at this time to think that the death is anything but accidental

==

Ok I'm leaving work now. I hope my replies here weren't too morbid, but they are the facts as they come. And no, I don't know why the maid/housekeeper called an Olsen.
posted by spec80 at 3:48 PM on January 22, 2008


The City Room section that this post links to is a blog, so there's no editor and no corrections.

The City Room runs under The New York Times masthead. It's self-described as "supplementing the New York/Region coverage of The Times" (emphasis added). Format is irrelevant; it's the Times doing news coverage. They have a responsibility to acknowledge when they're printed facts that turned out to be incomplete, wrong, or misrepresented. They can find the time to actively moderate comments but can't be arsed to keep a simple footer noting that substantial corrections of fact have been made. Pathetic. They don't even take responsibility inline. "Police officials initially said that the apartment was owned by the actress" could at least be "Based on initial reports from police officials, the Times briefly reported that..."

"Suicide likely in Ledger's death." Fucking hell. I know what it's like to write a headline under deadline pressure, but it never calls for making shit up.

Amen.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:49 PM on January 22, 2008


Fly, fly, shitty little celebrity blogs! This is your moment to shine!
posted by bicyclefish at 3:49 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have to say that I was very touched by how well he played gay, and I appreciated the way he did it. He didn't pander to gay audiences, he didn't try to make himself look heroic. He seemed like a pro who respected his subject matter. I felt a sense of gratitude towards him.

I'm not really very interested in stars (I don't even recognize them when I pass them on the street during the Toronto film festival, and I've never even visited Perez Hilton), but I find myself very sobered by the news. I hope people will lay off the speculation as to the cause. Whatever the cause it's terribly sad.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:50 PM on January 22, 2008


I know the cause of death is up in the air at this point, but if it is indeed drugs (accidental or otherwise) then maybe its time we have a national discussion on why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics, and what, if anything, can be done about it.
posted by Avenger at 3:50 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


if Anna Nicole Smith warranted a week of national mourning, a celebrity with actual talent and charisma passing on so young should lead to at least of month of tribtue and investigation...

Your faith in the media is disturbing.

No giggling boobs to plaster on TV daily = three day story, tops.

(I liked Ledger, too.)
posted by rokusan at 3:57 PM on January 22, 2008


For me it was John Belushi.

For me it was River Phoenix. When Brad Renfro passed the other day, and when any young actor dies, it takes me back to when River Phoenix ODed outside the Viper Room (not that I was there or anything). I remember having recently seen the third Indiana Jones film, and while his role was pretty small, he did a dead-on sort-of impression of Harrison Ford. I remember thinking, "OK, this guy is good".

Had he lived he would be an A-lister by now, maybe the head of the pack. Phoenix was shedding his boyish looks and becoming handsome instead of just pretty, so he would be next to Brad Pitt in the heartthrob department.

Heath Ledger was a good actor, though all I really saw of him was Brokeback Mountain, and a few minutes of A Knight's Tale. Sidenote: after watching the Batman Returns trailer, I noticed a striking resemblance (in my mind, anyway) between Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, also a great up-and-coming actor. I thought it would be cool if those two played brothers in some movie. Too late now.
posted by zardoz at 3:58 PM on January 22, 2008


...maybe its time we have a national discussion on why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics, and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Not to mention our young, not-necessarily-talented working class wasting itself on meth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is so not the gallows humor thread I was expecting. Was it only a year ago that we mocked the death of Anna Nicole Smith?
posted by malaprohibita at 4:00 PM on January 22, 2008


giggling boobs

Hey, your boobs can giggle? I feel so ripped off; mine don't even snicker.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 4:00 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


The beautiful thing about MeFi is there's a wide spectrum of opinions that get to be expressed, and they are all equally valid and viable

No, Zach. That's the beautiful thing about Candy Land...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:01 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


Forget it Zach, it's CandLand.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:04 PM on January 22, 2008


Or ooga can't bloody preview land.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:04 PM on January 22, 2008


Avenger: "I know the cause of death is up in the air at this point, but if it is indeed drugs (accidental or otherwise) then maybe its time we have a national discussion on why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics, and what, if anything, can be done about it."

My guess is that the young, talented artistic class is just the class we pay the most attention to, while poor people and minorities continue to fall victim to crime, drugs, and despair, and it's business as usual without all the hoopla.

And before I let that sound like I don't care about Heath Ledger, let me be sure to state that I think this a true tragedy. Regardless of the cause.

I just don't want to only have discussion about drugs because they messed up the Batman sequels.
posted by dosterm at 4:06 PM on January 22, 2008 [9 favorites]


Very sad.

Let's not go crazy yet! Just because she owned it doesn't mean it's the apartmen she lives in.... she might not even know him. Do you personally know the person who owns the apartment you rent? I don't.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero


You couldn't come up with a dumber comparison if you tried.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 4:08 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by crossoverman at 4:09 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by MadamM at 4:14 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by cillit bang at 4:24 PM on January 22, 2008


I noticed a striking resemblance (in my mind, anyway) between Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, also a great up-and-coming actor.

They costarred in 10 Things I Hate About You.

I enjoyed Heath's work in every film of his I saw. RIP
posted by carsonb at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2008


They can find the time to actively moderate comments but can't be arsed to keep a simple footer noting that substantial corrections of fact have been made. Pathetic.

Agreed. The NYT has a reader's representative. This would be a fine question to ask him.
posted by mediareport at 4:27 PM on January 22, 2008


Oh, and Zachsmind has really been on a contrarian "look at MeMeMe" kick lately. He's heading for a timeout, is my bet. Just ignore him.
posted by mediareport at 4:28 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by Mintyblonde at 4:30 PM on January 22, 2008


I know the cause of death is up in the air at this point, but if it is indeed drugs (accidental or otherwise) then maybe its time we have a national discussion on why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics, and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Come now, they aren't all wasting themselves on narcotics. There are lots of wealthy, young, creative people doing lots of drugs that are doing just fine. And the ones that aren't doing illegal drugs are probably on legal painkillers, anti-depressents and stimulants. It's not drug use per se that's the problem, it's EXCESSIVE drug use.
posted by empath at 4:31 PM on January 22, 2008


.

Rest easy, mate.
posted by deCadmus at 4:32 PM on January 22, 2008


MetaFilter: who can be the biggest asshole?

On topic: unexpected. Too young. It sucks.

.
posted by bwg at 4:43 PM on January 22, 2008


He loved whatever killed him more than he cared about you.

Over the counter sleeping pills? WTF?
posted by delmoi at 4:43 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 4:47 PM on January 22, 2008


(oops, I failed to keep up to date with the thread)
posted by delmoi at 4:49 PM on January 22, 2008


why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics

Also, I think that while it's possible to do creative work without being tormented or suffering, I think the kind of drive that pushes people to creative peaks only comes from a certain kind of personality, which also happens to be the kind of personality that easily becomes self-destructive and destructive of people around them.
posted by empath at 4:49 PM on January 22, 2008


This is very sad.

If you haven't seen Brokeback Mountain, see it and watch Ledger's mouth. It is a perfectly still, taut line for basically the whole movie. He is really amazingly good. The comparison to fake cartoon-person celebrities is spurious.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:50 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Zardoz! Oh yeah! River Phoenix! He was awesome in Sneakers. Showed so much promise. Loved him in Stand By Me. Thought he took an impossible role in Last Crusade and turned it into sheer gold. The guy was so going places. That was a crying shame.

Sam Kinison! Man, he'd just cleaned himself up (for the umpteenth time but still) and it's a drunk driver that takes him out. That had me in shock for a week. That wasn't irony. That was God's sick twisted idea of a joke.

Chris Farley. What a force of nature he was, huh? Damn.

Mitch Hedberg. Wow.

Dee Dee Ramone.

Sid Vicious.

Dana Plato.

...what?

...no?

If you guys can have Heath Ledger on this list, I can have Dana Plato.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:51 PM on January 22, 2008


Deaths come in threes. Who's next?

Ledger was three. Bobby Fischer and Suzanne Pleshette were 1 and 2.

Fucking hell. Why. Fucking why.


People like doing drugs. Wealthy movie stars have easy access to drugs. Drugs sometimes kill you.
posted by jonmc at 4:51 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


God. I absolutely hate it when something happens to someone who I just know has such great things to do and it's just... over. Goddamnit.

.
posted by flatluigi at 4:53 PM on January 22, 2008


why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics

Yeah, it's a fucking tragedy. When it happens to somebody unlucky enough not to be attractive, rich, famous etc...well, who cares?
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


jonmc: "Yeah, it's a fucking tragedy. When it happens to somebody unlucky enough not to be attractive, rich, famous etc...well, who cares?"

For one, the people who care are the people who know and love them and the people who hate it when someone's hurt by drugs.

For two, just because someone's famous, rich, or attractive doesn't mean you should dislike them. It certainly doesn't mean you should be such a jerk to people who actually feel sad that the rich, famous, or attractive person is dead now.
posted by flatluigi at 4:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


.
posted by schyler523 at 4:58 PM on January 22, 2008


For one, the people who care are the people who know and love them and the people who hate it when someone's hurt by drugs.

Yes, but I seriously doubt anyone here actually knows this guy.

For two, just because someone's famous, rich, or attractive doesn't mean you should dislike them.

Perhaps, but it's our duty to cut them down to size. Look, I was mainly objecting to the way the comment imply that it was some extra-special tragedy when the 'talented artistic class' (whatever that is) loses somebody to self-dectruction as opposed to when it's just any random person.
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM on January 22, 2008


Oh please, ZachsMind. Sid Vicious was completely talentless and a totally manufactured persona...having him on your list just shows that you're as susceptible to hype as the average Britney watcher.
posted by padraigin at 5:05 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by dbiedny at 5:06 PM on January 22, 2008


Perhaps, but it's our duty to cut them down to size.

He's dead. I'd say that cuts him down pretty well. There's no need to resent a corpse.

why our young, talented artistic class continues to waste itself on narcotics

People with serious insecurities are attracted to the performing arts. Ledger always came off as being pretty grounded to me, but you can never tell with actors.
posted by stammer at 5:07 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, but I seriously doubt anyone here actually knows this guy

Proof that you didn't even bother to read the whole thread before starting your usual routine.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:08 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I first saw this on an acquaintance's blog and went "wait, what?!". Because he was one of the last people I'd expect to hear this about - and I don't even follow celebrity gossip anymore.

just. just wow. how sudden life can be.

.
posted by divabat at 5:09 PM on January 22, 2008


Awful. This brought back to me the similar death of a close highschool friend, now almost thirty years ago. Famous Broadway actor, unattended suspicious death possible accidental overdose. Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid. god.
posted by nax at 5:12 PM on January 22, 2008


smoke crack mountain

(sorry, couldn't resist)

posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 PM on January 22, 2008


I really appreciated his acting and I'll miss the great contributions to film he surely would have made.
posted by hojoki at 5:16 PM on January 22, 2008


Sid Vicious was completely talentless and a totally manufactured persona

Sid made quite an impression on a generation through his work.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:17 PM on January 22, 2008


Everybody wants to be young, attractive, rich, (and, most want to be, famous). It's a pretty dumb thing to hold against somebody just 'cause they died.

See ya, Heath. You had chops, kid.

.
posted by tkchrist at 5:17 PM on January 22, 2008


Horrible. I live in his old neighborhood, and he struck up a conversation with me once about my dog. He was a very sweet.
posted by Shebear at 5:19 PM on January 22, 2008


Everybody wants to be young, attractive, rich, (and, most want to be, famous).

I dig your funky vibe, tkchrist, but that's nonsense. I'd rather be old, because I can be grumpy and unhygenic and nobody will care. I'd rather be unattractive since then I don't have to maintain my appearance. Being rich could have it's pluses but it requires work or luck, and I'm lazy and not particularly lucky. Being famous would suck because the there's tons of people up in your business.
posted by jonmc at 5:21 PM on January 22, 2008


You wound me, padraigin! SID VICIOUS WAS A SAINT!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:22 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps, but it's our duty to cut them down to size.

What? Becuase he was younger, better looking, more talented, better liked, and welathier than you? Aim low, bro. Aim low.

It's your duty to shut your mouth and give everybody else who cares a moment to show their respect. Do you go to funerals and stand up and say "Yeah, but Jim was an asshole."
posted by tkchrist at 5:23 PM on January 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


.
posted by sneakin at 5:23 PM on January 22, 2008


posted by jonmc it's our duty to cut them down to size.

No, it isn't. People who think so are just deeply insecure and jealous assholes.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:25 PM on January 22, 2008 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: I'd rather be contrary because your favourite actor who just died sucks.
posted by crossoverman at 5:26 PM on January 22, 2008


Sid made quite an impression on a generation through his work.

Ha. No, Malcolm McLaren did. Sid was just a dumb guy who did dumb things that were turned around and presented as a statement by a guy with a vision.

It's just kind of goofy that someone would hold up this guy whose sole contribution to the universe was as a kind of junkie court jester, who had no artistic merit and who could not be said to have invented his own aesthetic merit, as a Dead Person of Relevance.

Purely my opinion, of course. I'm sure that plenty of real scholars would love to describe how Sid actually invented the now-legendary No Hands Technique that revolutionized bass playing or something, but how it was sadly overshadowed by his chopping of himself to ribbons with razors.
posted by padraigin at 5:26 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by R343L at 5:27 PM on January 22, 2008


Sid Vicious was completely talentless and a totally manufactured persona

Maybe so. But John Simon Ritchie was a young, shy, vulnerable young man -- a boy, really -- who got fucked up on drugs and was completely overwhelmed by a notoreity only fractionally of his own making. He, like Heath Ledger, was a real human being, with people who knew him and loved him, and fans who may not have known him personally, but were personally affected by him all the same. A little compassion towards each of them costs you nothing.
posted by scody at 5:28 PM on January 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


.
posted by amyms at 5:29 PM on January 22, 2008


Four days before Australia Day, no less.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:29 PM on January 22, 2008


TMZ is reporting that "...Heath Ledger was sick with pneumonia when he died today in NY."
posted by ericb at 5:30 PM on January 22, 2008


awww. This is sad news. He was only 28 years old! A beautiful 2 year old daughter too. aww, so not fair for her and for his recent ex, Michelle Williams. Got to be agony for her and will be misery for his kid.

His ex seems to be a good person and he seemed to be a decent man too, also working on his sobriety this last year. He accomplished a lot since he took off at 16 to be an actor. Well liked and popular, handsome, healthy, rich and successful. Plenty of creative variety in his life, producing music videos as well. He was recently supposed to be dating a 20 year old supermodel. His death reminds me also of Owen Wilson's recent suicide attempt. It seems so unlikely.

It had to have hurt to be working on his sobriety, break up with his ex, the mother of his child, in September, when his daughter is so young, then do the holidays alone in NYC. The look of those Gawker photos makes it seem he was working on some kind of dark role. The Joker role seems like a dark one too. I wonder if the roles and actor chooses get under his or her skin to the point of causing them depression or inner turmoil?

Don't know if he will be added to the actors who committed suicide list but an accidental overdose of prescription and non-prescription sleeping pills prompts me to think he must have been struggling with anxiety or depression. He had a turbulent relationship with paparazzi photographers. Then again it's said he was sick with pneumonia when he died today. But then why wasn't he in a hospital? Pneumonia is not a mere cold.

I truly loved him in Brokeback Mountain and think he changed the world for the better with his portrayal. It was astonishing how he vividly, intelligently he conveyed the difficulty for that man to express his emotions and yet also the intensity of those emotions at the same time. An unforgettable and beautiful movie, imo.

No doubt over the next few weeks the stories will come out. Whatever it was, the suddenness of it with him so young is very sad. Loving thoughts to Michelle, their friends, his family and daughter.
posted by nickyskye at 5:31 PM on January 22, 2008 [12 favorites]


.
posted by brandz at 5:32 PM on January 22, 2008


I told my 70-year-old father that Heath Ledger was dead - nothing more than that. "Oh, right, I see. I've only seen one film he's been in. Drugs, I suppose."

Such a blossoming talent, a squalid assumption and an untimely death.

.
posted by paperpete at 5:33 PM on January 22, 2008


Can I get a witness MeTa in here?
posted by SassHat at 5:33 PM on January 22, 2008


i'm really surprised by how much this saddens me. i'm not a huge celebrity watcher, but i had high hopes for heath ledger after "brokeback mountain." controversy aside, that was one of the most beautifully tortured performances i've ever seen. ennis made my heart ache. i was genuinely looking forward to a long career (provided that he continued with the edgy stuff and didn't fall back on schlock)

i was in this thread earlier, and it started to get stooooopid ugly. left 'cause it was pissing me off. came back, nothin's changed. oh well. that'll learn me to come back.
posted by CitizenD at 5:33 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sid Vicious was completely talentless...

Uh, wasn't that kind of the point of punk? The whole DIY, let's bring the whole raw energy thing back to rock? Talent had become overblown and worshipped for its own sake, al that?

and a totally manufactured persona

Not so sure about that. Sure, they made a movie about him, and he was promoted by his record company, just like any other big rock act gets promoted. But "totally manufactured?" I dunno... I always thought he was basically just kind of a dumb lout with a bass guitar, who got really lucky for a brief while.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:34 PM on January 22, 2008


Look, I was mainly objecting to the way the comment imply that it was some extra-special tragedy when the 'talented artistic class' (whatever that is) loses somebody to self-dectruction as opposed to when it's just any random person.

Whoa whoa whoa there, jonmc. Thats 180 degrees from what I was trying to say. Believe me, I've lost (or nearly lost) several friends and family to self-destruction, and none of my friends or family can be called "famous" or "talented" in any real sense -- so I'm well aware that we shouldn't just care about these issues just because maybe Ledger had drug problems.

I guess I was trying to get at the seeming contradiction between talented, creative people who seemingly have the world at their feet -- yet still manage to destroy whatever stability they have -- or even destroy themselves in the very real sense. It seems to go against our understanding of what makes people tick.

I think you could also argue, using Rock Hudson as an example, that the death of a high-profile (and universally beloved) celebrity is exactly the right time to talk about the cause of that death, especially if it also involves millions of us "normal" folks.
posted by Avenger at 5:36 PM on January 22, 2008


.

Devastated. Such a waste of talent.
posted by saturnine at 5:37 PM on January 22, 2008


He was from here in Perth, Western Australia. Apparently he was a knob at school. I couldn't stand him at first, but I think his acting has improved. I'm really looking forward to his Joker.

.
posted by robcorr at 5:38 PM on January 22, 2008


PaperPete's father is teh awesome!

Heath's family, who were not reportedly there with him when he died, say he died of pneumonia, and that drugs were not connected to the cause of his death. That's good enough for me. I'm convinced. How about you?

I stand corrected. Ledger could not have possibly loved pneumonia more than he loved fame. Chicken pox maybe, but not pneumonia.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:40 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by rooftop secrets at 5:41 PM on January 22, 2008


posted by SassHat Can I get a witness

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

--Edwin Arlington Robinson
1869–1935
posted by fandango_matt at 5:41 PM on January 22, 2008 [14 favorites]


...one of the most beautifully tortured performances i've ever seen. ennis made my heart ache.
“Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.”

-- Stephen Holden | New York Times
posted by ericb at 5:42 PM on January 22, 2008


Actually, looking at a list of his performances, I did like some of his early stuff. I remember watching the kids show "Sweat", which was not bad and he was certainly better than the others, and "Blackrock" is an awesome movie. But then there was "10 Things" and "Two Hands", and nothing good until, say, "Ned Kelly" or thereabouts.
posted by robcorr at 5:43 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by about_time at 5:44 PM on January 22, 2008


I'll be brutally honest and say that I was never the least bit interested in anything he's been in except 10 Things, and my junior year of high school was filled with teenage fantasies about Patrick Verona.

Am curious about Dark Knight.

But to me, he'll still always be Patrick Verona.

That is all.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 5:45 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


An Untimely Death -- "Heath Ledger refused to take the pretty boy's path to Hollywood success."
posted by ericb at 5:46 PM on January 22, 2008


I read that too, ericb. It was a beautiful performance. I don't really like celebrity per se, but it just seems like the decent thing to do to not talk about the cause until it's been determined. I don't say this as a grieving fan ( I really don't feel a connection to actors), I say it as someone who hates cheap moral lessons and assumptions.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:52 PM on January 22, 2008


I found his performance in Brokeback Mountain very moving.

This is too bad. I liked Heath Ledger--he was talented. Most of all though, this is very sad for his daughter.

.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:53 PM on January 22, 2008


I stand corrected. Ledger could not have possibly loved pneumonia more than he loved fame. Chicken pox maybe, but not pneumonia.

Edgy as fuck.

Why are you still in this thread?
posted by Mikey-San at 5:53 PM on January 22, 2008


hell damn crap ...

reaction between the two drugs cause something awful? time will tell, but won't bring him back.

what a waste of talent.
posted by spish at 5:53 PM on January 22, 2008


I always admired his work. The news made me unaccountably sad. I don't care how or why it happened, but I find myself reminded again of how lucky I am that when I pass, too few people will notice to bother gossiping about it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:54 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by zippity at 5:57 PM on January 22, 2008


Ennis Del Mar, R.I.P.
posted by ericb at 5:59 PM on January 22, 2008


Edgy as fuck.

Uh-huh. Are we moving into callout territory yet, or...?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:01 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by Jilder at 6:03 PM on January 22, 2008


Yeah this traveled around amazingly quickly; I must've gotten at least a dozen text messages starting around 2 pm PST. It is a shame, though, that someone as young and as talented as he was had to go.

.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 6:06 PM on January 22, 2008


I always admired his work. The news made me unaccountably sad. I don't care how or why it happened, but I find myself reminded again of how lucky I am that when I pass, too few people will notice to bother gossiping about it.

Yes, exactly.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:08 PM on January 22, 2008


This is very sad, and unexpected. So young, so talented, and with a young daughter who never got a chance to know him.
posted by orange swan at 6:10 PM on January 22, 2008


Part of the reaction is the apparent incongruity of Ledger's outward appearance of normalcy. Chris Farley and John Belushi appeared clearly unhealthy long before their deaths. Ledger looked like a talented, harmless, relatively normal dude.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:13 PM on January 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


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posted by samthemander at 6:13 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by fuse theorem at 6:16 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by 45moore45 at 6:20 PM on January 22, 2008


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posted by jlbartosa at 6:22 PM on January 22, 2008


.

So very, very sad. His portrayal of Ennis had so much depth of soul. The tension in his mouth just spoke volumes. He will be missed. Prayers for his loved ones.
posted by pearlybob at 6:30 PM on January 22, 2008


Yes, behold my lord Ulrich, the rock, the hard place, like a wind from Guilderland he sweeps by blown far from his homeland in search of glory and honor, we walk in the garden of his turbulence.

Here's praying the next cultural tragedy won't be amy winehouse, another great talent of our Age.
posted by elphTeq at 6:30 PM on January 22, 2008


His role in Brokeback was so great that it was obnoxious to see Gyllenhaal on screen with him. I've never seen a pair of actors featured prominently where one is so badly out-acted by the other. Ole Jake really hurt that movie.

I don't think Jake was a problem for the film except in that he was much less believable playing older than himself. It's true, though, that Ledger outacted him by underacting, and then underacting even more. I was blown away by his haunting, haunted performance, among a cast of many understated performances, thanks to Ang Lee's brilliant direction (including Kate Mara, who played Alma Jr. at the end, doing a pitch-perfect impression of her "dad").

He was the real thing. I expected a long, incredible career.

Thoughts for his wife and daughter.

.
posted by dhartung at 6:34 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's praying the next cultural tragedy won't be amy winehouse, another great talent of our Age.

Amy Winehouse Photographed In Crack Binge.

Amy headed to rehab.

Err, wait, what?

Amy Winehouse Not In Rehab.

posted by ericb at 6:37 PM on January 22, 2008


I always thought he was the guy that played Wolverine in the X-Men movies and the non Christian Bale magician in The Prestige. I learned today that he was, in fact, neither of those roles (Hugh Jackman, who is probably alive).

It's still sad.
posted by Diskeater at 6:39 PM on January 22, 2008


Maybe Heath had shares in Citigroup
posted by mattoxic at 6:44 PM on January 22, 2008


Here's praying the next cultural tragedy won't be amy winehouse, another great talent of our Age.

Surely you jest, sirrah!
posted by wowbobwow at 6:49 PM on January 22, 2008


Cool Papa Bell: "Part of the reaction is the apparent incongruity of Ledger's outward appearance of normalcy. Chris Farley and John Belushi appeared clearly unhealthy long before their deaths. Ledger looked like a talented, harmless, relatively normal dude."

0.o

So if you're fat, people expect you to die, but if you are pretty... yeah. huh.

Belushi had more talent in his middle finger than anyone prancing about Hollywood today has in their souls.

Being "normal" has nothing to do with it.

How dare you.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:58 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by edmcbride at 7:00 PM on January 22, 2008


Excellent essay on Heath's career and untimely passing from SF Chronicle movie critic Mick LaSalle.

Damn, he was skilled at his craft. R.I.P.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:02 PM on January 22, 2008


Aw. I remember seeing the Dark Knight trailer and thinking, man, whoever that actor is (I just didn't recognize him as Heath), he's managed to find a freakish and wonderful take on the joker. And then someone mentioned that it was Heath and I was like, oh man, Ledger is at the start of an amazing career.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:04 PM on January 22, 2008


I work for a living and it looks like stuff happened.
posted by Senator at 7:05 PM on January 22, 2008


posted by ZachsMind So if you're fat, people expect you to die, but if you are pretty... yeah. huh . . . How dare you.

Cool Papa Bell didn't say anything about being fat or pretty, Zach.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:06 PM on January 22, 2008


Belushi had more talent in his middle finger than anyone prancing about Hollywood today has in their souls.

Jim or John?

Jim is awsome as a quirky-play-by-his-own-rules cop who has to team up with a police dog to bring down Mr Big as well as get the girl.

He also plays an asshole who cashed in on his brother's fame.

posted by mattoxic at 7:08 PM on January 22, 2008


So sad.

Just saw I'm Not There on Friday. He was great in it.

Not to mention that I've watched The Dark Knight trailer 100 times already...
posted by puritycontrol at 7:12 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 7:13 PM on January 22, 2008


I'd never given much thought to Heath Ledger before, but now that I'm thinking over what I've seen of him, I think that's probably to his credit. He didn't form a cult of personality around himself, though he probably could have. He married a famous actress who co-starred with him in his most celebrated and high-profile role, and later split up wit her after having a child, and yet the only time he (and she) used their celebrity to make hay and get headlines was for a cause in their community that they cared about deeply. This, combined with his massive talent, meant that whenever I'd see him in something, I wouldn't see Heath Ledger, but whatever character he was embodying from the very depths of it's being.

We mention A Knight's Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You, two movies that should've sucked royally, and yet were actually pretty good, almost entirely because of Ledger's dedication to the material and his ability to elevate it.

His portrayal of Ennis in Brokeback Mountain is one of the best in decades. The best test of an Actor's ability is how they work without much to say. Reactions, body language and the like show what they're truly capable of. Ledger showed himself to be the tops at that, while barely even changing his expression, letting the full array of desires and self-hatred and anguish play through a outwardly inert visage. We can say that acting isn't serious work, but hopefully we can at least respect someone who treats it as such without the normal James Lipton pretensions about it.

I think there's something deeply perverse about responding to public grief over a lost public figure and saying, "Boo, there's no reason to care, you didn't even know him!" but I understand the repulsion towards treating celebrities as if they were close friends or family as well. Somewhat strangely, I'm looking at the two sides from the perspective of a Cracked article and a South Park episode, but whatever.

I think we latch onto celebrity so much more nowadays because we have more contact with it in many ways than we do with the people in our own lives - strangers, coworkers, even friends and family, and there's something very wrong about that. Still, as Kyle says, just because something isn't real doesn't mean it can't touch us or affect our lives. We didn't need to know Heath Ledger personally to have been moved by his performances or hell, even just affected by the experience of seeing one of his movies. It's been said above that mourning is a selfish activity, and I suppose it is, because it is really about dealing with our own mortality and reassessing how to live our lives with the absence of another. However, I find it just as selfish to discount the mourning over a celebrity because you can't imagine that they were thinking of you at their moment of death.

Mourning over someone lost doesn't require a defense or explanation, and respecting the dead is not dependent on questioning why we should care.

.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:17 PM on January 22, 2008 [14 favorites]


So if you're fat, people expect you to die, but if you are pretty... yeah. huh.

Oh, give me a break, that's not what he meant. It's about the fact that it's sad when anyone dies, but it's more shocking when someone dies when it wasn't known they were flirting with danger. Everybody knew that Farley and Belushi were doing things that could and probably would kill them someday, but it wasn't public knowledge with Ledger. Everyone assumed his life was fine and dandy, because we didn't have any evidence that it wasn't.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:18 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


I live in his old neighborhood too, and always saw him at the coffee shop in the morning. He was unfailingly cheerful and sweet. Argh, so sad!
posted by sweetkid at 7:18 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by emperor.seamus at 7:24 PM on January 22, 2008


For a guy you didn't even know existed until a few hours ago, ZachsMind, you sure are spending a lot of time in this thread trying to take him down a notch. Why is that?
posted by turaho at 7:28 PM on January 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


.
posted by wastelands at 7:28 PM on January 22, 2008


Celebrity deaths don't normally affect me, but when I heard the news on NPR on my drive home this morning, affected is exactly what I felt. So sad.

.
posted by pmbuko at 7:29 PM on January 22, 2008


I wish they would do the Oscars for real now so they can add him to the tear-inducing dearly departed montage. The only part of those shows I really like.
posted by sweetkid at 7:30 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


i'm stunned. i'm not enough of a cineaste to have an opinion about his filmography, but he seemed like such a young, vital guy.
posted by bruce at 7:35 PM on January 22, 2008


Zachsmind, if i were you, I'd put the cap back on the vodka and go to bed now. Perhaps you intend your comments here in this thread to be daring and insightful, but they're coming across as mean and dull.
posted by applemeat at 7:39 PM on January 22, 2008


I think Heath Ledger could turn out to have been Hitler makes a baby with Nico, Keith Moon, River Phoenix, Pol Pot, Stalin and Idi Amin and he overdosed on Unicorns souls, Cancer Patients Ungranted Last Wishes and Aborted Babies Potential Futures and Zach's Mind would still come off as an attention seeking blowhard and pathetic troll in this thread. as frankly he comes off in most others, you seem smart zach, why not check in with a psych doc on some meds or something.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:41 PM on January 22, 2008


There's this strange disconnect between a writer's words on the page and the way they sound coming out of someone's mouth. Even when it's not your work, you start to notice the tics, the little lies- the actorness in a performance. It takes a lot of the pleasure out of going to the movies, honestly.

I always believed Heath Ledger. No matter the role, even in a generally silly movie like A Knight's Tale, I absolutely believed in who he was for that moment. When he was shut out of the Oscars for Brokeback Mountain, I was disappointed- but I thought- he's young, he's incredibly talented, his time will come.

And now it won't. And that just breaks my heart.
posted by headspace at 7:42 PM on January 22, 2008


In this YouTube video Heath Ledger talking about his role as The Joker, that he enjoyed it, had fun playing an empathyless sociopathic clown. But also he seems to fidget a lot, be intensely uncomfortable in his skin, like wanting to race out of there. Strange to see somebody so vital and then in a body bag. It makes life all the more mysterious, that our bodies contain this amazing gift -and burden- of our lives.

Navelgazer, your comment has me thinking how any of us know anybody. Or value a person in one's life. huh.

Do I mourn a person less because of not knowing the person with more than one sense? Do I love anyone less because I speak to them on the phone and don't see them? Or only email them and don't hear them? Or only read their books and don't have dinner with them? Or only listen to their music, enjoy their art and not touch them? Connecting with others can be done in any number of ways.

It seems like a one way connection but the artist, actor, musician, poet, singer has offered something of themselves and I may connect with that offering. They don't see how I've connected with them but I did. And it can have a tremendous impact on my life, sometimes even greater than people I do touch or talk with in person. I've spent more time in the company of Heath Ledger in his movies than a whole bunch of relatives I can think of, been more positively moved as well, felt grateful for what he offered. And I've carried the memory of his acting in Brokeback with me since I saw it a couple of years ago.

I don't know you, don't know what you look like, haven't touched you, don't know the sound of your voice but my words will connect with you, as yours did with me.

It makes sense to me to mourn an artist, singer, actor, writer whose creation has becomes a part of my life, my thoughtstream, memory, enjoyment of the world. They may not be family and I may not have touched them, they may not have known I existed, but I don't think that's a requirement for feeling both the loss and feeling tenderly for those more directly connected with the person who died.

Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your comment.
posted by nickyskye at 7:53 PM on January 22, 2008 [17 favorites]


Another needless MTv Crib-death.
My condolences to his fans friends and family, I'll be here all week.
Try the veal and remember to tip your waitors!
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:56 PM on January 22, 2008


This news makes me sad.
And so do some of the comments on here.
I’ll take solace in this, though:
People who do great things leave behind a legacy and the history books to remember them. The brine of opportunistic trolls who scream from behind a keyboard will typically be remembered for absolutely nothing.

.
posted by tiger yang at 7:57 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


If it's my duty to cut reasonably talented but troubled people down to size posthumously then feel free to write me up a poor performance review.

Mitch Hedberg. Wow.

I saw him live about three months before his death and I can say the only 'wow' I had about it was that it took 12 weeks. Very sad; he was so fucked that he had trouble keeping up his act, which revolved around a disjointed and random delivery.

As far as the NYT thing, don't be remotely shocked. They do that all the time, and it's an embarrassment. They wrote something that touched on the actions of my darling girlfriend's employer some months ago. They called bullshit on it in the comments and, rather than approving the comment, contacted them and expanded the story by several paragraphs, including quotes as if the 'interview' had been a part of the original story.

So the story goes from having an unfounded, unverified assertion from a book author shilling his shit to suddenly having four paragraphs of response in it - as if they put the basic effort into calling and talking to the people being talked about in the article. Four hours later. With no indication it ever appeared in any other form. The fact that they don't demand better of themselves is amazing.
posted by phearlez at 8:00 PM on January 22, 2008


Sleep well man, and sleep peacefully.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 PM on January 22, 2008


People who do great things leave behind a legacy and the history books to remember them.

Some people who do great things are remembered by history. Other people who do great things are unknown and unremembered, but that makes them no less great. Which is not at all to demean those who are great and remembered, but I find the idea that one must be remembered to be great utterly absurd.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:03 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Celebrity deaths don't normally affect me, but when I heard the news on NPR on my drive home this morning, affected is exactly what I felt. So sad.


. Exactly.

I'm not sure if I'm just grateful for his sensitive portrayal of a gay man, or sad because his persona touched hard-hearted little old me. If nothing else, Ledger tried to draw attention to his work as an actor, not on himself as a star. There are actors I admire more, but there was something about his lack of pretension that really got to me. I'm surprised that I'm still following this thread. But i am.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:09 PM on January 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


So if you're fat, people expect you to die, but if you are pretty... yeah. huh.

No. I'll explain. Belushi and Farley had well-documented longterm substance abuse problems. Someone posted upthread similarly that it was well known that Brad Renfro had a lot of drug problems. If Amy Winehouse lives out the year, people will say the same thing about her: Talented people, what a fucking shame that they made headlines for drugs instead of their work and managed to poison themselves, but hey, it's not a huge surprise considering how fucked up they were. Heath Ledger, despite having apparently been in rehab, did not have a long public struggle. Any issues with alcohol or pills did not apparently interfere with his work. So, see, his death was more surprising news.
posted by desuetude at 8:15 PM on January 22, 2008


So if you're fat, people expect you to die, but if you are pretty... yeah. huh.

I've never ignored anyone as hard as I'm ignoring ZachsMind right now.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:16 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heath Ledger, despite having apparently been in rehab, did not have a long public struggle. Any issues with alcohol or pills did not apparently interfere with his work. So, see, his death was more surprising news.

so his death is more tragic than those who have had struggles with drugs and depression?

alot of the dots are not true comiserations, simply an easy key stroke

I'll add one though .

shame for a young a guy to die.

on preview, a simple dot is a cop out. add a comment.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:33 PM on January 22, 2008


A few words about a death being ruled a suicide:

I had a dinner with a coroner a few weeks ago and the subject of suicide came up. I asked him why so many deaths that obviously seemed like suicide were ruled "accidental." Apparently, the burden of proof is very very high on suicides. A lot of the reason is that insurance pays on accidents, but not on suicides. If a coroner rules a death a suicide, the family can contest it in court and the coroner's case has to be ironclad to stand.

Gunshot? Not always definitive. Sometimes guns just go off. Sometimes they go off against your head. There almost always has to be extra factors...depression, medical problems, social problems. Same with hanging. Could be a sexual thing. Auto-erotic asphyxiation. I've seen it several times. You'd be surprised.

Overdose? Accident, unless there's a note. And, the note has to be very specific. It literally has to say, "I'm killing myself." The coroner had once lost a case where the letter said, "I'll see you all in Heaven," because the family argued that the individual was very religious and he said stuff like that conversationally all the time.

People accidentally overdose all the time. Especially on sleeping pills. (If one makes me sleep for eight hours, six will let me sleep for 48 hours!) Or, you forget that you've already taken one, so you take another, and another, and another.
posted by ColdChef at 8:34 PM on January 22, 2008 [41 favorites]


uh mate, that really is fucking pushing the boat out for a comment to post.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:37 PM on January 22, 2008


Uh, ok.
posted by ColdChef at 8:39 PM on January 22, 2008


..and it really doesn't contribute anything to the whole thing does it?
posted by Frasermoo at 8:39 PM on January 22, 2008


so his death is more tragic than those who have had struggles with drugs and depression?

Huh? I read it as more surprising.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:41 PM on January 22, 2008


i mean it, it is relevant, but not for here bud.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:41 PM on January 22, 2008


My apologies.
posted by ColdChef at 8:43 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


so his death is more tragic than those who have had struggles with drugs and depression?
Sigh. No. It seems likely that he had struggles with drugs and depression. It's just that we didn't know about it, because unlike a lot of other movie stars, he managed to keep his private life out of the public eye. That makes his death more shocking. It doesn't make his death more tragic.

Ledger's death is not any more tragic than the apparently totally senseless and unnecessary death of any other twenty-eight-year-old guy. What makes his death resonate with people is not that he was rich and famous. It's that being rich and famous didn't save him from a fate that has befallen so many other people, including in a lot of instances people we've cared about. People don't mourn Heath Ledger because he was awesome and lucky. They mourn him because in the end all his good fortune didn't amount to that much. I bet most people would rather not have the good looks, the money, the fancy apartment, the Oscar nomination if it meant getting to see their kids grow up.
posted by craichead at 8:45 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember reading an article in Salon when Robert Downey, Jr. got jailed for failing court-mandated drug tests. The gist of the article was that Hollywood has an easier time accepting a famous actor as a drunk or a drug abuser, but has a much harder time embracing a performer if he or she is frank about having mental health issues. Whether his death objectively qualifies as a suicide, I despair whether the same mentality was at work in Heath Ledger's death.

.
posted by jonp72 at 8:48 PM on January 22, 2008


What the hell, FraserMoo, were you talking to ColdChef? If so, you're wrong and boring, and he was right and interesting. Guess who won the fight.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:54 PM on January 22, 2008 [15 favorites]


Actually, frasermoo, if your comment was aimed at ColdChef, I found his contribution quite informative, since I'd just been wondering how easy it is to overdose on sleeping pills. Plus, any comment that starts, "I had dinner with a coroner ..." is a keeper in my book. If you were talking to someone else there, please ignore this.

Also, I was saddened by this news. Ledger's performance in Brokeback Mountain touched me, like it touched millions of other people. Regardless of whether it is seemly to mourn the passing of someone you don't know in real life, for the two hours or so that I sat in that movie theater watching him, I felt like I did know him, even if only as the character he played, and so I mourn his passing. No matter how he died, it's a shame, since he was talented, and he entertained those of us who watched his movies.
posted by lassie at 8:55 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


This thread has already generated a competitive number of comments to the initial post documenting 9-11. Think about that. Proof.Overview.
posted by rhizome23 at 9:04 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, so trying to call out ColdChef on his insightful contributions to this thread, particularly since ColdChef is an undertaker by trade -- and, it bears mentioning, just generally beloved by most MeFites anyway? Uncalled for.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:12 PM on January 22, 2008


Not to mention that most of the crap that's going on in this thread is a result of speculation that the overdose was deliberate. Coldchef's comment was informative, and, like grabbings said, insightful, especially compared to a lot of the noise in here.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:18 PM on January 22, 2008


Fuck. I have a terrible memory for actors, but he always impressed me. I'd hoped this wasn't true when I first heard. I'm sad to learn it is.

.
posted by Tehanu at 9:25 PM on January 22, 2008


somebody sent me an IM that just said "I wonder if he broke his back. too soon?" I had to sent back a "???" reply. then, the same link used in this post was sent back to me. All I could think was "damn." I actually had to build up the courage to tell my wife. we were both fans. my first exposure was probably "10 things" We both liked it quite a bit. great chemistry. now, i thought his short but powerful performance in "Monster" was great. just a sad story whether it was on purpose or not.
posted by pmalek at 9:25 PM on January 22, 2008


This thread has already generated a competitive number of comments to the initial post documenting 9-11. Think about that.

At the time of commenting, though, it's still 104 behind Steve Irwin's death.

I'd just been wondering how easy it is to overdose on sleeping pills

Not an objective answer, but if you're talking about accidental overdoses, the risks rise significantly (as with ODs from other kinds of downers) if alcohol is involved. A few stiff drinks, followed by a thoughtless "hey, I'm exhausted & really need to sleep well tonight - might take six instead of two", combined with the depressive effects of the alcohol, and off you go.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:26 PM on January 22, 2008


.



SPOILERISH




I loved the last scene of Brokeback Mountain (which wasn't in the original story) where he came through and did the right thing for someone he deeply loved.
posted by brujita at 9:32 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


His character.
posted by brujita at 9:32 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you lay off ColdChef, dude!
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:33 PM on January 22, 2008


FYI, all Carol Burnett is still alive (at least according to my frantic Wikipedia search).

Whew! You, too?
posted by humannaire at 9:33 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


This thread has already generated a competitive number of comments to the initial post documenting 9-11. Think about that. Proof.

There's a full 100 posts less in this thread as I type this response. Out of nearly 500 in that 9/11 thread, that's a considerable percentage difference.

One suspects there's a heap more members of MetaFilter now than there was six years ago.
posted by crossoverman at 9:39 PM on January 22, 2008


Heath Ledger broke my heart in Monster's Ball and Brokeback Mountain. Now it's happened again.

What a mess.
posted by interiority at 9:42 PM on January 22, 2008


Thanks for the information, ColdChef. I never know what to think about the speculations of drug abuse and suicide that seem to immediately become part of the reports of celebrity deaths. So the information does help.
posted by Tehanu at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2008


.

I too have no idea who he was. But I know Brokeback Mountain touched a lot of people and that's too young to die and too sad a way to do it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


ColdChef, thanks for the info. I had a texting convo earlier about the ability to od on sleeping pills. Glad you weighed in.
posted by pearlybob at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2008


He married a famous actress who co-starred with him in his most celebrated and high-profile role...

Actually, they never did get married.

/pendant/
posted by ericb at 10:13 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 10:17 PM on January 22, 2008


Such a sad, sad shame, all that talent and potential wasted. You know he was loved when even the hipsters running the local movie rent house have 10 Things I Hate About You playing tonight on the store's TV screen. He will be missed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 PM on January 22, 2008


The reports stated there were both prescription sleeping pills and over the counter. As well as anti-depressants. Ambien was mentioned. I was curious about how many Ambien might constitute an overdose.

Individuals have fully recovered from Ambien overdoses up to 400 mg (40 times the maximum recommended dose).

This surprised me:
Federal health officials warned that all prescription sleeping pills may sometimes cause sleep-driving. People taking such drugs as Ambien have reported getting up in the middle of the night and going for a drive, with no recollection of doing so.
posted by nickyskye at 10:41 PM on January 22, 2008


All you people who have only seen Brokeback Mountain and A Knight's Tale: at the very least, go rent Candy.

I've lived with junkies. Heath Ledger's junkie is absolutely spot on.

It's a great pity he won't be making any more films. He was good.
posted by flabdablet at 10:55 PM on January 22, 2008


nickyskye -- erratic behavior while taking Ambien has been noted and of concern in the past few years.
Ambien May Prompt Sleep-Eating.

Concern Over Ambien And Driving.

Study Links Ambien Use to Unconscious Food Forays.

FDA Says Pills Can Cause 'Sleep-Driving'.
A notable example is that of Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
Rep. Kennedy Crashes Car Near Capitol.

posted by ericb at 10:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rep. Kennedy Crashes Car Near Capitol.

That could be genetic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 PM on January 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


I think it is unfortunate anytime a young person dies. And doubly so when that young person is a parent of a small child.

It seems to me that being rich and famous greatly increases one's odds of an untimely death.

Fame should be feared, not sought.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:13 PM on January 22, 2008


It seems to me that being rich and famous greatly increases one's odds of an untimely death.

Perhaps it simply increases the likelihood that people who don't personally know you will hear of your untimely death.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:18 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chalk me up as another person who doesn't follow celebrity culture but was still really shocked and dismayed to hear this. Of course, leaving behind a young daughter and his family in such a seemingly senseless way is the real tragedy, and one that happens all too often to 'real people' as well, but Ledger was one of the few film actors I found really interesting - the comparison to Johnny Depp is spot-on, I think - and despite amazing work in BBM and Monster's Ball, he still hadn't reached his full potential. Damn.
.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:20 PM on January 22, 2008


.
posted by MetaMan at 11:53 PM on January 22, 2008


Just posting to say that ZachsMind sucks.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 12:00 AM on January 23, 2008 [10 favorites]


pedant.

/pedant

This news must have broke just as I was winding up for the day, because in my random surfing (and MeFi refreshing) on Tuesday, I totally missed it. Heard about it from my mom on the way home, who gave me the play-by-play as she watched (sigh) Fox News.

So sad for his family. I hope it truly was accidental.
posted by emelenjr at 12:00 AM on January 23, 2008


.

And a . from the kittehs as well.
posted by lodev at 12:07 AM on January 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


"If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice."

.
posted by nthdegx at 12:11 AM on January 23, 2008


Sometimes I think we need a flag for crazy. Speaking of which, the westboro baptist church is planning on picketing Ledger's funeral because of his role in Brokeback. Not going to link to their site, but the announcement is on their front page. Hope he's laid to rest in Australia and that these nuts can't get near his family, sheez.

.
posted by zarah at 12:40 AM on January 23, 2008


Why so serious?
posted by Curry at 12:55 AM on January 23, 2008


Large chunks of this thread make Baby Muhammad cry.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:10 AM on January 23, 2008


396 comments for someone that plays make-believe?
Ick.
posted by vapidave at 1:15 AM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by mattr at 1:18 AM on January 23, 2008


And a . from the kittehs as well.

I was doing fine until you posted the gorram lolcats. Jesus this sucks.
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:20 AM on January 23, 2008


To those wondering "why", I can only offer speculation. I haven't read all the hundreds of comments, maybe I repeat someone else.

A good actor becomes his role. This sets that actor on an emotional roller coaster. This is why so many crack under the strain. Perhaps why especially the younger ones crack. The actor enters the role (And it is certainly said to be the case for Heath), lives the role. But the role acquires a life of its own, and who knows where that leads?

The stories of temperamental stars are as old as Hollywood. Consider, that's why some get so much work, yet always play the same character, just different names and pictures. They aren't acting that much. Then there are those that take on other roles, and really act.

Good acting is, in some ways, deliberate insanity. Why drugs? What would you expect of someone who can't shake off a role, and knows they are not their self? If not to seek a return of selfdom, then perhaps simply to seek oblivion, meaning it to be temporary.

Heath Ledger is dead, but I wonder, was it Heath Ledger who died, or someone else, perhaps the insane Joker? Maybe we'll know, maybe not.
posted by Goofyy at 1:29 AM on January 23, 2008


rhizome23, congratulations on your successful audition for weird.

I hate the way the media in Oz try to syphon the blood out of Aussie actors (actually, anyone that's media-worthy that manages something notable offshore) who become successful in major films. It's all "king of Hollywood" and "toast of NYC" or some other snip of aggrandising fawnication with pap bites from school mates and exes to sheet home all responsibility for this awesomeness to vegemite and beach culture. All served with up a generous helping of moral imperative to worship at the foot of the Aussie "icons" or "heroes" or some other pedestrian tabloidesque hypberbole.
[I'm speaking here of the living, breathing people - gawd only knows what sort of longlasting infusion of gossip and maudlin indulgences will be foisted on us all by the faux newsfotaintment industry now that the poor bastard has passed on]

I hate it because it make it easy to become cynical and dismissive and derisive of people who do actually have talent and are able to touch a heart-string or three in an artistic endeavour. So I'm glad I managed to sidestep the local hype and my normal reaction this time and see a few of Ledger's films. He seems like he had a broad emotional range that he could tap into and came across a fairly down to earth sort of guy. I'm sorry for his family (who gave a very brief on camera statement from Perth a little while ago) and particularly his daughter. Thanks mate.
posted by peacay at 1:37 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I notice that people are also very interested in Keith Ledger at the moment, whoever he is.
posted by nthdegx at 3:01 AM on January 23, 2008


Ledger's obituary from BBC.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:22 AM on January 23, 2008


.
Brokbak Kitteh wishes he cud kwit u.

posted by DenOfSizer at 3:50 AM on January 23, 2008


Mark me down as stunned and saddened by his death. He was too young to die, he was an excellent actor (Two Hands would be a fantastic film if they edited out the silly ghost brother bit and his performance in Candy was amazing), and there's a wee girl who's only going to know her daddy through pictures and movies and other people's opinions.

And you know what? I'm a bit of a morbid bitch so sometimes I like to read the death notices and 'in memoriam' bits in the paper, and I can get teary about them sometimes too. 99.9% of those people weren't close, personal friends either. Still sad when someone carks it way, way too early.
posted by h00py at 4:05 AM on January 23, 2008


You know he was loved when even the hipsters running the local movie rent house have 10 Things I Hate About You playing tonight on the store's TV screen.

I realize that it was only a teen comedy (despite its Shakespearian bent), but had it ever come to pass before that such a talented and energetic cast been set up with such terrible, terrible writing? I mean, I enjoy watching it because the cast sells it so well, but some of the dialogue is excruciatingly bad.
posted by psmealey at 4:21 AM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by RokkitNite at 4:23 AM on January 23, 2008


I've never been a big celebrity follower but I couldn't believe this when my girlfriend told me last night. He's so young and had always seemed grounded and ok...at least, he was never one of the celebrities I'd heard about being surrounded by drama and legal issues. Nthing the sentiment that he was fantastic in [i]Brokeback[/i]. I can't wait for [i]Batman[/i] to come out as I've been looking forward to his performance.

Regarding people being cocks in memorial threads: I, too, have been shocked and amazed at the amount of attention certain celebrities and their associated deaths have gotten in the past. But I don't think it's wrong to mourn the loss of an actor (by whatever means) any more than it is wrong to mourn the loss of a painting to a vandal, or a statue to a hammer, or a building to a fire. We all seek relaxation and quality entertainment in our own ways, and mourning a lost source is a natural reaction. It's a shame that some people's choice for quality entertainment is shitting on other people's heads.
posted by m0nm0n at 4:25 AM on January 23, 2008


Damn UBB code!
posted by m0nm0n at 4:25 AM on January 23, 2008


his father says he was selfish.
posted by gman at 4:27 AM on January 23, 2008


Man, and I loved Roar. Never saw any of his other work.
posted by Eideteker at 4:31 AM on January 23, 2008


his father says he was selfish... 39 seconds in

I believe he said 'unselfish' and you heard 'a selfish.'
posted by farishta at 4:51 AM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by snap_dragon at 5:27 AM on January 23, 2008


his father says he was selfish.

Wow, taking trolling to a whole new level—not content to simply insist on how little you care, like the average troll, you feel the need to shit on his grieving father. Way to go. Do us a favor and flame out soon, OK?
posted by languagehat at 5:33 AM on January 23, 2008


Jeebus christ, betwen this gman stuff and the ZachsMind stuff and assorted others, this thread is a frikkin disaster. What is it about this poor fellow's death that's brought out so many jerky comments? The mind boggles.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:47 AM on January 23, 2008


I just saw this and think that it encapsulates how I feel about this perfectly.

We now return to your regularly scheduled troll feeding.
posted by ND¢ at 6:29 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


so his death is more tragic than those who have had struggles with drugs and depression?

alot of the dots are not true comiserations, simply an easy key stroke

I'll add one though .

shame for a young a guy to die.

on preview, a simple dot is a cop out. add a comment.


I didn't say "more tragic." I said "more surprising."

If this is your idea of a substantive comment, please consider sticking to dots.
posted by desuetude at 6:31 AM on January 23, 2008


.......
posted by cass at 6:33 AM on January 23, 2008


.

the poor boy
posted by spinturtle at 6:44 AM on January 23, 2008


Circle jerk? Do you really think that people are sad because other people said that they were sad? I'm sad because an actor that I thought a great deal of died young. I commented in this thread because this is my favourite website and this post was on it. Why do you think that people commenting in this thread think that his death is worse than anyone else's? As I mentioned above, I'm sad about non-famous people's deaths all the time, particularly if they've died young. Why should the fact that Heath Ledger was famous make his death worthy of ridicule?
posted by h00py at 6:48 AM on January 23, 2008


To the foot-stompers in this thread wondering what makes him so special and why we aren't paying more attention to you, I suggest you go out and do something public, or important, or better yet, both. Then perhaps---hopefully many moons from now---your eventual demise will be mentioned on Metafilter. When that happens, you can either tally up your score or you can accept the fact that when people gather to publicly mourn the death of someone famous, it isn't as though the deceased has unfairly won some cosmic competition. It's just that they were a public/important figure and that makes it a public/important event.

Like many have said in this thread, I am surprised how sad I am to hear this news. He was talented and I happened to think he was goddamn beautiful. My sympathies to his family.

.
posted by juliplease at 6:57 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just saw this and think that it encapsulates how I feel about this perfectly.

Best Week Ever is moralizing about our celebrity-obsessed culture? Has a blacker pot ever called out a kettle?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:02 AM on January 23, 2008


i think you're sad because, well, you're a sad individual conformist.

As opposed to the photo on your profile page, which makes it clear you're an edgy, Devil-May-Care firebrand and a complete original. Life snuffed out when it's young always stirs peoples' emotions; even if they didn't know the person directly, it serves as a stand-in for their own fears and their own concerns they might kick off before they've done everything they want to do. It's not hard to figure out. Outside of your immediate circle of sockpuppets, I can't imagine what this conversational tack might net you.
posted by yerfatma at 7:07 AM on January 23, 2008


Well, strange as it may seem to you, mr gman, whether one person commented in here or 5000 it still wouldn't change the fact that I find the idea of an extremely talented person dying before the age of 30 terribly sad indeed. If other people find it sad also well, I empathise with them. If you don't find it sad, bully for you. I just think your argument that ohh boohoo people die everyday and no-one cries for them so anyone who cries for this dude must be a sheep to be pathetic and completely off-topic. As I said above, go make your own thread about all the sad and lonely people dying in the world. I'd probably feel bad for them too. Who cares whether 399 other people agree with me (or you?)
posted by h00py at 7:10 AM on January 23, 2008


This is very sad and a tragic loss.
posted by hexxed at 7:10 AM on January 23, 2008


I flagged a chunk of gman's posts as abusive.

By the way, we post obits of people we never heard of all the time here, from the old lady who'd had no visitors for the last 20 years of her life to kids who came to tragic endings and even, yes, Darwin Award winners that we laugh at.

Sometimes there are posts for famous people that you don't like. Unless it's Henry Kissinger or someone comparably evil, best to just ignore them.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:12 AM on January 23, 2008


I'm sure gman, ZachsMind, et al will be pleased to know that the Westboro Baptist Church has announced they will protest Heath Ledger's funeral.

Thank God that Fred Phelps isn't a sad conformist, eh gman?
posted by turaho at 7:14 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm confused - was it ever up for debate that people are most impacted by the death of someone close to them, less so for folks who they don't know but know of, or are familiar with, and even less so by the death of complete strangers?

I'm not all that worked up over Ledger's death - I enjoyed some of the things he did but he wasn't a favorite actor of mine. I'll even cop to the fact that my first thought was "I hope his contribution to the Batman movie is done - the trailers looked good and he looked good in them." But that's no reason to be overtly nasty to people who are saddened they won't get to enjoy any new contributions from him to the world, however little you might care about them. What's the point of that?

If you, I, and two of your high school buddies were out for a drink and one of them said to you "hey, you remember Jim, the quarterback on our high school team? He got hit by a car!" would it be appropriate for me to castigate you for expressing any sadness at all? "What do you care? You didn't really know him! Plenty of other people died in car wrecks the same day! Why don't you talk about THEM?"

Because we didn't know them, or even know of them. So we talk about the people who we have in common, either by mutual knowledge or reputation, because mortality is one of the things we all share and to some extent fear. Talking about them doesn't lessen those we do not talk about because we are not aware of them, and not going out of our way to attack those who never harmed us doesn't deify them. All it does is allow us to take some comfort in the world where we might be next and deal with our pain in living in a condition where the things we like are inevitably taken from us, whether they be lovers, mothers, actors, painters, musicians, or the person who always smiles then they sell us a bagel.
posted by phearlez at 7:16 AM on January 23, 2008 [17 favorites]


i think you're sad because, well, you're a sad individual conformist.

What's sad is desperately trying to call attention to yourself in an obit thread by generally being a disagreeable asshole. Look, either MeTa it if you don't like it, or move on to the next thread.
posted by psmealey at 7:17 AM on January 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


yeah, MeTa it and flame out plz. jerk.

Heath Ledger > gman
posted by exlotuseater at 7:24 AM on January 23, 2008


Shocking and sad.

Yes, obviously, anyone dying young is sad, and people die literally all the time. But mourning the loss of an actor or celebrity doesn't belittle other deaths. It just acknowledges that we humans are gregarious, social animals, whose technology has allowed us to 'know' some people that we don't know. Some people are 'known' by millions of people. Heath Ledger was one of them. Acting, even in Hollywood, is an artistic pursuit. It is intended to touch your emotions.

I have a common emotional experience with many of the people in this thread, and millions of other people worldwide, because we felt similar things while watching Brokeback Mountain, or A Knight's Tale, or whatever. That commonality of experience is pretty much our culture. It's not universal, but it is one of many threads that makes up who and what being alive, here, now feels like. His untimely death hijacks that network, and sends across a different signal.

I'm not even a fan of Heath Ledger, particularly, and this phenomenon is not specific to him. But he is a poignant example because he was quietly good, not obviously crazy or self destructive, and so very young.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:25 AM on January 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I took it to MeTa. As I tried to make clear there, I don't think we need to shy away from speaking ill about the dead, but having three or four people post basically the same comment ("WHY DO YOU GUYS CARE") and then engage in the SAME discussion FOUR times in the body of a thread just seems sort of ridiculous. Maybe you guys can get together to elect a representative who will post once about how much we shouldn't care.
posted by 235w103 at 7:27 AM on January 23, 2008


Jesus christ. gman, be a mensch and take it to that metatalk thread. Or just cool off in general. But don't keep this up.

I know these things are touchy, and I'm not about to suggest that obit threads should be free from negative opinions, but there's been a surprising amount of antagonistic baiting in this one. Staking your right to state your opinion on opinions so badly and baldly expressed not just toward some dead guy but your fellow mefites is pretty much not the way to make this place work. That goes in both directions.

Maybe let's do the talking-about-Heath stuff here and the yelling-at-each-other thing in Metatalk.
posted by cortex at 7:47 AM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by gman at 7:57 AM on January 23, 2008


Talented young man....a very touching performance in Brokeback Mountain.

So very young.

.
posted by darkstar at 8:10 AM on January 23, 2008


The Prozac or anti-depressant he needed, if truly a suicide, might sadly have taken a bit off his acting. I wonder if he knew that and cared more about his craft?

Yes, but if he'd taken the Prozac or antidepressant he might actually be ALIVE to work on his craft. I'm speculating, of course, but I do believe it is very difficult to accidentally overdose on Ambien. As others have said, the likelihood increases if it's taken in conjunction with alcohol or another medication. In that case, it may have been accidental.

I thought he was wonderful in "Brokeback Mountain".
posted by Evangeline at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2008


It seems to me that being rich and famous greatly increases one's odds of an untimely death.

Perhaps it simply increases the likelihood that people who don't personally know you will hear of your untimely death.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:18 AM on January 23


What I mean is that the pool of young famous actors and actresses is relatively small, maybe what, 2000 if you are very generous with the word "famous"?

And, it seems an unusual number, given the size of the pool, meet untimely ends.

If you had a town of 2000 people and had 2 dozen od's and suicides a year, I think it would certainly raise eyebrows.

And for some reason, it seems that other means of death are unheard of. There certainly seem to be more "regular joes" dying in car wrecks and of sudden illnesses/diseases than famous people, even in percentage terms.

But, "seems like" is not a valid statistical method, I realize.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:39 AM on January 23, 2008


The Prozac or anti-depressant he needed, if truly a suicide, might sadly have taken a bit off his acting.

Awesome. Another ill-informed comment about both depression and anti-depressant medication. Can we close the thread now?
posted by psmealey at 8:50 AM on January 23, 2008


Yes, please. Good lord.
posted by agregoli at 8:58 AM on January 23, 2008


Wow, I feel bad for those in this thread who lack the sensitivity and compassion to not only mourn the death of a young man who entertained and brought joy to so many through his art, but to feel it's socially acceptable to make those who are saddened by his death feel worse about their own emotions. Did you folks get raised by wolves? How can you lack simple empathy for your fellow man? I seriously wonder if you have any real friends at all.

Back to topic, I am deeply saddened by Heath's death both for the lack of future performances by him (selfish) and for the loss of a father for his daughter (unselfish). I was eating at Nobu in SoHo a year or so ago with about 5 women. He was eating at the table next to us. I've never felt more invisible in my life. And for a celebrity having his dinner interrupted by a nervous gaggle of ladies staring, it's hard to find any as gracious and kind as he was about it.

A good man who made alot of people happy is gone. It's fully appropriate to mourn.

.
posted by Dantien at 8:59 AM on January 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Prozac or anti-depressant he needed, if truly a suicide, might sadly have taken a bit off his acting.

Awesome. Another ill-informed comment about both depression and anti-depressant medication. Can we close the thread now?
posted by psmealey at 11:50 AM on January 23 [+] [!]


Well, now, hold on. As a previous consumer of such things as Zoloft, etc. etc. there is some truth to the belief that it "takes the edge off" one's creativity. I certainly experienced it, and from the other creative people I have talked to it isn't an uncommon side effect with some of these meds. Not one that cannot be overcome, but still.

Of course, death puts a complete full stop on creativity, as does severe depression. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

FWIW, the more I read the less this seems like a suicide...an accidental overdose is not that hard to accomplish. Heck, half the time I had a problem remembering if I had taken MY meds or not, and a time or two took either too much or not enough. Now factor in being a little sleepy or a little drunk...also factoring in that alcohol increases the effects of sedatives (something I also know about from my young and stupid days...)
posted by konolia at 9:01 AM on January 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


FWIW, konolia, the NY Times obit says that there were no signs that he was drinking. (I don't actually disagree with your comment, though.)

Did someone contact the readers rep? Interesting that the article in the City Room blog now does disclose that a correction was made regarding the whole "apartment owned by M-K Olsen thing.
posted by desuetude at 9:22 AM on January 23, 2008


This is the one celebrity death in years that's really got me both sad and puzzled. Sad for myself and for the public at large, as well as for his family and daughter. I was so looking forward to the Joker as he portrayed him, who looks to be a deeply disturbed and depraved character. Maybe you can't pull off that kind of performance, which I hear is absolutely amazing, without some darkness in your soul?

Unfortunately, watching any of his work will now always be a little bit tainted by sorrow for his untimely death. It is always a very sad thing to see such talent go away - losing someone who has brought joy to many people, and who we thought would continue doing so for years to come.
posted by gemmy at 10:23 AM on January 23, 2008


He was one of those actors that I really never knew the name of, I only knew him from movies... I would always say Hey isn't that the guy from Knight's tale. I liked him in that. I always wanted to see The brother's grimm. I didn't know he started in that one. Maybe it's time I watched it. Not to be that guy but I never saw Brokeback and don't really care to. It's like Titanic, Cloverfield, and other movies that get hyped up. I don't like hype too much or being told what to see. I'm sure they are awesome movies but I really don't care. Either way sad to see him go. He's my age w/ a young daughter..... wow very very sad.

Mastercheddaar
posted by Mastercheddaar at 11:08 AM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 11:33 AM on January 23, 2008


This thread has already generated a competitive number of comments to the initial post documenting 9-11.
Most of the comments in the 9/11 post were comments, not dots.

posted by kirkaracha at 11:59 AM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2008


Most of the comments in the 9/11 post were comments, not dots.

Most of the comments in this thread aren't dots either.
posted by crossoverman at 12:26 PM on January 23, 2008


Count me in as another one surprised by how hard this hit me. Ledger was an amazing actor and had such a bright future ahead, career-wise. I never knew him personally or even spent that much time thinking about him but I'm near tears here for some reason. I guess I just assumed that he would be around for a good, long while, taking on tough roles that the "pretty boys" wouldn't touch and delivering them brilliantly. R.I.P., Heath. You'll be missed.
posted by LeeJay at 12:42 PM on January 23, 2008


Most of the comments in the 9/11 post were comments, not dots.

Yeah, that was seven years ago, Metafilter was just a smaller place...
posted by delmoi at 1:49 PM on January 23, 2008


I guess I just assumed that he would be around for a good, long while, taking on tough roles that the "pretty boys" wouldn't touch and delivering them brilliantly. R.I.P., Heath. You'll be missed.

He was brave with his choices, resisting being pigeon-holed. He could have done teen comedies for way too long, but he decided to hold out for better roles even if that meant not working for a while. He mixed Hollywood with Australian films, big budget with small artistic fare.

There were a lot of actors approached for Brokeback Mountain that just wouldn't go there. It didn't phase Ledger at all. And he pulled off the greatest performance of his career. Pity the Oscar competition was so strong that year - he deserved all the recognition he got for Ennis Del Mar.

Man, as if it wasn't depressing enough watching Brokeback. Now even moreso...
posted by crossoverman at 2:23 PM on January 23, 2008


.
posted by mediamelt at 2:44 PM on January 23, 2008


Fox News Host John Gibson Mocks ‘Weirdo’ Heath Ledger’s Death: ‘He Found Out How To Quit You’
"Opening his radio show with funeral music, Fox News host John Gibson callously mocked the death of actor Heath Ledger, calling him a 'weirdo' with a 'serious drug problem.'

Playing an audio clip of the iconic quote, 'I wish I knew how to quit you' from Ledger’s gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain [which in 2006 Gibson called 'a gay agenda movie'], Gibson disdainfully quipped, 'Well, he found out how to quit you.' Laughing, Gibson then played another clip from Brokeback Mountain in which Ledger said, 'We’re dead,' followed by his own, mocking 'We’re dead' before playing the clip again. Throughout the course of the show, Gibson continued to bring up Ledger’s death while discussing current events, jokingly claiming that current events may have caused him to commit suicide."
You stay classy, John Gibson.
posted by ericb at 3:41 PM on January 23, 2008


Metro had two stories on the cover today: A big picture of Heath Ledger alongside Stress at work can be a killer.
posted by cillit bang at 4:36 PM on January 23, 2008


Heh. I rewatched "Ten things I hate about you" today. And I couldn't connect Patrick Verona with Heath Ledger. My brain wouldn't process his death. It was sort of... weird.
posted by Phire at 10:18 PM on January 23, 2008


Best Buy cashes in. Another reason not to shop at Best Buy, if you didn't have enough already.
posted by grouse at 3:38 AM on January 24, 2008


I thought John Gibson was killed in the first X-Men movie.
posted by psmealey at 7:31 AM on January 24, 2008


Jesus, I don't know who deserves the bigger punch there: Gibson or Best Buy.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2008


Shit, you should have seen the way Princess Diana sold.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:45 AM on January 24, 2008


Wow, I just came here to link the Westboro Baptist Church announcement (discussed by Pharyngula here) and saw a) that it has already been discussed and b) the Best Buy link. I actually find the Best Buy thing worse than the Westboro picketing. I mean, we all expect Phelps to be loony.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:52 AM on January 24, 2008


The Best Buy callout is kind of reaching isn't it? A lot of people probably did "grieve the only way they know how: By reliving the romantic hijinx that is 10 Things I Hate About You". God forbid they adjust their store layout to match.

(and that looks an awful lot like a pointless can't-help-themselves dig at the second best Julia Stiles movie)
posted by cillit bang at 9:48 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a really top-notch high school romance movie. Digging at it is indeed pitiful. The first thing I wanted to do was watch it, because his performance is so full of life, so exuberant. The singing scene? Sweetest thing ever.

And what's the very best Julia Stiles Movie? (I have a big crush on her.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:54 AM on January 24, 2008


"Many will accuse those mourning Ledger of self-indulgence and ersatz emotionalism. But there is a more generous side to our shock - and, naturally, there is a familiar line ready to express it: any man's death diminishes us, because we are part of mankind."
Sarah Churchwell on our response to the death of a stranger.

And for what it's worth this late in the day, a rather lazy link-dump of The Guardian newspaper's coverage:

"...his striking handsomeness went hand-in-hand with high ambitions as an actor, courage in the roles he took and a fierce intelligence."
David Thomson

"What a desperately sad day for Heath Ledger's friends, family and fans - and that third group includes me."
Peter Bradshaw

The Guardian's obituary
.

On the internet's response.

And...
"The loss of Ledger represents the latest in a series of major production setbacks for the trouble-plagued Gilliam."
The potential effect on Terry Gilliam's new film.

All (and more) here:
http://film.guardian.co.uk/heathledger
posted by 4eyes at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2008


And what's the very best Julia Stiles Movie? (I have a big crush on her.)

I loved her in the very interesting The Business of Strangers, with Stockard Channing.
posted by rtha at 1:48 PM on January 24, 2008


Thanks very much 4eyes .

(Not at all too late for some of us!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2008


And what's the very best Julia Stiles Movie?

"She was dying while I was dancing", duh.

Actually more often than not it's "10 Things I Hate About You" also.
posted by cillit bang at 3:26 PM on January 24, 2008




The best Julia Stiles films are the Bourne movies.

Gibson Defends His Mockery Of Ledger’s Death: ‘No Point In Passing Up A Good Joke’.

When you find a good joke, Gibson, then tell it. Until then, shut the fuck up you despicable, moronic, ugly human being.
posted by crossoverman at 6:03 PM on January 24, 2008


I think he's going to be bigger than Batman in that role.

The Warner Bros. site has put up a picture of him on their Dark Knight's page.

Really sad to see him go so soon, and sudden.
posted by hadjiboy at 9:23 PM on January 25, 2008


Gibson addresses controversy over his comments on death of actor Heath Ledger.

Morning Joe panel pans Gibson's ‘awful joke of an apology’ after his ‘anti-gay tirade’ about Ledger's death:
“On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski described John Gibson's statement in response to the firestorm over remarks he made concerning the death of actor Heath Ledger as ‘an awful, awful joke of an apology,’ and later asserted that it was ‘not an apology.’ After airing Gibson's statement, Joe Scarborough said, ‘What he said was, 'I'm sorry if you were offended. ... I'm sorry if you were offended that I mocked the death of a young man.' ‘Scarborough also asserted that Gibson ‘got caught in an anti-gay tirade.’”
posted by ericb at 3:11 PM on January 26, 2008


Maybe it's the makeup... but Heath's death after playing The Joker keeps making me think of Brandon Lee in The Crow. He died right before the film came out and it made that film much more creepy and poignant.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2008


miss lynnster, Brandon Lee died during the shooting of The Crow while they were filming the scene in which his character died. Far creepier.
posted by grouse at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2008


Well yeah, there was that little fact too.

But The Joker's still gonna be creepy.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:18 PM on January 27, 2008


You've probably seen this in the news, but the toxicology results have been released.

Some drug experts wonder how suicide could be ruled out considering the amount of drugs Ledger consumed.

"He was playing Russian roulette," said Patti Geier, a New York-based psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker.

"I was thinking when I heard (about the findings), 'How do they really know for sure it was accidental? How do they know for sure he wasn't thinking when he took them - I've had enough'."

Prof Gnegy went one step further when told of Geier's "Russian roulette" analogy.

"I think it is more certain than Russian roulette," Prof Gnegy, who specialises in pharmacology, said.

"Russian roulette you may have one bullet out of six.

"When you add all of those drugs together that deck is really stacked."


She did indeed take the analogy one step further, and I, for one, thank God that another technical expert steered clear of creative writing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:51 PM on February 6, 2008


"Mr. Heath Ledger died by acute intoxication of hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, doxylamine".

Vicodin, Valium, Restoril, Xanax, Nyquil.

It looks from that list like he really needed therapy for intense anxiety.
posted by nickyskye at 9:09 PM on February 6, 2008


How do they really know for sure it was accidental?

Well, it seems the merciful thing to speculate.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:55 PM on February 6, 2008


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