The Cinematic Life and Early Death of Heath Ledger

By at January 22, 2008 | 5:58 pm | Print

For the second time in two weeks, we’re writing an obituary for a young actor. Late this afternoon, CNN reported 28-year-old Heath Ledger was found dead in Manhattan. There is no determined cause of death, but pills were found scattered near the actor’s body.

Heath LedgerWhile some may have shrugged off Brad Renfro’s death since he wasn’t a “star” — an idiotic response — there’s no doubting Heath Ledger’s power and popularity as an actor. He had been a highly visible screen presence and heartthrob since 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You, and earned award nominations for eight different movies. The capper, of course, was a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar nod for his transformative performance in Brokeback Mountain.

Most recently, Ledger took on the daunting task of playing Bob Dylan — along with five others — in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. The cast had recently been awarded The Independent Spirit Awards’ Robert Altman prize.

If drugs did have some part in Ledger’s death, his 2006 role in the Australian drama Candy (below) is especially painful, since he played a heroin addict in love. For that role, Ledger received Best Actor nominations by the Australian Film Institute and the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

Abbie Cornish and Heath Ledger in Candy

Heath Ledger’s successes and stardom will reach incredible new heights posthumously when the highly anticipated Batman update The Dark Knight hits theaters in July, with Ledger as a demented Joker. The actor did have one film in the works, the new Terry Gilliam fantasy The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. It’s unclear whether Ledger completed principal shooting, but I’m sure we’ll hear in the near future.

We’re not here to guess at the guy’s private life, but plenty will. Every gossip show moron will pretend to have known the man because they interviewed him once or twice on a press junket. Shit will get dug up, and it won’t take too long until the media camp out in front of Naomi Watts’ and Michelle Williams’ homes. Just turn the channel.

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  1. Chad, 9 years ago Reply

    You are a true journalist my friend. Thank you for the read.

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