NEW YORK TIMES: The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment building at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, according to the New York City police. Mr. Ledger was 28. At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A in the building for an appointment with Mr. Ledger, the police said. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger unconscious. They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. The police said they did not suspect foul play and said they found pills near body. DEVELOPING…
DAILY MAIL: Industry observers spoke last night of the increasingly ‘unhinged’ way that Ledger has carried himself professionally and personally in recent months. “It’s easy to think an actor is just dressing bizarrely and acting weird on the red carpet to try to drum up some interest in themselves. But a picture is fast emerging, through discussions with his friends and work associates, that Heath has really been very out of it for months…The tragic reality was that he lost his grip on life.” As for Ledger’s trip to rehab, the source said: “It was during his filming of The Dark Knight. Heath’s addiction was really getting in the way of his ability to act. He went to rehab but left fairly quickly, within a number of days.”
It was at the Venice Film Festival in September of last year that Ledger first started displaying signs of being floored by his split with Michelle Williams and it was then that friends noticed a change of behaviour in him. After behaving oddly during a press junket at the festival on the Venice Lido all day on September 3rd, Ledger went alone to a party thrown by Italian designer Alberta Ferretti on a yacht moored off the main city at 10pm. Ledger arrived dressed “as if he was homeless.” said a source. “It looked as if he was if he was trying to make some kind of point. He drifted around the party not talking to anyone for half an hour and then just walked off into the night like a lost soul.” MORE
WIKIPEDIA: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is an upcoming 2009 American fantasy–adventure film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and screenwriter Charles McKeown. The Imaginarium stars Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, and Heath Ledger in a story about the leader of a traveling theater troupe who, through a deal with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations. Production began on the film in London in December 2007 and will move on to Vancouver. The film is slated for a release in 2009. MORE
Though he will forever be remembered for his indelible turn as the haunted, closeted cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, and more recently impersonated Bob Dylan — circa 1970s, bitter, disillusioned and headed for divorce — in I’m Not There, his final role will be The Joker in The Dark Knight, slated for a summer 2008 release.
WASHINGTON POST: Some of Ledger’s movies worked, and many of them did not, but all along, a viewer could sense that he went about the craft with almost too much seriousness, with pain. In almost every interview he downplayed celebrityhood, tried to deny its meaning and place in his life, shrugged the usual serious-actor shrugs — often while lighting his cigarette, creating a mood of nonchalance. Just a couple of years ago he and his pretty girlfriend moved to the pretty part of Brooklyn and had a pretty baby girl. People (the magazine, and actual people) followed them everywhere. They broke up, and it seemed like a shame, though what sort of shame you can never quite say: Ours? Theirs? MORE