January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger – Peace to you my tortured soul……

Posted in celebrity, death at 7:09 am by Kris

Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain” earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan with sleeping pills near his body, the police said.

The police said Mr. Ledger, 28, was found naked on the floor near
the bed in an apartment in SoHo that he had been renting. The chief
police spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the police did not suspect foul
play.

“There was no indication of a disturbance,” he said, adding
that there were no signs that Mr. Ledger had been drinking. Nor were
any illegal drugs found in the loft, which takes up the entire fourth
floor. Neighbors said Mr. Ledger had occupied it for several months.

Police officials said that a bottle of prescription sleeping pills was found
on a nearby night table, but that they did not know whether the pills
had anything to do with Mr. Ledger’s death. Officers who checked the
apartment found other prescription medications in the bathroom. A
spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be
conducted on Wednesday.

Mr. Browne said no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found in the bedroom.

Mr.Ledger had become a familiar figure in his SoHo neighborhood — and
something of a fixture in gossip columns — since moving there after he
broke up with the actress Michelle Williams, who played his wife in “Brokeback Mountain.”

There were reports of hand-holding and lip-locking with various
actresses and models, and sightings at restaurants and cocktail bars.
He had clashed with paparazzi in Australia, but in New York, where
there is no shortage of problem-causing partygoers, “he certainly
wasn’t one of them,” said Paul Sevigny, an owner of the Beatrice Inn, a
West Village club that Mr. Ledger frequented.

“He was really polite and nice,” said Mr. Sevigny.

Thepolice said Mr. Ledger’s body was found after a masseuse arrived at the
apartment at 2:45 p.m. for her regular appointment with Mr. Ledger. A
housekeeper let her in and knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom.
No one answered.

The housekeeper and the masseuse pushed open the
bedroom door and saw Mr. Ledger, unconscious, on the floor. They shook
him but could not revive him, and then called for help, the police
said. The housekeeper told officers that she had heard him snoring in
the bedroom around 12:30 p.m., the police said.

As word of Mr.Ledger’s death began circulating, fans and camera crews converged on
the street outside the apartment, at 421 Broome Street, between Crosby
and Lafayette.

Neighbors said Mr. Ledger was friendly. Julie
McIntosh, a hairstylist at a salon a few doors down the block from the
apartment, said she saw him on the street once or twice a week. She
said she had seen him with his 2-year-old daughter a couple of times.

“He seemed happy,” she said, recalling how she had run into him outside the
salon last month and joked, “When are you going to come in and let me
wash your hair?”

Others in the crowd said their first reaction to word of his death was disbelief. Nicole Vaughan, 24, a law student at New York University,
was in a seminar about Jesus when someone sent her a message about Mr.
Ledger. She checked the Web, then walked to the apartment “because of
the way our generation is; we sort of feel we’re a part of each other’s
lives.”

Vanessa Yuille, 29, a record-company manager who lives in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said her vigil outside the apartment building
was a way of paying tribute to what Mr. Ledger did the night she saw
him in a Williamsburg restaurant last summer. “A guy fell off a
motorcycle in front of the restaurant,” she said, “and it was Heath
Ledger who went to see if the guy was all right.”

More recently, Mr. Ledger had made the rounds in Manhattan.

A cocktail waitress at a downtown hotel bar that regularly draws
celebrities said he showed up one night last week with some friends,
ordered bottled water, as he always did, and stayed for an hour or two.
“He looked fit,” said the waitress, who would give her name only as
Renee for fear of jeopardizing her job. “He looked healthy.”

The Associated Press reported that his father, Kim Ledger, called his death
“tragic, untimely and accidental.” An uncle, Neil Bell, said the family
was taken by surprise. “He was in good spirits and having a wonderful
time on this Terry Gilliam movie,” he said, referring to “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” scheduled for release next year.

Mr. Bell, whom Mr. Ledger once cited as the inspiration for his character
in “Brokeback Mountain,” added: “They were all flying to Vancouver for
a shoot on this movie. Heath flew into New York to go home for a bit.”

Mr. Ledger’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said that she was too upset to talk about Mr. Ledger’s death.

Heathcliff Andrew Ledger was born on April 4, 1979, in Perth, Australia, where a local theater company cast him in “Peter Pan” when he was 10. That role led to parts on children’s television programs, and to the 1992 film “Clowning Around” and the television series “Ship to Shore.”

But the magazine Current Biography said he was also a champion at chess and
go-kart racing as a youngster, and played field hockey until his coach
forced him to choose between that sport and drama.

After appearing in a short-lived Australian television series, he moved to
Los Angeles in 1999. His first Hollywood film was the teenage romantic
comedy “10 Things I Hate About You,” a send-up of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” in which he appeared opposite Julia Stiles.

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