Patterico's Pontifications

1/22/2008

Heath Ledger Dead at 28 (Updated)

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 2:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I give you election news (Thompson is out) and what do you talk about? Heath Ledger’s untimely death:

“The actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan inhabited by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, according to the New York City police. Signs pointed to a suicide or an accidental overdose, police sources said. Mr. Ledger was 28.

At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived the fourth-floor apartment of the building, at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, 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 the bedroom Mr. Ledger was in. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger naked and unconscious on a bed, with pills scattered around his body. They moved his body to the floor and attempted to revive him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities.

The police said they did not suspect foul play. Officials said they believed Ms. Olsen, 21, was in California and that Mr. Ledger had been living in her apartment.”

UPDATE: The NY Times’ article has been updated regarding the ownership of the apartment:

“Police officials initially said that the apartment was owned by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen. They said they believed Ms. Olsen, 21, was in California and that Mr. Ledger had been living in her apartment. *** A representative of Ms. Olsen said this afternoon that the apartment did not belong to the actress. “It is not her apartment,” said Annette Wolf, a publicist for Ms. Olsen. “She does not own the apartment. She has never owned the apartment. She and her sister have an apartment in New York City but they are not in this building.”

Ledger is survived by his wife, actress Michelle Williams (from whom he is separated), and 2-year-old daughter Matilda Rose.

What a tragedy.

— DRJ

40 Responses to “Heath Ledger Dead at 28 (Updated)”

  1. Apparently, he can quit you.

    RIP, dude. Fame and adoration just aren’t enough, are they?

    Pablo (99243e)

  2. Sad, he was one of the better young actors.

    By the way, Michelle Williams wasn’t his wife, they were engaged for awhile.

    [Thanks for the correction, Aplomb, and I’ll fix it. Silly me. I assumed they were married when the reports said they had separated. — DRJ]

    Aplomb (8a6a51)

  3. I loved A Knight’s Tale. Loved it. And I always enjoyed him, especially since he never sold out to the teenie-bopper movies after 10 Things I Hate About You. This is sad.

    JD (fc7319)

  4. Sad. Age 28!

    Patricia (f56a97)

  5. Far too young to die.

    Fame and adoration just aren’t enough, are they?
    Comment by Pablo — 1/22/2008 @ 3:22 pm

    You got that right.

    Of course “we all die alone,” even when surrounded by family and friends. Still, there’s something especially lonely about entering eternity from a room in which you’ve passed out, naked, surrounded by pills, the apparent architect of your own demise.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  6. Fame is a cruel companion!

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  7. I blame Bush.

    Al Maviva (89d0b6)

  8. Whenever someone of decent repute in show business dies “before his/her time,” they are spoken of in terms they doubtless more glowing than if they had lasted long enough to experience the normal ups and downs common to the profession.

    Am I the only one who has asked, for instance, what would Elvis Presley’s career be like had he lasted longer than his second comeback? Would he have, like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, tried to stay on the outer edge of hipness by doing an album filled with those gawdawful duets with younger and infinitely less-talented artists? Would Jimi Hendrix still be as dazzling and innovative in his old age as has the seemingly immortal Les Paul, or would he be a slower, arthritic shell of himself?

    Had he walked away from his fatal crash with scratches, would James Dean have been cemented as a towering figure of the silver screen, and if so, would he in his later years devolve into a reclusive parody of himself, as did Marlon Brando and Orson Welles? Would he do commercials for pain relievers as did John Wayne? Would Jayne Mansfield have done ads urging women to ask their doctors about remedies for sufferers of osteoperosis (Sally Field) or menopause (Lauren Hutton)? Perhaps denture cream (Martha Raye, Florence Henderson, who insists she’s still got all of her own teeth) or adult diapers (June Allyson)?

    On the other hand, who knows? Perhaps if that plane hadn’t crashed that fateful February night, J.P. Richardson — bka “The Big Bopper” — may eventually have changed the course of music as we knew it. But the way things worked out, he is famous for being The Other Guy On That Plane, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens being the ones who became instant legends.

    “Bye bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee but…” You know the rest.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  9. Good God Almighty: This sure shows where the MSP is. Someone who has accomplished “nothing” dies and he is the lede in every possible outlet. Why? Because it is sad? NO. although it certainly is. It is because he was , in fiction, one of their annointed, and thus worth a thousand lines of remorse. How sad. Reality need not intervene.

    Ahab (07592d)

  10. I totally enjoyed A Knights Tale, and his work in other films like The Patriot, and the upcoming Batman where his role as the Joker looks to be quite compelling.

    Its sad that his daughter will never know him on any real personal level. Its odd how we as a society form somewhat imaginary bonds with those who entertain us, yet we know almost nothing about them.

    gabriel (180095)

  11. So sad, and frankly so stupid to do this; to his family and his young daughter in particular; he had so much to live for. In the eerie coincidence category; is a bit like that movie like the movie ‘the Crow’ which featured Bruce Lee’s son as a ghostly visage; which was finished after his death; the Joker’s portrayal was equally wraithlike.

    narciso (c36902)

  12. so it goes.
    Hi Ho.
    Dumb.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  13. It may have been an accidental overdose. So maybe commenters could can the judgmental bullshit doused in mawkish dressing until the facts are known, hmmm?

    Vergil (ec0a96)

  14. No, Vergil, we can be judgmental on our schedule if we wish.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. i’ve never heard of him….. but most movies these days strike me as a lousy investment of the ~$50 it’d cost me & 2H6 to attend at the theater, and that’s without the parking, crowds and morons with cell phones. (plus having to sit through the LA Times comercials. %-)

    as for the “accidental overdose” theory, those are harder to achieve than the press would have you think, unless you are already drunk, stoned or suffering from senile dementia, in which case you shouldn’t be taking the meds anyway, so i’d call it “suicide by stupidity” if it turns out to be that.

    redc1c4 (48a20b)

  16. why do these people who seemingly have it all get so f***(_)d up? why do so many seem to succumb to the lure of dope? so sad so bad
    what a waste

    atmom (6d6d11)

  17. Why, of course, I’m not surprised that the anal-retentive media thinks the death of a bejewelled bottomefeeder is big news.

    syn (79aece)

  18. “Bejewelled bottomfeeder” is a little harsh, don’t you think? ISTM that it ought to be possible to criticize the media for its choice of media circus platform without unnecessarily speaking ill of their target.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  19. Too many actors waste their lives PRETENDING to be REAL people under the pretext of ART. Many enjoy vices that Hollywood celebrates and is loathe to judge. And when vice takes its victim, Hollywood PRETENDS to care.

    Until yesterday I didn’t know who Ledger was. Now he’ll be the guy who was too afraid to face life. He was spiritually dead before he swallowed those pills.

    Faust had fame, fortune, and a pact with the devil. Ledger’s contract was apparently due earlier than usual. Bummer Dude.

    Clark Baker (85dbc5)

  20. The reports I heard on the radio said that the pills were sleeping pills, but that there was no indication of suicide — that it looked like an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. (Reports also indicated that he had insomnia while playing the Joker in the upcoming Batman movie, which would seem to confirm that the sleeping pills were intended to help him sleep, rather than as a suicide method).

    If he didn’t know about the dangers of combining alcohol with barbiturates, then the accident makes perfect sense. He has a few drinks before going to bed, then takes his usual dose of sleeping pills — but because of the alcohol in his system, the barbiturate dosage he took has a greater effect than it should, and he simply stops breathing in his sleep.

    I don’t have any evidence at this point that that’s how it happened — but that scenario has happened before, to many people, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what happened this time, too.

    Robin Munn (480a7e)

  21. “Until yesterday I didn’t know who Ledger was”

    followed closely by

    “He was spiritually dead before he swallowed those pills.”

    – Clark Baker

    That… sounds tremendously stupid. If you don’t know anything about the man, you don’t know anything about the state of his spiritual affairs. Speak not of what ye know not.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  22. The best comment concerns the public’s adulation of celebrities and the mass hysteria that events like the death of Princess Diana can set off. I didn’t know who the guy was either although my wife and daughter did. It’s sad for him and his family but worrisome as an indicator of what the public sees as important. The inanity of the media was on display today as Bill O’Reilley played the tape from a Larry King show last night. He had a panel of “experts” on the show and not one knew if the guy’s parents were alive or anything about his life. It turns out they are in Australia.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  23. Inanity and Larry King is very redundant.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. Mike K: I don’t think this is particularly important. But I’m a bit melancholy anyhow; the man did a great job performing in a movie which meant a lot to me.

    That said, i’m amazed at the people who seem to be willing to judge him without knowing anything about him, just because he’s an actor.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  25. I have no problems judging him. He had the resources and money to seek treatment for his addiction(s) and any psych problems. However, he chose not to. His girlfriend finally got tired of his refusal to address his addiction(s) and kicked him out. He then moped around about her and his kid. But the reality is that he chose heroin over his daughter. Call me unimpressed.

    tired (31a7b3)

  26. tired wrote: But the reality is that he chose heroin over his daughter. Call me unimpressed.

    What “heroin”?

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  27. They have reported that he has been using heroin for years. That heroin.

    tired (31a7b3)

  28. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about Heath.

    the fact the several pages were given to him, and soldier who ded in Iraq got a sentence each tells me plenty about society as a whole.

    I didn’t care for his movies, and frankly I can think of severl actors who would have, at the least, been better than him as The Joker.

    If he were me, and I died under the same condictions, you would never hear about it.

    So why must I hear so much about Heath?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  29. They have reported that he has been using heroin for years. That heroin.

    Don’t believe everything those vultures report. They were talking heroin, they were talking packets of white powder in the room and pills scattered everywhere…and the Police news conference this afternoon debunked it all as not true. We won’t know the truth until the lab tests are back.

    dottie (bac49b)

  30. Guess again, dottie. They found 3 kinds of benzos and 2 kinds of sleeping pills and an antihistamine. I suspect the non prescription drugs were flushed down the toilet by someone initially on the scene. Anyway, if he indeed was maintaining his sobriety and not using heroin, he wouldn’t be taking all these other prescription but addictive drugs.

    tired (e80605)

  31. tired – you are the only one guessing.

    JD (75f5c3)

  32. I dunno JD. There’s a significant gap (about 15 minutes I think) between someone else being in the place (a call to – I believe – one of the Olson twins) and the 911 call.

    That’s a lot of flushing…

    Scott Jacobs (3c07ad)

  33. Scott, that could certainly be the case.

    Tired: using prescription but addictive drugs is hardly the same thing as using heroin. That’s a mighty large conclusion to leap to.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  34. Not at all. If someone already has a history of heroin use and addiction, subsequent possession of benzodiazepines is proof they are not maintaining sobriety. Besides the mix of an addictive personality with addictive drugs, the benzos are going to reduce a person’s ability to resist their drug of choice.

    tired (aff13e)

  35. Not at all. If someone already has a history of heroin use and addiction, subsequent possession of benzodiazepines is proof they are not maintaining sobriety. Besides the mix of an addictive personality with addictive drugs, the benzos are going to reduce a person’s ability to resist their drug of choice.

    Comment by tired — 1/24/2008 @ 8:34 am

    Tired knows what he is talking about. This is 100% true. Once a junkie, always a junkie unless you are completely clean. I know of what I speak as well.

    Violetrinity (c36902)

  36. I think if he HAD died of a heroin overdose, they would have to have found heroin in the apartment somewhere. The coroner MUST have been looking for signs of injection, snorting or smoking of it. The fact that the autopsy was inconclusive points to reasonably assuming that none of those things was found. Therefore, lets wait for the toxicology reports and see what it was that killed him. You know, MANY more people die from legally prescribed prescription drugs each year than who die from illicit drug use.

    Lsdeedee (3c6af0)

  37. If it were me, being greeted on the street by thousands of strangers, who type cast me as the “brokeback cowboy”, I can see turning to drugs.
    How many times hearing “keeping it on the down low, Heath?” would it take before he went off his nut?

    papertiger (894e4f)

  38. Wow, I’m impressed by the league of extraordinary detective work we have on this forum. You seem to really know a lot about Heath. You must have watched Fox News for all your current and extremely scrutinized updates on what most of you seem to call a non-tragedy. And nice comments about the current state of society that holds such a person up to the light over say people that are just outright ignorant bigots. Wow, society is rather deplorable if this site is a representation of it. You all have the right to express yourselves in any fashion you choose, but I would first and foremost question yourself to why you are saying it and to what you are really trying to accomplish here. Some of these comments, after reading them how can you claim to have any sense of humanity or respect for humanity through your own contradiction. I’m sure you can sleep well at night and don’t have to use sleeping aids, but for some of us, we recognize that we have a responsibility as people.

    Spineless (e7c74d)

  39. I can’t speak for everybody, but for myself I intended to point out the culpability of the Hollywood establishment, and specificly the mindset that imagines making a full on blue gay cowboy movie is an acceptable vehicle of ridicule to jab at the rednecked clodkickers who re elected G W Bush over John F’n Kerry.
    How ironic that the only casualties were all the little boxoffice money makers who starred in the show, and to a lesser extent the moviehouse which funded that celuloid poke in the rib aimed at the GOP.
    Another case of liberals grinding their own seed.
    It’s a pity.

    papertiger (1afea2)

  40. Why do you feel so offended at something that has nothing to do with you? Were does that come from. How does a logical human being think that a movie is aimed to put a spur in the boot of the GOP. Who cares about the Feelings of the GOP in relation to this movie? That is the most thoughtlessly constructed opinion I have ever heard. It sounds more as though there are feelings of fright there than anything else. You want a real rib at the GOP. Hey GOP, stop excepting government services that you don’t want to pay for. Stop taking away business accountability when it has just led to the economic rapping of American citizens. Hey GOP, nice candidates, you have a bunch of ancient thinking old men running on the same platform of: “Who is more republican than Bush.” So boring and so ineffective.

    Spineless (e7c74d)


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