Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger

I have no particular interest in celebrities. Unless I’m in the dentist’s office or have a bad head cold and feel in need of mindless distraction, I don’t read People, or Us, and I don’t watch, or even know the names of, the television shows that track the stars. I don’t care about Brittany or that skinny blond chick...Paris Hilton?...I don’t care about their latest dramas, in fact, I don’t want to know about them. I don’t care who’s divorcing whom, who’s going to have a baby, who’s going into rehab. I’m so out of it, I haven’t even bothered to watch the Academy Awards for the past several years.

But, that said...I love movies, and I loved Brokeback Mountain, and Monster’s Ball, and part of what I loved in both those films was Heath Ledger’s amazing performance in each of them. As an actor, I found him interesting, and I looked forward to seeing him in other films. I didn’t know or care anything about his personal life. I didn’t know whom he’d hooked up with; I didn’t know he had a 2 year old daughter; I didn’t even know his age (28).

Until yesterday, at work, when I overheard two women saying he was dead. “Drugs,” one said. “Of course!” the other answered.

Well, yeah, maybe...but not necessarily in the way they and so much of the media seem to mean. Last I heard, toxicology results won’t be in for awhile, but in the meantime, people are speculating accidental overdose on prescription meds...which could happen to anyone...

Shoot. Maybe it’s because I have a daughter his age, and sons in their early 20' every pic I’ve seen of him in the past two days, each and every time I have the same impression: he just looks so young. And it sounds as if, in addition to being an interesting actor, he was an interesting, down to earth, genuine, really nice human being. One woman who worked in a toy store in his neighborhood said he'd come in regularly, with his daughter on his shoulders, and another woman who worked at a restaurant in his neighborhood said he used to come in alone, with a book, and he'd sit quietly reading while he ate...of course, an actor reading quietly while eating alone is hardly a news story. But it does make me believe that he was a genuinely nice and interesting guy, as well as one incredibly talented actor.

He is going to be missed.


Theresa Williams said...

Judi, I feel the same way as you. I found out he had died early on because I get news alerts from the NYT in my e-mail, and they were the first to break the story. I got that awful feeling when I read that, you know the one, the oh no, how terrible, how sad, what a loss feeling. The cynical reaction of your coworkers saddens me very much. I never saw "Brokeback Mountain," but "Monster's Ball" is one of my favorite movies, and Ledger's performance is amazing. I liked him. He took his art seriously. I made sure to bring up his death in my college classes today and everyone seemed so appreciative of that. One young man spoke of the emptiness he had felt upon hearing the news, how much he had respected Ledger. The students seemed to have a real need to talk about this death in a constructive way. My initial feeling is that Ledger probably accidentally overdosed on his medication; it is so easy to do. One of my favorite singers, Nick Drake, died the same way. There will always be people who will say it was suicide in Drake's and Ledger's case, but I don't think so. Thank you for your entry. I really appreciated seeing it and reading it.

Tammy said...

I felt exactly the same too. I'm a movie buff and have really enjoyed his talent. He was a rising star and now an angel. Tragic.


Chris said...

To me, he'll always be the mysterious student from 10 Things I Hate About You

dreaminglily said...

Oh I loved him... He was a brilliant young actor and I think there was so much beautiful work he had left to give. I was absolutely stunned when I heard he died, the very first thing that popped into my mind was his little girl. I didn't remember how old she was but it's just horrible. Mom noted when she saw a picture of his daughter that she looks just like him. Maybe she'll be a wonderful actress and that will be his ongoing legacy in film.

I'm really looking forward to his role in The Dark Knight, I think he really lived that character and did it justice. He was excellent at bringing a depth to his characters.

But I do, I really do, think it was an accident. Whether he did something illegal, idk, but I don't think he intended to. His break up with Michelle wasn't bitter. I just don't see it being on purpose.