Wednesday, January 23, 2008

30 Days of Bloggery: Heath Ledger 1979-2008

PhotobucketWow. Some celebrity deaths you expect -- Britney, anyone? -- some you don't. I was an admirer of Heath Ledger the actor, and his sudden death at only 28 is a real stunner. While his early teen movies didn't do a lot for me, with "Brokeback Mountain" and his astounding, Academy-Award nominated turn I saw a human chameleon with a ton of talent. Still hard to watch the final scene of that movie, and I felt like he took a role that could've been a punchline - a gay cowboy? - and turned it into something hauntingly real.

Two of his final performances I had been really looking forward to - his turn as an aspect of Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There" (which disgracefully has yet to open down here), and of course, his Joker in "The Dark Knight" next summer. PhotobucketCasting Ledger as the Joker surely raised a few eyebrows, but his highly creepy performance in the trailer chased away all doubts. It's terrible to think now this will be his obituary rather than the next chapter in a promising career. What a waste of talent.

I just finished reading the sordidly entertaining "Please Kill Me," a history of punk rock, which had the sad subtext of an extraordinary list of drug casualties, screwed-up and spoiled lives. Having immersed myself in druggy demises, seeing yet another likely one just feels crueler than it ought to. I feel for his family, and his fans, and wish whatever happened that led to his sad end in a New York room didn't go down like that.

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