Heath Ledger, Found Dead at 28


The last time I saw Heath Ledger was in November, at the Beatrice Inn, a cozy late-night hot spot in New York’s West Village. He was enjoying himself and hitting up girls like a sailor on shore leave. There was something slightly forced about his merrymaking, and as I watched him I remember taking a mental note: how long can he keep up this level of partying, I wondered. And yet, media sources are saying that Ledger was in a “quite sober place” these days, so what I saw that night may have been an aberration. Then what really happened today, when the 28-year-old actor was found dead at his SoHo apartment? Speculation says he overdosed on pills of some kind; we’ll know more when an autopsy is completed. Ledger’s online eulogists are remembering him chiefly for his devastating performance in “Brokeback Mountain.” (His last scene in that movie is one of the saddest things ever put on film.) For some reason, I remember him as vividly in a little-seen picture called “Ned Kelly,” about a legendary Australian outlaw of the same name. Ledger’s portrayal conveyed everything I love about the guys from Down Under: the instant matiness, the sense of humor, the overall screw-you attitude at all authority. Pace tua, Heath.

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