Note: This story will remain on the top of /Film for the next day.
Actor Heath Ledger, who plays the Joker in this summer’s The Dark Knight, died today at around 3:30 p.m. EST. Ledger was reportedly found naked in bed in a state of cardiac arrest by a housekeeper who promptly called 911. He was found in a Manhattan apartment, in SoHo; police formerly reported that Mary-Kate Olsen was the owner of the apartment, however this info has been proven incorrect. Police do not suspect foul play. Two bottles of sleeping pills, one prescription and one over-the-counter, were found near the body and some reports had them scattered around the room. Ledger has one child, a 2-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose, with his wife the actress Michelle Williams. Ledger and Williams are said to have still been separated at the time of his death. An autopsy is now scheduled for Wednesday.
In 2006, Ledger was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain. He was currently working on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, his second film under the direction of Terry Gilliam.
UPDATE: In an interview published in the NY Times in November, Ledger is attributed with a few alarming quotes and behavioral tics that could be interpreted as warning signs for severe distress and anxiety…
….as often happens when he throws himself into a part, he is not sleeping much.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.
Even as he spoke, Mr. Ledger was hard-pressed to keep still. He got up and poured more coffee. He stepped outside into the courtyard and smoked a cigarette. He shook his hair out from under its hood, put a rubber band around it, took out the rubber band, put on a hat, took off the hat, put the hood back up. He went outside and had another cigarette. Polite and charming, he nonetheless gave off the sense that the last thing he wanted to do was delve deep into himself for public consumption. “It can be a little distressing to have to overintellectualize yourself,” is how he put it, a little apologetically.
Also, in the following video interview in correlation with his press days for I’m Not There, he seems disoriented and possibly under the influence. Click here to view.
UPDATE 2: An NYPD spokesman now reports that there was no “obvious indication of suicide.” The pills and pill bottles found at the scene were reportedly sleeping pills, one a prescription medication, the other over-the-counter.
Update 3: Unfortunate news comes this Wednesday that police also found a 20-note with narcotic residue and several drug packets in the bedroom where Ledger was found. In the following article, Jack Nicholson is said to have told a reporter on Tuesday that he had recently “warned” Ledger.
Update 4:Â Previous reports by CBS News that drug packets were found along with a 20-note with traces of narcotic residue in the apartment at the time of Ledger’s death are now proven to be false. A rolled-up 20-note was found but tests for narcotics have come back negative. Really careless reporting by the mainstream media on this story, eh? You may remember that the New York Times first reported (rather quickly) that it was Mary-Kate Olsen’s apartment, also false.