Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

R.I.P. Heath Ledger

Got in to work today to be informed by a colleague that Australian actor Heath Ledger has died. I really can't believe it. Apparently he was found dead in his New York apartment in the early hours of this morning, with sleeping pills on a nearby table. However the Police have said that they found no prescription medication in the bathroom and that there were no obvious signs of suicide or foul play. (Go here for the full story).

So, WHY?

Heath was only 28 years old which seems so incredibly young - not only from my own 38 year old perspective, but to a lot of other people I should imagine. His acting career was just starting to really take off and he hadn't even lived a full life. And although I'd never personally been much of a Heath Ledger fan (I didn't know much about him if truth be known) I did think (as many will, I'm sure, agree) that he gave an amazing performance in
Brokeback Mountain as the closeted gay ranch hand Ennis del Mar. A truculent, sometimes aggressive and not particularly likable character, but real for being all those things - such was the power of Ledger's portrayal. You really could believe that men like Ennis existed and felt a genuine sympathy for his plight - unable to fully acknowledge his sexuality and make public his love affair with "friend" Jack Twist - such was the anti-gay, homophobic environment of Wyoming. For many this must have been a far more genuine portrayal of what it was like to be gay than some upper class twit in a Merchant Ivory film or Noel Coward play. Ledger is also due to appear as the Joker in "The Dark Knight", the sequel to the 2005 "Batman Begins", both starring Christian Bale as the hero of the title. From the reports I've read, Ledger is brilliant as Batman's nemesis.

And just as his career starts to take an interesting direction, we lose him. What a waste of talent, potential and life. Again it begs the question - WHY??

I was a massive fan of River Phoenix in his heyday (in fact I still am) and remember being similarly distraught by his loss - another gifted actor, as well as a very beautiful and sensitive one, who surely had many interesting things ahead of him. Alas it wasn't to be. Unlike Ledger however, Phoenix's addiction to drugs in the latter stages of his life was undoubtedly what led to his downfall. At present, no-one can say exactly what has caused Heath Ledger's death; perhaps we'll know in due course. Very tragic news all the same.


  • At 3:54 pm , Blogger Deemer said...

    To me it just proves you never know what is going on in somebody's head. Obviously if its somebody famous you never have met, but I believe also this applies to those closest to you.

    Its very sad. The Batman movie was shot on location in Chicago. One scene was actually filmed a block away from my apartment. There were Heath sightings everyday in the paper. A lot of positive buzz about the movie and his performance.

    You think Hollywood people have it all. But then something like this happens and it just makes you wonder.

  • At 5:16 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yes, I felt sad re Heath Ledger too and I agree with what Deemer says about how little we really know about anyone, be they close or otherwise. Life is much the same really for us all - the trappings may be different but the problems are much the same.

    I was listening to this earlier. I love this track and the video is rather nice. You might like it? I was going to post it on my blog but changed my mind. So I shall play it here instead!

  • At 7:06 pm , Blogger matty said...

    It is so sad.

    In recent interviews he seemed kind of "out of it" or really odd.

    I agree with deemer, you just never know.

    I hope he has found some peace.

    I also agreed with your choice to remind us of River P. ...This feels the same, doesn't it?

    Incredibly talented, good looking and young. ...and we all think they must have it easy.

    You just never know what sort of hell is running thru the human soul.

    And, yes, 28 is so very young.

  • At 7:34 pm , Blogger Steve said...

    Shit. I have to say I have yet to see Brokeback Mountain and hardly know anything about this guy... but it is still shocking news.

  • At 9:58 pm , Blogger Salty said...

    totally sad and shocking. I'm sure it was accidental.

    Still, he was hot and a great actor.


  • At 10:00 pm , Blogger Salty said...

    Oh, that wasn't a shameless plug to my squarespace thing, it's just that Blogger doesn't like "other types of bloggers" to comment.

  • At 5:41 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    Sad news. He was an ex-girlfriend's favourite actor and her favourite movie was "10 Things I Hate About You". My ex thought she was Julia Stiles, I think!

  • At 1:08 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Thanks very much for all your comments, everyone.

    Deemer - You're absolutely right. There was a case recently in the UK news of a seemingly "normal" father, who had been happily married for years with kids. Then he tried to commit suicide by jumping off a hotel balcony, killing one of the children in the process. Turns out he was suffering from depression, but woh! Not what you would expect.

    And as for these film stars with their so-called fabulous, successful careers, they clearly turn out to be insecure more often than most.

    Interesting that the Batman movie was shot so close to you. I might venture to say you should have got Heath Ledger's autograph, it would be worth a lot now!

    Reluctant - It's true and quite scary when you think about it. Living in London and sitting next to complete strangers on the bus/tube I sometimes think the same. Who are you? Are you a total psychopath?

    Thanks for the track link - haven't got sound on my work PC but will check it out later!

    Matty - Perhaps that was a clue as to why Heath went the way he did. But if there were major problems it never seemed overt?

    River was beautiful and his death was SUCH a waste. If he'd still been alive I don't doubt he would have made many more excellent and unusual movies like "My Own Private Idaho". I kind of think his career would have turned out like Johnny Depp's.

    Steve - If you watch "Brokeback" you'll see what I mean. It's not an "easy" film to watch and is quite slow-moving at times but still pretty powerful nevertheless.

    Salty - At this stage we don't know if it was accidental or not, do we? I was half-watching the news at the gym last night and it said the results of the post mortem were inconclusive - they couldn't prove that he'd taken an overdose. So what caused it?

    And I'm actually glad that you've given the link to your website, cos the blog one wasn't working! Now I know where to find you.

    Tim - I haven't seen that movie but I've seen some clips. Heath looks very young and hippy in it I think. He actually looked older than his years I reckon.

  • At 7:20 pm , Blogger matty said...

    You know, celebrities always seem to die in 3's within one week.

    1. Brad Renfro
    2. That lady from Newhart
    3. Heath Ledger

    why is this I wonder?


  • At 1:30 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    That lady from "Newhart" was Suzanne Pleshette. She played the school teacher in one of the finest horror films ever made, Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".

  • At 2:22 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Interesting point, Matty. I don't know much about Brad Renfro but I do remember the lady who played the schoolteacher in "The Birds" though, as you point out, Tim. Considering how long ago that movie was (1963)at least we can say she had a longer and fuller life than some...

    It is eerie how all of these things come at once.

  • At 6:36 pm , Blogger matty said...

    did you ever see APT PUPIL? Exceptional and creepy film. It star'd Renfro. He was a great young actor. He was also the star of BULLY. A good but most disturbing movie.

  • At 3:53 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Matty - Those films sound interesting. Have never seen "Apt Pupil" but might have to rent it out!

  • At 7:41 am , Blogger MOTHER OF MANY said...

    I was so shocked to hear the news, I cannot believe that he would have done it purposely.

  • At 12:59 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Allyson - Yes, although as Deemer and I were just discussing, you never know exactly what is going on with a person. There were certainly no obvious indications that anything was wrong with Heath. Any "problems" he had must have been buried pretty damn deep.


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