I was shocked when a friend called to tell me Heath Ledger was dead Tuesday morning. It’s one of those deaths that feels close for some reason. His Australian-ness is likely one reason, but I think there’s some sort of relatability involved.
I was more upset by what I saw on CNN when I tried to see what had happened. Talking head after talking head was mangling the same quotes, sharing groundless hypotheses, and contradicting the last “expert”. What started as a certain suicide has now turned into a probable accident. Who takes responsibility for the slurs?
- I heard that he was “surrounded” by pills, which turned into “many bottles” of pills, to six bottles of pills that were all nearly full with their caps on in the bathroom cabinet.
- I heard he was living the fast life. Then that he lived a quiet life under the radar; that the only photos you ever saw in the media were him eating dinner or out for a walk during the day.
- I heard that he was heavily into alcohol and drugs. Then that story disappeared as the accidental death appeared to be true.
- I saw a procession of actors pressed to comment. Many of them didn’t even know him. I heard quotes of, “I saw him in Brokeback Mountain and he was good.” I could have given them a quote like that. Why are B-list celebrities experts on Heath Ledger?
- I saw an anchor on CNN’s Showbiz Tonight saying he hoped other actors would follow Heath’s example of acting for the art of it, rather than the fame. Does anyone else see the contradiction there?
I’m saddened by this death. I’m saddened that there appears to be no news channel to watch for news.