Actors and fans alike are devastated at the shocking news of Heath Ledger’s accidental death.
At the Walk on the Wildside: Benefit Dinner for Wildlife Warriors and Australia Plays Broadway, Extra reporters received the following statement from John Travolta regarding the news that Heath Ledger has died.
Travolta said, “He is one of my favorite actors. His abilities are rare…it’s a tremendous loss. It’s hard to be here celebrating Australia under these circumstances.”
Nicole Kidman said: “What a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to Heath’s family.” Her friend, and an ex-girlfriend to Heath, Naomi Watts, could not contain her emotions in at Sundance, immediately crying upon hearing the news.
Warner Brothers president Alan Horn says the film studio – which is producing the next Batman flick “The Dark Knight” – was also devastated.
“The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news,” Horn said. “The entertainment community has lost an enormous talent.
“Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
Noni Hazlehurst, who worked with Ledger on Candy as his mother mentor, called him one of the finest actors of his generation. “The remarkable characters he has left us in his extraordinarily wide-ranging body of work will remain as a testament to his talent,” she said.
“Heath was an artist, a kind and sensitive man, who simply wanted to do good work of which he could be proud. He was uncomfortable with celebrity, which made him a target for fools, preferring to focus on being the best actor he could be.
“For that, he will always have the respect and admiration of those who knew, understood and admired him.”
“I had such great hope for him,” said Mel Gibson, who co-starred with Ledger in the 2000 film “The Patriot,” told People.com. “He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
“Heath Ledger was a courageous actor, and a great soul. He gave us the gift of sharing his fearless and beautiful love — of his craft, and of all who worked with him — for which all of us will be eternally grateful,” said James Schamus, CEO of Focus Features and producer of “Brokeback Mountain,” the 2005 film that earned Ledger an Oscar nomination.
This article from The New York Times published just two months ago shed a new light on the untimely death of Heath Ledger:
“I stressed out a little too much,” Mr. Ledger said.
He tends to do that. He is here in London filming the latest episode of the “Batman”franchise, “The Dark Knight.” (Mr. Bale, as it happens, plays Batman; Mr. Ledger plays the Joker.) It is a physically and mentally draining role — his Joker is a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” he said cheerfully — and, 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.