Heath Ledger 1979-2008

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Heath Ledger 1979-2008

I heard about Heath Ledger’s death just before I went to bed last night and it floored me. Sad, sad news. This was a formidable talent who was at his prime and, I’m certain, would have gone from strength to strength.

He also played The Joker in the forthcoming The Dark Knight, the sequel to my all-time favourite superhero flick, 2005’s Batman Begins. From what I’ve seen of this performance already it looks as though Ledger more than nailed it. Dark Knight co-star Michael Caine recently had this to say about his performance:

“I tell you the big surprise in the new ‘Batman’ — Heath Ledger as the Joker,” Caine told reporters in New York Tuesday. “He’s fantastic. He’s gone in a different direction than Jack (Nicholson) … Jack was like a really scary old, nasty old uncle with a funny face. Heath is like the most murderous psychopath you’ve ever seen on the screen,” Caine said.

I’m still struggling to process this news. It’s so out of the blue. This is a sad loss to Cinema, but let’s remember it’s a greater loss to his family. They have my deepest sympathies.


About the Author:

My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.


  1. Clare January 23, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Hey look at me, I’m looking at your blog for the first time after all those oh so subtle hints 😉

    His daughter is only 2, very sad… But at least he finished filming his Joker scenes eh.. Eh?

  2. Tom Lennon January 23, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Milady Clare – do I detect a subtle hint of sarcasm regarding the subtlety of my hints? I’ll have you know that I only offer the highest-grade of hint, each one lovingly hand-crafted following an age-old family recipe then delivered with an almost imperceptible level of subtlety. That last sentence works best if, as you read it, you can imagine that Santana music from the M&S food ads playing…

    I agree, It’s terribly sad about his daughter and that she’ll never get the chance to know him. What’s also tragically ironic is the fact his ex-partner, Michelle Williams, was at the Sundance Fest publicising a new film where she plays a woman coping with the death of her lover.

    You’re, um, right about The Joker, though…

  3. Clare January 23, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I suppose my sarcasm is only as subltle as the hints you drop..

    M&S ads? You know I don’t watch TV and adverts to me are foggy memories of ahhh Bisto & the animated Aquafresh family.

    See you tomorrow for lollipop stories


  4. Rol Hirst January 25, 2008 at 9:23 am

    What do you make of the speculation that getting all method into the mindset of an amoral psychopath like the Joker might have contributed to his untimely departure?


  5. Tom Lennon January 25, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I didn’t mention it originally – the thought had crossed my mind, but I thought it was too early for rabid speculation. I leave that sort of thing to the Daily Mail & Express. They’re much better at it than me.

    Having said that, when I heard the news I thought of an article I’d read just a few weeks ago about Heath Ledger and [i]The Dark Knight[/i]. During shooting, he kept a personal [i]Rorschach’s Journal[/i]-style ‘Joker’s Diary’ in order to emerse himself in the part. It also mentioned he was only getting two hours’ sleep a night. I remember thinking ‘that can’t be healthy’.

    I also think our mutual pal Dave has a point when he says that [i]The Dark Knight[/i] [which I must admit was my most highly-anticipated blockbuster flick of the year] is in danger of becoming a latter-day version of [i]The Crow[/i], “a film so intrinsically linked to the death of one of the stars that you can’t watch it without feeling a little bit weird”.

    Brrr, indeed.

  6. Tom Lennon January 25, 2008 at 10:51 am

    PS That’s the last time I try italicing anything…

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