Wednesday, January 23, 2008

News of actor's death sparks sadness

News of actor Heath Ledger's death on Tuesday immediately sparked sadness within the entertainment world and beyond, along with a sort of disbelief. It's odd when an actor, or any person for that matter, dies unexpectedly.

In the vast land of celebrity, death doesn't seem as surprising when it's preceded by old age, severe substance abuse or over-the-edge escapades. Don't get me wrong, it would still be very tragic, but many times people see it coming. An inevitability, you could say.

Results are currently inconclusive on the nature of the 28-year-old Australian actor's death — news reports said he was found in the bedroom of his New York apartment dead, surrounded by prescription drugs for sleep and depression. Since police do not suspect foul play, the actor's family and friends believe his death was probably an accidental overdose.

Could he have been simply fighting insomnia and took too much medication? Maybe he was trying to uplift himself out of depression or both? Heaven forbid a suicide.

Ledger wasn't the type to party incessantly or live a dangerously wild lifestyle like several celebrities who are currently in the news. In fact, he was well-respected in Hollywood by taking roles that excited and challenged him instead of working on films that would assure an easy paycheck.

I remember first seeing Ledger in the Shakespeare-inspired 1999 teen flick, "10 Things I Hate About You." My sister turned me on to the movie by buying a copy and watching it at least 100 times a week. My mom enjoyed his and everyone else's performance in 2000's "The Patriot." From there, Ledger continued taking on roles that defined his acting ability and later earned an Academy Award nomination for his controversial role in "Brokeback Mountain."
Many in the film industry believed Ledger had a bright future ahead.

For all the trouble brewing in Hollywood over young stars gone astray, it seemed like Ledger had his act together for the most part. It's sad that such a talented actor is suddenly gone. — January Holmes

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