The current situation: Autopsy due for Heath Ledger, dead at 28; Heath Ledger autopsy inconclusive; family, fans grieve; Rolled up $20 bill found near Ledger "though no illegal drugs were found"; Confused? What The Media Does And Doesn't Know About Ledger's Death.
Reactions from people who knew him: Heath Ledger's family found out through the media; Heath Ledger’s Death Sends Shockwaves Through Sundance; Naomi Watts in tears at Sundance, cancels press appearances; Star tributes flow for Ledger (comments from Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, John Travolta [?], and Charlize Theron); Heath Ledger: A costar reflects ("Christopher Plummer tells us about his late castmate on in-progress ''Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' "); Production Shut Down for Ledger's 'Parnassus'?; Ledger Death Poses Problems for Warner Bros. (note: his work on The Dark Knight was, in fact, finished); Angry, or genius? ("I never wrote another bad word about Heath Ledger, not because he wooed me with his phone call, or because of the anguish in his voice, but because he really did 'learn to deal with things a bit better' "); Perth Angel (August 2000 Vanity Fair shoot. " 'When Heath smiles, it’s Errol Flynn,' says A Knight’s Tale director Brian Helgeland. 'Once every 50 years a guy like that comes along' ").
Reactions from people who didn't: Bush postpones anti-drug event after Ledger death; Heath Ledger On Entertainment Weekly Cover; Heath's People Magazine Cover; Best Buy rushes to cash in on Heath Ledger's death; Has modern tabloid culture made it impossible to "die young and stay beautiful"?'; Gawker Stalkers are assholes; An Actor Whose Work Will Outlast the Frenzy (NYT: "The dismaying sense of loss and waste at Mr. Ledger’s death at 28 comes not only because he was so young, but also because his talent was large and as yet largely unmapped.... Mr. Ledger’s work will outlast the frenzy. But there should have been more. Instead of being preserved as a young star eclipsed in his prime, he should have had time to outgrow his early promise and become the strange, surprising, era-defining actor he always had the potential to be").
Also: Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Heath Ledger's Funeral because he played a gay character. Yes, these are the same charmers who picketed Matthew Shepard's funeral. Don't read the flier at the entry unless you need to smash things sometime soon.
And finally: Every Window A Mirror at the Carpetbagger's NYT awards blog:
Late last night, Heath Ledger stories were being passed around Sundance parties as a kind of totem. It was touching and all, but here’s the thing: The Bagger had been drafted to phone industry/celebrity sources for reactions and hardly anyone would come to the phone and point out that the dead man was an incredibly gifted actor and a decent human being.
It was a reminder to the Bagger that, for everybody in the Magic Kingdom, it’s always about them. A guy dies and they need publicists to fend off reporters because they are in their trailers coping or because they might say the wrong thing. The whole publicity apparatus kicked in as if this were an event to manage.
Maybe other reporters had better luck, but the firm no’s the Bagger got told him plenty. This young man of 28, had one shot at a textured story about his humanity and his gifts. As it is, he will show up in the papers as a guy in bed with pills strewn about. Going forward, the stories will all be ghoulish forensics.
Ms. Hardwicke never mentioned her own loss. She was too busy paying tribute to a colleague and a friend.
(That said, I feel like people he actually had longterm relationships with--Michelle Williams, Naomi Watts--have a right to freak the hell out.)
And finally-finally, something to make you smile: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal get the giggles at the SAG awards.