By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a
downtown Manhattan apartment, and police said drugs may have been a factor. The Australian-born actor was 28.
Ledger had an appointment for a massage at the residence in the
tony SoHo neighborhood, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. A
housekeeper who went to let him know the massage therapist had
arrived found him dead at 3:26 p.m.
A large crowd of paparazzi and gawkers began gathering Tuesday
evening outside the building on an upscale block, where several
police officers guarded the door.
Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain,"
where he met Michelle Williams in 2005. The two lived together in
Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, until they split up last
Ledger most recently appeared in "I'm Not There," in which he
played one of the many incarnations of Bob Dylan - as did Cate
Blanchett, whose performance in that film earned an Oscar
nomination Tuesday for best supporting actress.
Ledger was to appear as the Joker this year in "The Dark
Night," a sequel to 2005's "Batman Begins." He's had starring
roles in "A Knight's Tale" and "The Patriot," and played the
suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in "Monster's Ball."
Ledger grew up in Perth, and began doing amateur theater at age
10. At 16, he moved to Sydney to pursue an acting career, quickly
landing TV movie roles and guest spots on Australian television.
After several independent films and a starring role in the
short-lived Fox TV series "Roar," Ledger moved to Los Angeles and
costarred in "10 Things I Hate About You," a teen comedy
reworking of "The Taming of the Shrew."
Offers for other teen flicks came his way, but Ledger turned
them down, preferring to remain idle than sign on for projects he
"It wasn't a hard decision for me," Ledger told the Associated
Press in 2001. "It was hard for everyone else around me to
understand. Agents were like, `You're crazy,' my parents were like,
`Come on, you have to eat."'
Associated Press Sara Kugler contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)