Heath Ledger: 1979-2008
Excerpt from the article: “The tragedy struck in the midst of an already hectic day in the entertainment industry, as Hollywood reacted to the morning’s announcement of the Oscar nominations and the latest buzz emanating from Sundance. But word spread with lightning speed via cell phones and BlackBerries, and in nearly every case was met with disbelief. One high-ranking studio exec, after receiving an e-mail stating that Ledger was dead, quickly wrote back: ‘What — you mean his career?’ Charlize Theron learned the news while walking a red carpet at Sundance. Josh Hartnett was blindsided at a Sundance Q&A by a question about Ledger’s death; he struggled to answer even as the crowd jeered the man who had asked it. The passing of an actor in his prime — he earned his first Oscar nomination at age 26 for Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and was just months away from reinventing the Joker in the highly anticipated Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight — seemed too shocking to absorb at first, while at the same time painfully familiar. Within minutes of the story breaking, some 300 entertainment reporters, cameramen, photographers, and fans began to descend on Ledger’s building, creating a tableau that resembled a grisly perversion of a movie premiere. Bystanders snapped photos on cellphones and paparazzi climbed the fire escape of the building across the street hoping for shots into Ledger’s fourth-floor loft. ‘It’s crazy — he was so young,’ said one stunned observer.”
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