Ledger

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Tuesday evening, Pat O’Brien was among a panel of six or so guests to appear on Larry King Live, talking about how he had earlier rushed to the scene outside Heath Ledger’s Manhattan apartment – no doubt to offer some invaluable analysis of the star’s personal life. As he recounted the events, CNN replayed a loop – the second-go-round was in slow motion – of Ledger’s body moving past an assemblage of reporters, photographers, and NY residents. All the shouting and flashbulbs and jockeying for position played out in a spectacle not unlike a Hollywood premiere, if not for the star’s corpse being rolled out on a stretcher. We would later read that the first sight of examiners removing him from the residence was met by yelps of “Body! Body! Body!” from the curious and those paid-by-the-money-shot.

It’s of course a sad day for many reasons, starting with his former wife and their 2-year-old daughter, just like it was for Brad Renfro’s family last week. What’s worse is that Brad Renfro’s death has gone from a tragic story on its own to becoming a link and precursor to a bigger story about a bigger star: it stopped being about Renfro when Heath Ledger was found unconscious. And it stopped being about the end of Heath Ledger’s life when it turned into who broke the story first, and then, “What’s going to happen to the next Batman film?” and “My God, how is Lindsay going to cope with this?”

The 28-year-old’s passing will continue to overshadow the news coming out of Sundance this week, and make the day old announcements of Oscar nominations seem like last year’s news, but only until the next star shoe drops. For every one person in mourning for Ledger as a friend, peer, or admirer of his work on-screen, there’s a hundred that just need their tragicomic celebrity scoops, and another thousand that, truth be told, just want the tragedy.

Heath Ledger reel: Brokeback Mountain, Candy, I’m Not There, and The Dark Knight. (Gawker)

– Edited Wednesday morning

Posted by Ted Zee on January 23rd 2008 | Home Page | 6 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

6 Responses

  1. Antimatter Says:

    The concept of mourning or being seen mourning is obviously more exciting than actually mourning, or having any kind of genuine emotional or intellectual response. Sensationalism is just par for the course.

    I’m glad I don’t watch much television anymore.

  2. Rick Olson Says:

    I can’t imagine the effects of all the media frenzy on Ledger’s family, his shell-shocked father and mother, the 2-year-old daughter, the estranged wife … interesting reduction of someone who lit up the screen to just another plastic-bagged body. It’s times like these that I think I watch altogether too much television.

  3. Nicholas Plowman Says:

    Very sad. This has ffected me more than I can exress. RIP Heath, we will all miss you

  4. reezy Says:

    good summation – some of the coverage has made my skin crawl.

    rest in peace mate.

  5. Bloggers remember Heath Ledger | brillfilms Says:

    […] Big Screen Little Screen offers us a curt assessment of the unsavoury side of any big news story breaking, comparing the crowds of photographers to a macabre Hollywood premiere: “We would later read that the first sight of examiners removing him from the residence was met by yelps of ‘Body! Body! Body!’ from the curious and those paid-by-the-money-shot … For every one person that ever gave two shits about Ledger as a friend, peer, or admirer of his work on-screen, there’s a hundred that just need their tragicomic celebrity scoops, and another thousand that, truth be told, just want the tragedy.” Indeed, for every post purporting to show the last picture of the star alive, there are plenty more another showing footage of the bodybag being wheeled out. […]

  6. Bloggers remember Heath Ledger | Richard Hartley Says:

    […] of ‘grew up’ together. So, even though I didn’t know the guy, I mourn someone from my generation.”Big Screen Little Screen offers us a curt assessment of the unsavoury side of any big news story breaking, comparing the […]

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