This week we remembered a true acting talent taken before his time. Tuesday marked the 5 year anniversary of Heath Ledger’s unfortunate passing and since then there hasn’t been a viewing of The Dark Knight where I haven’t thought to myself, “This guy was genius, and he was just about to fully tap into that genius.” A selfish part of me wants to see the movies Ledger would have gone onto star in after the success of The Dark Knight just for my own entertainment, but really deep down, I’m just so sad that the man himself never got the chance to reap the rewards of creating the definitive portrait of one of pop-culture’s greatest monsters.
I stumbled across an article by the guys over at GeekTyrant today. One writer for the site felt a similar mix of emotions on the anniversary of Mr. Ledger’s death, and found himself poring over articles that were published in the year leading up to Heath’s death. One article jumped out at the writer in particular due to the nature of its content; content in which Ledger described the ritual that would eventually lead to his end. Ledger explains what’s going on in his life at the time of the interview and the scenario he reveals is one of painful poignancy to those who know the circumstances surrounding Ledger’s death.
For those who don’t, Ledger was found unconscious by visitors to his apartment who quickly called 911. The authorities who arrived on the scene pronounced him dead due to a potent mix of prescription and nonprescription sleeping pills. This may seem like a horrible, once-in-a-blue-moon accident, but as the below interview reveals, Ledger had been creating and recreating the same scenario over and over again until it eventually turned deadly. From The New York Times:
Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.
That’s it. The exact situation Ledger found himself in on the night of his death. It’s deeply sad to hear that all the signs were there that the actor was in trouble. Trouble enough that would lead him to take a lethal dose of sleeping pills almost every night. It happened totally by chance that this daily lethal dose eventually lived up to its name.