I have to be honest, when I heard Heath Ledger had died of a drug overdose, my automatic assumption was that it was either (a) a deliberate suicide, or (b) a sordid Belushi-esque adventure with an illegal street high. Now it's looking more and more like it was merely an accident with prescription meds, and somehow that's even more pathetic than the thought of him nodding off forever with a needle in his arm. At least that would've been a "cool" death, "cool" in the sense of "the stupid and miserable thing that celebrities do, but at least he'll live on in infamy as a warning to others." Just mixing the wrong meds or taking one too many Seconal tabs, though... that's mundane, isn't it? I don't know... my feelings about that don't make a lot of sense even to me. I guess I'm hoping that I can sort them out by burning a few more electrons on the subject. Hope I'm not boring you all.
In any event, Piper at Lazy Eye Theatre made a few remarks that I find worth repeating:
It's not uncommon for us to feel more connected with famous people. We identify them with the characters they play and it's only natural that we think that a little bit of them comes out in each performance. So based on his movies, I liked Heath Ledger. Maybe he was an asshole, maybe he was a very nice man. Maybe he was the most humble actor to ever walk the face of this earth. I don't know, but I do know that Heath showed promise and that's enough. Promise cut down in its prime is truly tragic. And now in his absence, I am forced to imagine what could have been.
As I said the other day, I think Heath Ledger might have been one of the greats, in time. It's the same thing I thought when River Phoenix died, that he could've been so much and won't ever get the chance to do anything more than what he's already done. That's almost unutterably sad. I feel bad when one of the old-timers I've loved my entire life passes on, but at least they had their runs. The young ones, though... their deaths just suck.
Oh, and so do idiots who picket funerals because they think their religious beliefs (read: bigotry against all things homosexual, including a straight actor who just happened to play a gay man in a high-profile movie) gives them license to behave like disrespectful asshats. That's real Christian behavior, guys...