I am not particularly the most well-versed in Hollywood stuff. Going to the movies is always difficult for me, because unless you study them (and I don't), the only movies you've ever heard of are usually the ones with marketing tie-ins... which I have learned means that those movies are usually too lousy to stand on their own without the marketing blitz (side note - do you remember the movie Congo from the early-90s? If you bought a 32 oz soda from Super America, you could get refills forever for $0.59. I still have TWO of those cups!)
So when Heath Ledger died, I can honestly say I had never heard of him. When somebody told me he was in Brokeback Mountain, I nodded, as I saw parts of the movie but I still couldn't connect the name to the movie.
What I am having a hard time understanding is the misguided outpouring of schmaltz since his death. I don't watch Entertainment Tonight, Insider, or any of the other knockoff shows, but I can't tell you how many times I've seen promos for those type of shows talking about Ledger's "untimely death", or his "tragic death".
While waiting in a waiting room this morning, I was thumbing through People Magazine (side note, paparazzi will cease to exist if the zillions of people who read this crap find something else to read). Specifically, I found the February 25th issue. On page 8 are the letters to the editor. Since I don't want to "hit" that site and give the impression that one more person is actually interested in their rag, I will type three horrifying letters...
I was shocked when I heard about Heath Ledger's death. My heart goes out to Michelle Williams and their daughter Matilda. My two sons lost their father when they were very young, so I know the path that lies before her won't be an easy one. I pray God brings healing and peace to his family. Heath was a great actor, but I will remember him best as a doting father. - Lana Baker via E-mail.
I enjoyed watching Heath Ledger's career develop, and I believe he was on his way to becoming one of the best actors ever. But more importantly, he was an adoring father. The most tragic thing about his passing is that his little girl will not remember him. I just hope that the paparazzi let Matilda and the rest of his loved ones grieve privately. - Hayley Thorndike, Plano, TX
As I watched the Screen Actor's Guild Awards this evening, I shed some tears when Heath's face flashed across the screen. He was undoubtedly an amazing actor, but besides that many of us viewed him as a down-to-earth guy. He was someone you felt you could actually sit down with and have a cup of coffee. We will miss him. - Anna Henry, Warren, OH
Icky. Forgetting the garbage about "great actor", "on his way... best actor ever" and "amazing actor", nobody said anything about how he made his bed. It is possible that these were all written before the cause of death became official, but since the first report of his death, drugs have always been a part of the speculation. And that "doting father" nonsense... doting fathers don't (in essence) destroy themselves.
I couldn't even get past that page of People Magazine. So I checked another stack of magazines, and sure enough, I found the March 3rd issue of People Magazine (special props to this particular doctor's office. Their choice of magazines are akin to the Pied Piper leading the rats out of town, but at least they are current! Extra special props to the receptionist who was kind enough to photocopy these pages so I didn't have to try to memorize them).
I turned to page 8 of that issue, and saw three more letters. These letters were in response to People's February 11th issue, which in big, bold letters screamed "MICHELLE AND HEATH - THE UNTOLD STORY".
Rumor, innuendo and speculation have surrounded the tragic death of Heath Ledger. The only resounding fact is that a talented young man is gone and his family and friends are left behind to mourn and wonder what might have been. My heartfelt condolences to those who knew and loved him. I pray that he has found some peace. - Angel Irizarry, Jacksonville, FL
How sad that drugs would be the deciding factor in Michelle's decision to split from Heath. How painful that choice must have been for her. And what shame that taking drugs was more important to him than staying with his family. Drug addiction is an illness that can be all encompassing. But there are "cures" for this disease that Heath chose not to explore. Choosing not to get help for something that was impacting his life in a very negative way was a tragic error. - Linda Minnis, Huntsville, ON, Canada
Heath Ledger lived and died a life of substance abuse at its worst. Now his daughter will grow up without a father. I too had to raise a 20-month-old child alone because her father's life was taken by drugs at the age of 21. Please, let's be responsible and warn our children about the deadly consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. - Sharon Matthews, Dearborn Heights, MI
OK, these are a little better. Angel's was super-sappy, but Linda's is spot-on, actually. His drug use was more important than his family. Doesn't sound like a doting father to me. Now Sharon's was a little over the top. While true (that our kids need to be aware about the curse of drug use), I am positive that nobody reading People Magazine's "Mailbag" column are going to read that and say to themselves or their spouse "You know, I hadn't thought of actually telling our children about the dangers of drug use. But Sharon Matthews' letter has changed it for me".