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Heath Ledger’s friend shares new details about actor’s death

Heath Ledger’s friend shares new details about actor’s death

Heath Ledger’s friend has revealed new information about the circumstances surrounding the actor’s death.

Ledger, who played the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, died on 22 January 2008 following a prescription drug overdose in his New York apartment. He was 28 years old.

Stephen Gaghan, a director and writer, recently divulged that Ledger had died with the script for his film in bed.

The Oscar-winning director had been working on an adaptation of Malcolm Gladwell’s 2005 book Blink and wanted to cast Ledger in the lead role.

Gaghan said that he was told by Ledger’s dad, Kim, who had called him after learning of his son’s death, that the script for Blink was found at his home.

Speaking on Gladwell’s Development Hell podcast, Gaghan told Gladwell: “They were there with the body and our script was in bed with him, and your book was on the bedside table. I think my number was on the script, like written.

“These guys, as you can imagine, they are in shock and they dialled that number and I don’t know why.”

He continued: “I’m in an airport with my wife, just going from one place to another, and I literally just collapse, never happened to me before or since. My feet went out from under me. I just literally sat down because I was like, what, what?”

Heath Ledger (Getty Images)
Heath Ledger (Getty Images)

“I remember her face and I was just like, I was speechless. I just listened and listened and listened. It was just really, really sad. And it’s still sad,” Gaghan added.

Gaghan said that he stopped development on the film adaptation of Blink after Ledger’s death.

Last month, director Christopher Nolan recalled a “complicated and challenging” experience following Heath Ledger‘s death while accepting an award at the 2024 Golden Globes.

Heath Ledger in ‘The Dark Knight’ (Warner Bros/Dc Comics/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Heath Ledger in ‘The Dark Knight’ (Warner Bros/Dc Comics/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Nolan told the audience that the last time he had been on the Golden Globe stage was in 2009, when he accepted the Best Supporting Actor award on behalf of Ledger, who died the previous year.

The Dark Knight, which was the last film Ledger finished shooting prior to his death, was released six months later.

Recalling the night he picked up Ledger’s award, Nolan said: “Thank you. The only time I’ve ever been on this stage before accepting one of these on behalf of our dear friend Heath Ledger and that was complicated and challenging for me.”

Ledger’s other credits included 10 Things I Hate About YouI’m Not There, and Brokeback Mountain, which earned him an Oscar nomination in 2006.