Heath Ledger, Oscar Nominee and Star Found Dead

January 22, 2008–Actor Heath Ledger was found dead at an apartment in Manhattan, the New York Times, CNN, and AP reported. Details from The New York Times indicate that the police do not suspect foul play and that pills were found near Ledger’s body. He was 28.

Ledger was found dead this afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan inhabited by the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, according to the New York City police. Signs pointed to a suicide, police sources said.

At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A at 421 Broome Street in SoHo, for an appointment with Ledger, the police said. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of the bedroom Ledger was in. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Ledger naked and unconscious on a bed, with pills scattered around his body. They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities.

Police said they did not suspect foul play. Officials believed Ms. Olsen, 21, was in California, and said it was not clear how long or why Ledger had been in her apartment.

Ledger, a native of Perth, Australia, won acclaim for his role as a co-star in Brokeback Mountain (2005). The film, based on a short story by Annie Proulx about two cowboys who fall in love, won critical acclaim.

Ledger met the actress Michelle Williams while filming “Brokeback Mountain.” The two actors fell in love and moved to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, where their comings and goings were widely noted by paparazzi. They have a daughter, Matilda Rose, born October 28, 2005. The couple separated last year.

In an interview in London for an article published in November, Ledger told the New York Times, “I feel like Im wasting time if I repeat myself. He said he was not proud of his latest role, in Todd Hayness Im Not There, in which Ledger was one of a half-dozen actors depicting the musician Bob Dylan. “I feel the same way about everything I do. The day I say, ‘Its good’ is the day I should start doing something else, said in the interview.

Calls by the Times to Mara Buxbaum, a publicist for Ledger, and Steve Alexander, the actors agent, were not immediately returned.