Joker Dies

Heath Ledger, 28, was found dead his afternoon at a Broome Street, Manhattan residence. Police have speculated that the death was drug related.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Ledger had an appointment for a massage at the Manhattan apartment believed to be his home. The housekeeper who went to let Ledger know the masseuse had arrived, found him dead at 3:26 p.m EST.

The Australian-born actor was an Oscar nominee for his role in
Brokeback Mountain and is best known to genre fans for his role as Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland in A Knight's Tale and one of The Brothers Grimm opposite Matt Damon. He was set to appear as the Joker in the upcoming Dark Knight film. His death will bring a darker setting to an already dark tale.

Heath's most recent film I'm Not There scored an Academy nomination this morning for Best Supporting Actress for Cate Blanchett. One could venture that Heath was upset by his lack of a nomination and recent split from, Michelle Williams, the mother of his young daughter, Matilda Rose.

*Edit*As to Heath's last projuect with Director Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Ledger's involvement was critical in funding the $30 million independent feature. After filming in London from December up till last week, shooting was moved to Vancouver for intensive interior and green-screen work beginning this week and lasting through till March. Work is now "temporarily shut down" as investors and filmmakers weigh the option of replacing Ledger, filming around him (ala Brandon Lee in "The Crow) or scrapping the project entirely.

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