Brokeback heartbreak: Ledger dies

Posted on 24 Jan 2008 at 9:41pm


A rolled-up $20 bill was found near Heath Ledger’s body, though no illegal drugs were found in his apartment, police said Wednesday the same day an autopsy on the “Brokeback Mountain” actor came back inconclusive.

The bill would be taken to a lab for testing, though no visible drug residue was found on it, police said. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly released the information at a Manhattan news conference, but did not elaborate on whether police think the bill, discovered on the floor near Ledger’s bed, may have been used to ingest drugs.

The Australian-born actor was found dead Tuesday by his housekeeper and a massage therapist lying naked and face-down in his bedroom, police said.

Prescription sleeping pills and anti-anxiety pills were found in bottles in Ledger’s bedroom and bathroom. Police said the death was caused by a possible drug overdose and appeared to be accidental.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, said the autopsy on the 28-year-old actor was inconclusive and that more would be known after more thorough tests can be completed.

News of the death stunned family, fans and colleagues.

“Working with Heath was one of the purest joys of my life,” said Ang Lee, who directed Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.”

“He brought to the role of Ennis more than any of us could have imagined a thirst for life, for love and for truth, and a vulnerability that made everyone who knew him love him. His death is heartbreaking.”

OMG! It’s “‘High School Musical 3′

What’s gay about the “High School Musical” franchise?
What’s not gay would seem to be the real question for this fantastically colorful, exuberant, all-singing, all-dancing, ‘tween sensation.

For grown-up queer audiences, it’s a chance to experience the revenge of the drama club and show choir; for gay kids, it’s a set of pop-culture training wheels.

So both fan bases should be thrilled (possibly to the point of breaking into song) by the news that “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” is finally a go. All the original cast members, including Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, have signed on for the third and possibly last installment, due for a theatrical release this October.

Can the boys’ costumes get pinker?

The musical numbers bigger? The jazz-hands jazzier?

All will be answered with choreography by Halloween.

Orlando Jones has “‘Misconceptions’

A career in Hollywood can take an actor from one unusual role to another.

Just last year, audiences who bothered to show up for the giant-alligator-eats-everyone movie “Primeval” got to see comic actor Orlando Jones do battle with the creature.

This year, however, Jones will do battle with religious conservatism on screen in “Misconceptions.”

He’ll play a gay man who along with his partner (played by David Moscow) finds a right-wing, born-again Christian woman to act as a surrogate mother.

The kicker? God told her to do it.

The film’s co-writer and director, Ron Satlof, is a Hollywood veteran with credits that go back to “Hawaii Five-O” and “Get Christie Love!”

No due date set yet, but expect hilarious controversy to erupt when this bouncing baby arrives.

Scissor Sister visits the “‘City’

It was inevitable.

The beloved characters from “Tales of the City” began life in newspaper installments, moved onto bookstore shelves and then hit TV screens.

Now it appears they’ll live again on stage, bringing a musical version of San Francisco in the ’70s to a new generation of theatergoers.

And who better to tap into that era’s queer-saturated, glam-rock-meets-disco musical aesthetic than Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters fame.

The popular, flamboyant rock band’s songwriting team of Shears and guitarist Babydaddy have become stars doing exactly what the “City” citizens did, living openly and with style.

Shears is reportedly working with Jeff Whitty of “Avenue Q” on the musical.

With luck the finished product will emulate the success of “Q” or “Rent” rather than “Taboo.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 25, 2008

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