Heath Ledger's Friends Talk About His Last Days


The August issue of Vanity Fair (on sale July 7) features the dearly-departed Heath Ledger, as friends of the actor tell the magazine what Heath's final days were like.



Cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, who was working with Heath on his final film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, says Heath had taken himself off illicit drugs and alcohol.



" [He] used to smoke marijuana on a regular basis, like probably 50 percent of Americans." But once it became and issue, Heath "went clean as a whistle," Nicola said.



Vocal coach Gerry Grennell, who worked and lived with the actor during the filming of The Dark Knight, concurred. "Heath would happily go to the bar, buy a round of drinks for friends, and come back and have a soda or juice, never once drinking alcohol."


Gerry said he was much more concerned with Heath's insomnia -- and the measures he was taking to get some sleep. "I'd say, 'If you can possibly bear it to stop taking the medications, do, because they don't seem to be doing you any good.' He agreed. It is very difficult for me to imagine how close he came to not taking them."

"Everyone has a different view of how he passed away," Gerry told the mag. "From my perspective, and knowing him as well as I did, and being around him as much as I was, it was a combination of exhaustion, sleeping medication ... and perhaps the aftereffects of the flu. I guess his body just stopped breathing."

Sources say the insomnia was a result of the souring of Heath's personal life with Michelle Williams.

"Heath was always blaming himself [about the relationship], asking 'what did I do wrong?'" Heath's friend, director Terry Gilliam said. "Once it started going south, it went very quickly. He was overwhelmed by lawyers, and there were more and more of them, as if they were breeding." 

Custody issues surrounding their daughter, Matilda, made the situation that much worse. "There were definitely heated conversations," says one source, "and emotions were high."

On top of it all, Heath was extremely driven by his love of acting -- but didn't ever want to sell out.

"He was a private person, and he didn't want to share his personal history with the press. It just wasn't up for sale," his friend and agent, Steven Alexander revealed. "That's part of the reason he initially tore down his career. He wasn't motivated by money or stardom, but by the respect of his peers, and for people to walk out of a movie theater after they'd seen something that he'd worked on and say, 'Wow, he really disappeared into that character.' He was striving to become an 'illusionist,' as he called it, able to create characters that weren't there."

Such a talented but tortured soul.

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