It sounds like this was kind of coming, too, if you believe the "internets and such". This article from the NY Times a few months ago had some telling quotes and back-stories about his battle with insomnia, including the drain that was the Joker role on his life:
“I stressed out a little too much,” Mr. Ledger said.
He tends to do that. He is here in London filming the latest episode of the “Batman”franchise, “The Dark Knight.” (Mr. Bale, as it happens, plays Batman; Mr. Ledger plays the Joker.) It is a physically and mentally draining role — his Joker is a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” he said cheerfully — and, as often happens when he throws himself into a part, he is not sleeping much.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.
Even as he spoke, Mr. Ledger was hard-pressed to keep still. He got up and poured more coffee. He stepped outside into the courtyard and smoked a cigarette. He shook his hair out from under its hood, put a rubber band around it, took out the rubber band, put on a hat, took off the hat, put the hood back up. He went outside and had another cigarette. Polite and charming, he nonetheless gave off the sense that the last thing he wanted to do was delve deep into himself for public consumption. “It can be a little distressing to have to overintellectualize yourself,” is how he put it, a little apologetically.
There are also a lot of drug rumors beyond just the sleeping pills, such as the worst of all drugs, heroin. Who knows. You don't want to read TOO MUCH into someone's behavior during an interview....but....well....he looks a little "tweakish" here during this interview a few months ago, doesn't he?
But all we do know is that the kid is dead and it's a sad story. I really feel for his 2-year old daughter who will not have a father for the rest of her life. Sad, sad, sad. On a very selfish level, I wonder how they are going to handle the Dark Knight this summer. So much hype about Ledger's performance, about how dark and twisted this version of the Joker is, but now that he's gone you have to wonder what direction they'll go with all this. The show must go on and all that, but still, it's going to be weird.
Keeping up the gloom, sad to see about Rien Long. Hopefully he can pull through. As of right now it appears he's still in critical condition but nothing more is known. The latest news as of yesterday had him in bad shape after a wreck in the middle of the night on Monday. Thoughts and prayers are with him right now, for sure.
Finally, some good news. A successful weekend of recruiting saw the Cougars haul in four new prospects to add to the growing class of 2008. We're now up to 14 lads for this class as we come down the homestretch. Still not breakthrough superstar pledges at this point, and a lot of the 2-star variety. But there's still time and still a chance for a few surprises this year. The buzz is good that Wulff and company are doing as good as can be expected with so little time to put things together, and it might end up being at least a respectable class after all.
Probably the most intriguing new prospect is running back Brian Baucham. Only a 2-star prospect, and not a huge guy at 5-10, 175, but he does have a reported 4.4 time, so that's good. He looks good on tape too: