Heath Ledger Covers Vanity Fair August 2009


Heath Ledger graces the cover of Vanity Fair’s August 2009 issue and the magazine has a fascinating article about the late Australian actor called “The Last of Heath.”

Here are some highlights from contributing editor Peter Biskind:

How he cleaned up his act: Cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, who worked with Ledger on his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, says Ledger “used to smoke marijuana on a regular basis, like probably 50 percent of Americans.” But after it became an issue, Ledger “went clean as a whistle.” And vocal coach Gerry Grennell, who worked and lived with the actor during the filming of The Dark Knight, says Ledger even stopped drinking: “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.”

His devotion to the job: The strife in his personal life coincided with the shoot for Gilliam’s Parnassus, but rather than distract him from his work, Gilliam believes it helped him concentrate on the task at hand, he tells Biskind. He appeared one day on set “clearly bloody sick,” Gilliam says. The doctor told him it was the beginning of pneumonia and that he ought to take antibiotics and go home and rest. According to Gilliam, Ledger said, “No way. I’m not going to go home, because I can’t sleep, and I’ll be just thinking about the situation. I’d rather stay here and work.”

Although “he would arrive in the morning completely knackered,” Gilliam says, “by the end of the day he was beaming, glowing with energy. It was like everything was put into the work, because that was the joy; that’s what he loved to do. The words were just pouring out. It was like he was channeling.”

Check out the full article at VanityFair.com.

The August issue of VF hits newsstands in New York and L.A. on July 1 and nationally July 7.