Remembering The Dark Days of Heath Ledger: Could Luxury Rehab Centers Have Saved Him?
Oscar Winner Heath Ledger wowed audiences all the days of his life with his performances in several different films including The Patriot and A Knight’s Tale. He always threw himself into every role and made people amazed at how he could play many different roles. The role he will always be remembered for, however, is The Joker in The Dark Knight. When the news was announced that Ledger would play The Joker, most people were shaking in their boots at the thought. Many people did not think the actor had it in him to dive head-first into a role like this. Yet, this was exactly what the actor did, which excited Christopher Nolan, the film’s director.
“I’m excited to continue the story we started with Batman Begins,” Nolan stated. “Our challenge in casting The Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless. Watching Heath Ledger’s interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale’s Batman is going to be incredible.”
What started off as a hated casting announcement with much doubt among the world as to whether Ledger could pull it off turned into one of the greatest performances in cinema. Ledger would never go onto see the worldwide response to his performance in The Dark Knight. On January 22, 2008, news came that Ledger was discovered unconscious in his bed at his apartment in Manhattan, New York City, New York. Teresa Solomon, his housekeeper, and Diana Wolozin, his masseuse, had discovered him unconscious, and the latter called Mary-Kate Olsen for assistance.
Olsen, who was in California at the time, got New York City private security guards to go to the scene. Wolozin also called 9-1-1 when she saw that Ledger was not breathing. The 9-1-1 operator told her to administer CPR, but she was not able to bring him back. That all occurred at 3:26 p.m. after discovering the actor unconscious at 2:45 p.m. At 3:33 p.m., paramedics arrived just when the private security guard came. When 3:36 p.m. came around, Ledger’s body was removed from the apartment after it was determined he had died.
After two weeks passed, The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York concluded its findings. “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine,” the report stated. “We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescribed medications.” It may have been helpful for Ledger to have sought help from luxury rehab centers or, perhaps, his family or friends could have encouraged him to do so.
Blue Cross Blue Shield discovered between 2010 and 2016, the number of people diagnosed with addictions to opioids grew 493 percent. While there were only 1.4 examples of opioid abuse among its 1,000 members, the rate in 2016 was 8.3 instances among every 1,000 members. There was also a 65 percent increase in the number of people receiving medication-assisted addiction treatment for the problem. Ledger was not receiving any treatment from luxury rehab centers or another type of rehab addiction treatment center. It may have saved his life if he did.
Many media outlets believed Ledger died between 1:00 p.m. And 2:45 p.m. As February 2008 rolled on, a DEA investigation cleared two US physicians, who work in Los Angeles and Houston, because they did not prescribe Ledger the medications that killed him.
On August 4, 2008, it was reported by The New York Post that Olsen refused an interview by federal investigators unless she had immunity from prosecution. While her attorney did not initially comment, Michael C. Miller issued a statement eventually stating Olsen had not supplied Ledger with the drugs that killed him and she did not know the origins of the drugs. “Despite tabloid speculation, Mary-Kate Olsen had nothing whatsoever to do with the drugs found in Heath Ledger’s home or his body, and she does not know where he obtained them,” Miller said.
August 6, 2008, eventually saw the investigation into Ledger’s death by the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan closed. It also cleared Olsen of any wrongdoing and no charges were filed. The Attorney’s Office did not believe there was a “viable target” in the investigation and finally closed it. DEA investigators believed the drugs were obtained with phony prescriptions or through illegal means, but it’s still unknown exactly how Ledger obtained the drugs in the first place.
While the mystery of who initially gave Ledger the drugs remains, his death still remains what it is: tragic, sad, and at the end of it all, too young. He had more life to live, and his life was unfortunately cut short by these dangerous drugs. All his family, friends, and fans have left of him are the memories and his films. If you wish to remember him, go out and see The Dark Knight. Not only is Ledger fabulous in it but it is a film filled with great performances. See Bale and Ledger go at it as Ledger cackles his now legendary laugh as The Joker.
About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.