Darius Kadivar
by Darius Kadivar

Omid Djalili’s Tribute to friend and colleague Heath Ledger after the Star’s reported accidental death (*) “And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" -MarK Twain

He was becoming a household name to many movie buffs worldwide particularly for anyone interested in swashbuckling and adventure films in the lines of legendary Hollywood Stars like Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks. He was also a gifted talent whose filmography was shaped by an eclectic choice for bold and difficult roles one of which he will certainly be remembered best was that of the gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar opposite co-star Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Jack Twist in Ang Lee’s Oscar Nominated Broke Back Mountain. I personally noticed Australian actor Heath Ledger for the first time in a wonderful medieval movie A Knight’s Tale that reinvented the classic Technicolor film genre that was so popular up to the 1950’s by adding a modern twist in the musical score. I had followed his work with some delight over the years seeing him play the lead in Romantic Adventure films like the remake of a Hollywood Classic The Four Feathers the script of which was written by an British Iranian Oscar® nominee screenwriter Hossein Amini who has since been very successful in Hollywood. But like many other Iranians of the Diaspora I will most probably associate Heath Ledger to his last romantic lead role in his short but brilliant career, that of Venetian Lover Casanova opposite another British Iranian Omid Djalili who played Casanova’s sidekick Lupo ( a role for which Djalili was awarded the Persian Golden Lioness Award® in Budapest in 2006 for Best Actor). It was therefore with some surprise and sadness that I learned upon turning on the Radio this morning of Heath Ledger’s sudden death. The cause of death is still not clear but reportedly due to an accidental drug overdose ( prescribed or addictive ?) reminds me of that of another promising star River Phoenix also found dead in similar circumstances when everything seemed to shine for him professionally as in the case of Heather. The movie industry and history is alas filled with similar stories in a profession where personal psychological insecurities seem to haunt many artists talented or not. Is the industry to be blamed for the pressure they put on particularly young actors ? The answer is probably yes as much as the audience itself be it the fans and movie buffs that exist in nearly all of us who love this medium and dream industry that Hollywood represents at large. If the exact cause of death will probably be found sooner or later and the private life of Mr. Ledger will be scrutinized through all angels by friends, family and certainly journalists the best way of honoring Heath Ledger’s memory for those who admired him as an actor or fellow colleague is to simply watch his films and onscreen dashing chivalry immortalized thanks to his gifted talent.

Omid Djalili was one of those fellow colleagues of his who got to know the man on a professional and personal level while shooting Lasse Hallström film Casanova in 2005. He has shared his reaction and sorrow upon learning the sad news of Ledger’s demise:

Sad, sad, tragic news of the accidental death. Heath Ledger was a great friend and it was with shock and utter disbelief I heard the news on my mobile phone at The Ginglik Comedy Club last night after I had done a warm up spot. I shared the news with Jim Jeffries as he is an Aussie comic and was at University with him and more importantly as he had just come off stage (didn’t tell you Reg as you were about to go on). I don’t believe for a second it was intentional, Heath was a sportsman before he was an actor and to my knowledge not into hard drugs. He was however a consummate professional when it came to acting and I understand he was having trouble sleeping after he immersed himself in the role of the Joker in the latest Batman movie which he only just finished, and was taking sleeping pills to help him take his mind off the role. We spent four months together in Venice shooting “Casanova” where I played his sidekick “Lupo” and found him to be warm, sensitive, vibrant with a brilliant sense of humour. We had a truly wonderful time together, especially playing Perudo with a core group that included Sienna Miller, Oliver Platt, Nat Dormer, Charlie Cox, Ben Moore, Adelmo Togliani and my trainer Martin Turk. After “Brokeback Mountain” and an Oscar Nomination there is no doubt in my mind that we have lost someone who at 28 and with his whole life ahead of him, and having the respect of his fellow pros and the whole industry, was sure to be one of the great actors. Michael Caine, having seen a rough cut, has already described his turn as The Joker in the upcoming Batman movie as one of the great screen performances of our time. This is a tragic and major loss. (From Omid Djalili’s Blog)

Ironically Heath Ledger’s very last role was that of a Villian: The Joker reprising that of Jack Nicholson in the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight. A tragic Finale for an actor whose onscreen persona will be recorded as the Romantic Lead in the never ending visual chapters of Cinema …



Authors Notes:

(*) Read full Report by BBC on Ledgers demise

Recommended Reading:

In the Arena With Omid Djalili by Darius KADIVAR


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Darius Kadivar

W ondering eyes Where did you see the Shah ? ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Where did you see the Shah mentioned here ? Maybe you need glasses. Take a look at the moon tonight maybe you will have a vision.

Salutations to you from Paris my Friend !



Mr. Kadivar are you retired?!

by wondering eyes! (not verified) on

I found it hard even to keep up with reading your blogs much less writing them!!

All the blogs mostly reminding of "good" times we had under shah!!!!!!

I wonder if you are retired?! what is the deal?

Please enlight your readers!

Kaveh Nouraee

Alborzi, It's tasteless......

by Kaveh Nouraee on

and classless to jump to conclusions about the circumstances of his death.

All that really matters is that there is a 2 year old little girl that will never be held in her daddy's arms again.


Discreet Charm of bourgoisie

by Alborzi (not verified) on

Its very difficult to try to rationalize a destructive life.
It could have been mental illness, addiction or paradoxical social norms. He has checked out, but his family will have the
burden for the rest of their life.

Niki Tehranchi

Very sad

by Niki Tehranchi on

especially as he leaves his 2 year old daughter behind.


My favorite roles from him are the son from A Monster's Ball and his recent turn as a heroine addict in the great Australian film Candy, opposite a very talented new actress Abbie Cornish.


Rest in peace, Heath!